Sebastian Matthews

The Green Man Walks Across America

The Green Man walks across America
in order to best assist the whales in their valiant attempt at being left alone
as a whimsical bet made late in a poolhall before an impossibly beautiful
billiards shot
walks across America to resurrect his soul, over and over, at all the odd mile
markers and in men’s bathrooms with Rockwell prints on the wall
and extra rolls of toilet paper
The Green Man walks across America
in his sleep, dreaming of Whitman on the ferry, and Ginsberg in the
supermarket dreaming of Whitman,
of Ondaatje, of Kinnell on Avenue C, of Dylan
“heading for another joint,”
of Lorca and Hafez, of Kerouac on a flatbed truck
lost somewhere in the heartland;
and of long misunderstood Hank Thoreau out sauntering
with his no-good bum of a friend through the fields
of our Puritan home, face turned West, eyes cast down
for arrowheads
The Green Man walks across America
for all the madmen hermit poets pacing the dirty laundromat floors and
stationed up on high on the mountain ranges of this dissolving nation,
mountains without end
and as a way to compose epic haiku cycles in the time-honored tradition
of Bashö—
his own
“narrow road to the north”
his own
worn sachel of verse
his own begging bowl mind
The Green Man walks across America
for Christ, for Buddha, for Mom and Mohammed
for all the Great Blue Herons and recovering alcoholics out there
for the hell of it, and the half of it
and the other half, for the light and dark of it,
in the name of the Sufic rose.

Sebastian Matthews
Poem, copyright © 2005 by Sebastian Matthews
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse