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Donald Moffett

I MADE A LIST of a hundred people who personify style. It turned out to be a list of a hundred women—or thereabouts (i.e., Ethyl Eichelberger, Charles Ludlam). But that list can be boiled down to this: I sleep next to a photograph, taken in the early 1970s, of Barbara Jordan in a big faux-leopard-skin-collared jacket casting a nay vote, or a yea vote, in the Texas senate. In all three of her terms, she was the only African American, the only woman, the only lesbian in that legislative body. She went on to more important platforms to cast her vote. She went on to more important votes.

I recently reread Walt Whitman’s 1855 miracle of ecstatic love and liberation. Its third line is:

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

The poem is full of four-point ellipses signifying anything (or everything). It is a schema for an every-you and an every-me. It plays out 1,336 lines later,

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