Great catch Ken Tucker! On September 3, this @KenTucker tweet breezed by: "I fear betrayal in friendship and love that blindsides me": not Walt Whitman, but another poet, Denise Duhamel" and now lots of people want to know which poem it's from.
"82 Reasons Not to Get Out of Bed" is too long to reproduce in its entirety but you can find the poem in Saints of Hysteria A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry Edited by Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton & David Trinidad (Soft Skull, 2007).
Here are the first few lines:
82 Reasons Not to Get Out of Bed (by Denise Duhamel et. al.)
I fear dented cans,
the ones with their labels torn like a pantyhose run.
I fear dented cans even though I know
bulging cans are the ones that cause botulism.
I fear small caskets, and I fear small pox.
I can’t be vaccinated because I’m allergic to the serum.
Check my arms—I don’t have any of those vaccination dents
like everyone else. I fear going to a new hairdresser
or gynecologist. I fear people with authority who look nervous.
I fear any box big enough to hold me.
I fear the number 4 for no reason.
I fear this bad habit will catch up to me.
I fear being awake in the middle of the night
when everyone else is asleep, even that yappy dog Peppy,
and the baby in him. I fear the dogs that do not recognize
my smell or care. I fear the whirr and rattle of the tail.
I fear the front door slamming when the bedroom window is locked.
I fear strangers who do not know my strength . . .
And this is what Denise Duhamel had to say about how the poem was written:
Lines for “82 Reasons Not to Get Out of Bed” were written on October 24, 2001 by the members of Special Topics: Trends in Contemporary Poetry—Literary Collaboration and Collage, a graduate seminar I taught at Florida International University. Mitch Alderman, Terri Carrion, Andreé Conrad, Kendra Dwelley Guimaraes, Wayne Loshusan, Abigail Martin, Rita Martinez, Estee Mazor, Astrid Parrish, Stacy Richardson, Sandy Rodriguez, Jay Snodgrass, Richard Toumey, George Tucker, Jennifer Welch, William Whitehurst, and I wrote indi- vidual lines. Rita Martinez took the lines and rearranged them into the final ver- sion of the poem. Stacy Richardson, the only undergraduate in our class, passed away in 2002. This poem is dedicated to her.
Fans of poetry and Breaking Bad know that Walt Whitman had a starring role. Did anyone besides Ken pick up on Denise's cameo?