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A Supermarket in California

A Supermarket in California

by Allen Ginsberg

Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely. Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? (10-11)

The speaker imagines that Whitman lived in a "lost American of love." He believes that they're both lonely in 1950s America, but that, perhaps, Whitman's 19th-century America was quite different.

Quote #8

Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe? (12)

The poem ends with a haunting image of Whitman stranded on the bank of the river of oblivion and forgetting. The speaker questions whether Whitman's America was much better than his. While we don't get an answer from Whitman, the poem ends on this decidedly sad and creepy note. Somehow, we don't really think that Whitman's America was an "America of love," either.

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