‘O Duke! my Duke!’

This is part of a package of articles on GonzoFest 2019. For more, click here.

(with all apologies to Walt Whitman; for Christopher Coleman)
By Heidi Taylor

O Duke! my Duke! our strange trip is done;
The Shark has weather’d every rack, the dream sought is none.
Las Vegas is near, the slots I hear, the fuzz are all appalling,
While bats fly the steady keel; the desert grim and lawyers calling:
But O dream! dream! dream!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where America your dream lies
Fallen cold and dead.

O Duke! my Duke! rise up and hear the yells;
Rise up – for you the freak flag is flung – for you the waitress wails;
For you cigarettes and ribbon’d firearms – for you the people were a-shouting;
For you they cry, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Duke! Dear father!
This dream inside your head;
It was some dream that on the floor,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Duke does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not hear my cry, he has no fight nor will;
The Shark is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From strange trip, the victor Tricky Dick, comes in with the object won;
Exult, O freaks, and wail, O America!
But I, with mournful tread,
Fearing the dream my Duke derived,
Is fallen cold and dead.