Reading “Song of Myself” in the Probation Office

“All truths wait in all things,” wrote Walt Whitman in “Song of Myself.”

I wait for that truth; I take notes.

In the probation office this morning, Walt’s singing.

I record his music in a blue book.

Where, a man says, “Alcohol is my gig.”

Where, a rebuffed kiss got him three busted ribs.

Where, she cracked a beer bottle on his head.

Where, smoking pot burns a slit windpipe.

Where, poinsettias pen forced reports.

Where, Captain Crunch proves dangerous in the checkout line.

Where, a man in a three-piece suit reads Macbeth.

Where, the state stages another ventriloquism show.

Where, a grandmother falls asleep on her phone.

Where, she can’t fill a beaker with piss.

Where, a man can’t write an action plan because he can’t spell.

Where, I didn’t offer him help.

Where, I failed him right there.

Some writer.