i met walt whitman in a desert

by Arja Kumar

somehow i end up wading
in puddles that have dried up
too long ago,
swimming pools of past dreams
now full of floating leaves, phantoms, branches of trees.

i am not ashamed am not ashamed am not ashamed am not ashamed
to dance grotesquely in front of a mirror
that overlooks the street of the neighborhood
the open window where the rain is pouring and
to dance naked and grotesque in front of all the passerbys
to dance naked and grotesque and admire how the three dots of human abdomen
two teats, one bellybutton
make a
O     O
     o
a sort of surprised smile
like god made us to always be shocked.

it’s been a few months and i’ve got
this reoccurring dream that i am in
a motel somewhere in california
where i am always seventeen and in love
with a hippie boy named Milk.
whenever i drive past the road that leads
to the junkyard, i think of his imaginary shadow,
smell of dirty patchouli,
our dirty acned faces
our crooked teeth
our poor pockets
our naked feet
how we hitchhiked from place to place
the endless time we had to waste.

it’s been a few months and i’ve got
this reoccurring dream that i am lying bare skin in
an abandoned cornfield
the middle of nowhere, the middle of day,
where i am always eighteen and in love
with a farmer named Patch.
a bruised thunderstorm and tumors of clouds,
ain, heat sweep across the blowing plains
deer jump over us and run loud
and we are sleeping silent.

it’s been a few months and i’ve got
this reoccurring dream that i flew out of nowhere
landed in a desert
buried in the sand up to my chin like the man
next to me who claimed to be walt whitman or
walt whitman resurrected
spoke in tongues,
started chanting leaves of grass and rolling his
eyes up to the sun
is it an omen or an amen?
is he a shaman or a godsend?

it’s been a few months and i’ve got
this reoccurring dream that
i am a beat poet who writes in a hideout disguised as a pub
and we crawl through a storage cabinet
which has a spiral staircase leading up to an attic where
we overlook san francisco, chug cigarettes, scribble words, guzzle whiskey.
our code word is revolution
and i am the only woman.

last night i had a dream that i was an ant
trapped inside a kaleidoscope,
i prayed to grow wings and
god made me to become a moth.

i think i’ve been eating too much cheese
before bed
and that my house has one too many
dali paintings.


Arja Kumar is a human, poet, and nineteen year old college student at Loyola University Chicago. She spends her days studying science and literature but enjoys cooking and dreaming at night. Her favorite things include plants, music, spending time with her family, and sunshine

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