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Uncle Walt

Uncle Walt

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

"Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded, I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no, And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away." ~Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

There is a pen one holds, which stabs at the heart of another and lets it know that it is alive and wanting. And there is a pen which, upon puncturing a new vein, finds it cold. Let me be the pen, always, the sharp stab, and never the congealed blood.

But how can my veins not run cold, my heart not be hardened? When it is wet with tears, hung hard on a belt of solitude and misunderstanding? When it has wrenched itself in the doorframe of defeat? Robin Williams, in one of his many great movie roles in Dead Poets Society, enunciated the song of Walt Whitman. 

So how is it that one of the few true geniuses of our time felt so guilty, so stale, so discarded? Did we not see through the broadcloth and gingham, whether or no? Are we instead left to try to see through a shroud and a veil? My heart has never so handily broken in two, wiped such engorged tears from its arterial ducts. It is as if all the laughter of all time has become an echo.

What then do we do? As humans, as writers? 

How can we keep from singing?

Undoubtedly, there is some ettiquette to be learned here. Dear Abby would advise us to hold our tongues, be humble, and graciously, blindly accept what is given. To need nothing more than what is offered. To fix ourselves in the absence of what matters.

But I am around, tenacious. Who these days uses the term aquisitive? And yet we should. I hold you, Robin, posessively, jealously, and to myself. I want more, more, and more of you. I am tireless; I cannot be shaken away. 

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Kristen Thompson

Published on August 13, 2014

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