and just how far have you gone for the sake of your "camaraderie," my friend?
their half-glow hearts and prejudiced minds could have swallowed you whole,
or abandoned you, wit be-******, and genius be-******, you
might have died a pauper—
I hear they’d **** a man much more guarded than you, they might string him up,
tie his broken body to a fencepost, leave him ******,
satisfy a tyranny under the watchful eye of a loving God,
trade a boy in Laramie for a jet-black brutal odium,
**** a kid and wonder what his mother did to steer him wrong—
but still you wrote of calamus and of holding hands and handsome lovers,
still you gave us songs to sing back to our lovers, gentle songs,
despite the shame and censorship they cursed you with, despite
the threat that everything could be undone, despite the scripture,
well I must say, dear Good Gray Poet, before I fold my hand,
thank you, Walt, for giving us what you never had.