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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Whitman Waits Along the Road for Lincoln to Pass

Story by James Devitt (Read author interview) December 15, 2004

The carriage approaches, draws near where I stand, its wheels binding in the rutted road, its great pale horses straining to pull it onward. What strange solidarity summons me here to await its occupant? This man, richly steeped in King James English and Euclidian geometry. A parallel of structure, an architecture divine. Attired in black, stiff funeral wear. Summoned to provide over a people’s sorrow. Such a long, long journey it seems—from Cooper Union to Gettysburg. The sight, and scent, of lilacs, blooming mockingly in the sunlight. O Captain, my Captain! What kind of leader is this? He has come not to bind but to cleave and to rend. Brother against brother, father against son—master against slave. And here stand I, poet and madman; white garbed, bearded, like a bard of ancient and forgotten days; or a Judaic prophet, too fresh from the mount and the whirlwind and the ineffable I Am, standing here the fool, as he nods solemnly and his carriage passes me by, bound for summer haven.

About the Author

James Devitt lives with a dog and three quirky cats in The City of Thunderbolt, GA where the people are striking and the bugs are outgoing. He is currently at work on a low carb novel which he hopes to make into a musical.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Seven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seven
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