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Chapter Sixteen of Keeping Score in America: Wally's Catbird Seat
By Michael Moriarty
I call him Wally!
It softens the Mt. Rushmore, monosyllabic righteousness of "Walt".
The eye to our left wanders.
It's not at all as focused as the eye we see to our right.
That's not a friendly eye, the focused one.
It's profoundly judgmental.
The whole face gives off the air of an Old Testament prophet or a New Testament Pharisee.
I've begun a very, very long, musical journey with Mr. Whitman. So long, it may only end with my death. You might listen to it as you read this article.
A pilgrimage with "Wally"!
No, he wouldn't like the name "Wally", so that's why I've so named him.
He, in turn, would either try to ignore me or start calling me "Mikey".
Another bearded American writer, John Ford Noonan, called me "Mikey" all the time. He's so big and New York Irish, I was persuaded not to mind in the least.
I also wear a beard now.
I'm old, hate to shave and am beginning to have my own prophetic pretentions.
As I work upon the Second Movement of AN AMERICAN PILGRIMAGE, my relationship with Wally becomes increasingly and exceedingly complex.
It is entirely his fault.
In his own commentaries upon his poetry, he speaks repeatedly of "indirection" and, basically, not being entirely candid about his true feelings.
I am reluctantly beginning to adopt his "indirections".
I'm not entirely sure.
However, no personality has so invaded my thinking as Wally Whitman.
Because no American has so defined for me the nation I was born in.
With the United States so at odds with its original vision, no wonder I became an exile over ten years ago.
Wally stayed. However, I dare say Whitman's America in open civil war became truer to itself than what my former homeland is living in and with now. President Obama's Marxist loyalties and neo-Soviet affiliations, via this clown act he's pulling with Vladimir Putin, make him a kind of Southern Confederacy that now runs the Federal Government.
Had I been a writer, possibly a poet, instead of an actor, might I not have displayed my own theatricality in a similar manner?
I was trained in High School by the Jesuits. If they get you early enough, no matter how hard you try, you're always part Jesuit. You can be a profoundly lapsed Catholic and still be part Jesuit.
This article is due to my publisher today.
If my battles with Wally Whitman peak your interest, drop in on both Enter Stage Right and 77gelsomina – You Tube occasionally. An American Pilgrimage, Second Movement is not far off.
What is happening between Wally and myself certainly has me fascinated.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.