Taylor Mac: Whitman in the Woods.

S2021 E8 | FULL EPISODE

Whitman in the Woods.

A compilation of Walt Whitman poems performed by Taylor Mac in glamorous drag costume and makeup inspired by the woodland surroundings of the Lower Hudson Valley.

AIRED: May 02, 2021 | 0:15:42
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TRANSCRIPT

Native moments!

When you come upon me --

You are here now!

Give me now libidinous joys only!

Give me life coarse and rank!

Give me the drench of my passions!

Today, I consort with nature's darlings --

tonight too;

I am for those who believe in loose delights --

I share the midnight orgies of young men;

I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drinkers;

The echoes ring with our indecent calls;

I pick out some low person for my dearest friend,

He shall be rude, lawless, illiterate --

he shall be one condemn'd by others for deeds done;

I will play a part no longer --

Why should I separate myself from my companions?

O, you shunn'd persons!

I at least do not shun you,

I come forthwith in your midst --

I will be your poet,

I will be more to you than to any of the rest.

Passing stranger!

You do not know how longingly I look upon you.

You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking --

it comes to me as of a dream --

I somewhere surely have lived a life of joy with you.

All is recall'd as we flit by each other,

fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured.

You grew up with me,

were a boy with me or a girl with me,

I ate with you and slept with you,

your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only.

You gift me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh.

As we pass, you take of my beard, breast,

my hands in return.

I am not to speak to you.

I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone.

I am to wait.

I do not doubt I shall meet you again.

I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

Native moments!

When you come upon me --

You are here now!

Give me now libidinous joys only!

Give me life coarse and rank!

Give me the drench of my passions!

Today, I consort with nature's darlings --

tonight too;

I am for those who believe in loose delights --

I share the midnight orgies of young men;

I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drinkers;

The echoes ring with our indecent calls;

I pick a low person for my dearest friend,

He shall be rude, lawless, illiterate --

he shall be one condemn'd by others for deeds done;

I will play a part no longer --

Why should I separate myself from my companions?

O, you shunn'd persons!

I at least do not shun you,

I come forthwith in your midst --

I will be your poet,

I will be more to you than to any of the rest.

When I heard at the close of day

how my name had been receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol,

still it was not a happy night for me that follow'd.

And else when I carous'd,

or my plans were accomplish'd,

still I was not happy.

But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health,

refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,

when I saw the full moon in the west grow pale

and disappear in the morning light,

and when I wander'd alone over the beach,

and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters,

and saw the sun rise,

and when I thought how my dear friend,

my lover was on his way come,

then I was happy.

Then each breath tasted sweeter,

and all that day my food nourish'd me more,

and the beautiful day pass'd well,

and the next day came with equal joy,

and with the next, at evening came my friend.

And that night while all was still,

I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,

I heard the hissing liquid of the sands

as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,

for the one I love most

lay sleeping by me

under the same cover in the cool night,

in the stillness, in the autumn moonbeams,

his face was inclined toward me,

and his arm lay lightly around my breast,

and that night I was happy.

Native moments!

When you come upon me...

When you come upon me... [ Gasps ]

[ Grunts ] Gaah!

[ Laughing ] You're here now.

Oh, you're here now. Give me now...

libidinous joys...

...libidinous joys only.

...libidinous joys only.

Give me life, course and rank.

Course and rank! And rank!

[ Laughs ]

Give me the drench of my passions.

...passions.

Today, I consort with nature's darlings!

...nature's darlings. Tonight, too.

I am for those who believe in loose delights.

...loose delights.

I share the midnight orgies... ...of young men.

I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers.

The echoes ring with our indecent calls.

The echoes ring with our indecent calls.

...calls.

I pick some low person for my dearest friend.

...my dearest friend.

...for my dearest friend.

He shall be rude...

...lawless... ...illiterate.

He shall be rude, lawless, illiterate.

He shall be one condemned by others...

...one condemned by others for deeds...

...deeds done.

I will play a... ...part no longer.

Why should I separate myself from my companions?

...companions?

Oh, you shunned persons!

...shunned persons!

You shunned persons!

I at least do not shun you.

...do not shun you.

I come forthwith in your midst.

I come forthwith in your midst.

I will be your poet.

...be your poet. I will be your poet.

I will be more to you...

[ Groans ] ...than to any of the rest.

...than to any of the rest.

...than to any of the rest.

[ Water trickling, birds chirping ]

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son.

Turbulent, fleshy, eating, drinking, and breeding.

No sentimentalist, no stander above men or women

or apart from them.

No more modest than immodest.

Unscrew the locks from the doors.

Unscrew the doors themselves from the jambs.

Whoever degrades another degrades me.

Whatever is done and said returns at last to me.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging.

Through me the current and index.

I speak the pass-word primeval!

I give the sign of democracy.

By God, I will accept nothing

which all cannot have their counterpart of

on the same terms.

Through me many long dumb voices.

Voices of the interminable generation

of prisoners and slaves.

Voices of the diseas'd and despairing

and of thieves and dwarfs,

and the cycles of preparation and accretion

and of the threads that connect the -- the stars,

and of wombs and of the father-stuff!

And the rights of them the others are down upon,

the deform'd, the trivial, flat, foolish.

Fog in air, despised,

beetles rolling balls of dung.

Through me forbidden voices,

voices of sexes and lusts,

voices veil'd.

And I remove the veil.

Voices indecent by me transformed and clarified.

I do not press my fingers across my mouth

I keep as delicate around the bowels

as around the head and heart.

Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.

I believe in the flesh and the appetites,

Seeing, hearing, feeling are miracles,

and each and every part and tag of me is a miracle.

Divine am I inside and out,

and I make holy all that I touch...

or am touch'd from.

Scent of these armpits.

[ Sniffs deeply ]

Aroma finer than prayer.

This head --

more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.

If I worship one thing more than another,

it shall be the spread of my own body.

Translucent mold of me? Pfft!

It shall be you.

Shaded ledges and rests, it shall be you.

Firm masculine colter, it shall be you.

Whatever goes to the tilth of me,

it shall be you.

You, my rich blood,

your milky streams, pale strippings away of my life.

Breast that presses against other breasts,

it shall be you.

My brain, it shall be your occult convolutions,

root of wash'd sweet-flag,

timorous pond-snipe,

nest of the guarded duplicate eggs --

it shall be you.

Mix'd tussled hay of head, it shall be you.

Trickling sap of maple,

fiber of manly wheat,

it shall be you.

Sun so generous, it shall be you.

Vapors lighting and shading my face, it shall be you.

You, sweaty brooks and dews, it shall be you.

Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me...

...it shall be you!

Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak,

loving loungers in my winding path,

it shall be you.

Hands I have taken,

face I have kissed,

mortal I have ever touched,

it shall be you.

I dote on myself.

There is that lot of me and all so luscious.

Each moment

and whatever happens thrills me with joy.

I-I cannot tell how my ankle bends,

nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,

nor the cause of the friendship I emit,

nor the cause of the friendship I take again.

That I walk up a stoop,

I pause to consider if it really be,

a morning-glory at my windowsill

satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.

To behold the day-break.

The little light fades the immense shadows.

The air tastes good to my palate.

Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols

silently rising, freshly exuding,

scooting obliquely high and low.

Something I cannot see puts forth libidinous prongs.

Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven.

The earth by the sky staid,

the daily close of their junction,

the heaved challenge from the east,

that moment over my head,

the mocking taunt.

See then whether you shall be master.

Walt Whitman.

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