Whitman Crossing the Sky to Spain

from by Slow Dakota

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about

Written by Slow Dakota (PJ Sauerteig)
Performed by Joseph Fasano
Mixed and Produced by Sahil Ansari
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound

lyrics

"Whitman Crossing the Sky to Spain"

I

On a recent flight to Spain,
the plane slowly and suddenly
crossed over the barrier
between night and day.

As we flew into the sunrise,
I peeked over my fellow passengers
at the window,
where I saw a blue quilt of clouds
many thousand feet below.

And I began to imagine
that my hero, Walt Whitman,
was sitting next to me.

II

How would he greet the high morning?
Would it inspire a poem –
a poem he could never have written
from below the cloud barrier?
Would he make some remark to me,
or keep his eyes fastened to the window?

In truth,
I imagine he would be fast asleep,
swimming in some dream,
smiling, and wearing clothes
not particularly suited for air travel.

And when offered a glass of orange juice,
I imagine he would refuse
on some strange principle;
knowing that soon, very soon,
he would land in a country
full of orange trees.

III

Whitman, how I wish
you could have seen Spain.

Glowing in the deep orange sunlight,
you call the attendant over
just to hear her voice,
just to see her glow
in the same window light.

She asks you, again,
to fasten your seatbelt.
She doesn’t know that every suitcase
on this plane belongs to you.

IV

I imagine you, Walt,
having intercourse with the attendant,
sharp and constant,
even in your old age.

I imagine her collapsing
onto your chest post-coitus;
and I feel that in drinking
this pitiful orange juice,
I have failed you.
We have all failed you.

You have made a mess of our seats
and the narrow aisle,
but I forgive you.
We all forgive you.

V

You have interrupted the drink service,
but we are no longer thirsty.
In fact, as we pierce through the sheet of cloud,
back down to the earth
in the burst of the Spanish morning,
we are awake and elated.

You have always been our only hope,
Walt Whitman.
As our wheels touch down,
the lovely attendant stands to dress,
and I fill with the hope
that everything written about you is true.
And more than that:
that everything ever written is true.

credits

from The Ascension of Slow Dakota, released July 22, 2016

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about

Slow Dakota Fort Wayne, Indiana

(PJ Sauerteig)

Fort Wayne, IN
Massif Records

Columbia University

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