Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Author:

Hi CUNY Whitman scholars,

Here at UMW we’ve been finding poems that mention or respond to Whitman.  This poem doesn’t do so directly, but it focuses on a love of Brooklyn that may resonate with your readings now:

“On Leaving Brooklyn”

after Psalm 137

If I forget thee

let my tongue forget the songs

it sang in this strange land

and my heart forget the secrets

only a stranger can learn.


Borough of churches, borough of crack,

if I forget how ailanthus trees sprout

on the rooftops, how these streets

end in water and light,

let my eyes grow nearsighted.


Let my blood forget

the map of its travels

and my other blood cease

its slow tug toward the sea

if I do not remember,


if I do not always consider thee

my Babylon, my Jerusalem.

–Julia Kasdorf, from Eve’s Striptease

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