continued Does the earth gravitate? does not all matter, aching, attract
So the body of me to all I meet or know.
Then he could take questions and answer nearly all of them with lines from Whitman. For example:
Q. Mr. President, how do you want the American people to respond to your sex life?
A. Give me now libidinous joys only.
Give me the drench of my passions, give me life coarse and
Today I go consort with Nature's darlings, to-night too,
I am for those who believe in loose delights...
Q. But Mr. President, this was a young woman in her 20s and an intern. How could you....
A. One hour to madness and joy! O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?)
Q. Mr. President, how do you reconcile your sexual attraction to women with your commitment to absolute equality for them?
A. They are not one jot less than I am,
They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blowing
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,
They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run,
strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves,
They are ultimate in their own right -- they are calm, clear,
well-possess'd of themselves.
Q. But what about Gennifer, Paula, Monica, Hillary?
A. I draw you close to me, you women,
I cannot let you go, I would do you good,
I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our own
sake, but for others' sakes,
Envelop'd in you sleep greater heroes and bards,
They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me?
Q. How, specifically, did you get involved with Monica?
A. Among the men and women the multitude
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else, not parent, wife, husband,
brother, child, any nearer than I am,
Some are baffled, but that one is not -- that one knows me.
Regardless of what actually happened between Bill and Monica, a press conference like that would clear the air of sexual hypocrisy and show us at least that Clinton stands behind the gifts he gives. But then there's material in Whitman for Ken Starr as well. At the press conference across town, in front of the Grand Jury room, he could issue this proclamation:
Whoever you are, come forth! or man or woman come forth!
You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house...
Out of the dark confinement! out from behind the screen!
It is useless to protest. I know all and expose it.
Whitman's advice about sex and sexuality is clear and unequivocal: we need to stop thinking about it as some sort of surreptitious activity and bring it out into the sunlight:
Though me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil'd and I remove the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur'd.
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.
Monica, Bill -- take your cue from Walt. Tell us what's going on.