Walt Whitman calls the Poetry Crisis Line – Part I

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: There is that in me —
COUNSELOR: Could you be more specific?
CALLER: I do not know what it is —
COUNSELOR: Could you give me a general category? Like a gallstone, or a foreign object, or a hankering for pad thai?
CALLER: but I know it is in me.
COUNSELOR: Right. How?
CALLER:Wrench’d and sweaty — calm and cool then my body becomes,
COUNSELOR: That sounds like you may be going into shock, sir. Could you tell me where–
CALLER: I sleep —
COUNSELOR: Please don’t go to sleep, sir. Not until I can dispatch an ambulance to your location.
CALLER:I sleep long.
COUNSELOR: Before you sleep, could you tell me your location?
CALLER: I do not know it —
COUNSELOR: Maybe we could start with a cross-street?
CALLER: it is without name —
COUNSELOR: Uh, does your phone have a locator? Can you share your location?
CALLER: it is a word unsaid,
COUNSELOR: That’s right—you don’t need to say anything, just click on Share Location.
CALLER: It is not in any dictionary,
COUNSELOR: No, don’t open the dictionary—Share Location. It’s–
CALLER: utterance,
COUNSELOR: Good idea—ask Siri.
CALLER: symbol.
COUNSELOR: No, emojis won’t help.
CALLER: Something it swings on
COUNSELOR: Tindr really won’t help.
CALLER: more than the earth I swing on,
COUNSELOR: So you’ve opened the GPS? Good. Can you tell it–
COUNSELOR: No, don’t drive anywhere—not in your condition. Just tell it to share your location.
CALLER: the creation
CALLER: is the friend whose embracing awakes me.
COUNSELOR: There’s a friend with you? Can you put him on?
CALLER: Perhaps I might tell more.
COUNSELOR: That’s fine if you want to talk, but I need to know where to send the ambulance.
CALLER: Outlines!
COUNSELOR: Black outlines? Or more like auras?
CALLER: I plead for my brothers and sisters.
COUNSELOR: I think you need to worry about yourself now, sir.

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