Written in the summer of 1954 while visiting Neal and Carolyn Cassady in San Jose. See Ginsberg’s Journals: Mid-Fifties, 1954-1958, edited by Gordon Ball (p. 17). “I can sleep with Neal, sleep with Carolyn, sleep with no one, and stay. Or sleep with both and no one alternately amid confusions. Or I can end this mad triangle, all three of us blocked, by leaving.”
This poem was later published as “Love Poem on Theme by Whitman” in Reality Sandwiches (1963). Scholars will note several additional lines, plus a few word substitutions not in the published version.
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