Today also would've been the 90th birthday of Charles Bukowski,
so here are 3 more poems in honor of good ol' Hank.
bukowski and the 21st century
bukowski died in 1994
but he always wanted to live
until he was 80
until the year 2000
& maybe even into the 21st century
i couldn’t begin to wonder why
well, Hank, the year came in all right
& at the end of the evening i vomited
& pissed between two garbage cans
on a side street in downtown pittsburgh
a taxi cab passed us up and we had to
walk five drunken miles.
two of the friends i was with, i
don’t even know anymore.
but that’s okay because i’ve had enough
to keep me busy these last six years
friends have died & some grow sicker
the work world is just as bad, and
health care is a joke
only the big shots have gotten smarter,
and they keep us dumber with gadgets
and celebrity tv while fucking the
nation in the ass.
the music scene is terrible
and writing is dead
there’s a new war
there’s another enemy
gas costs $3 a gallon
no one cares about your precious brahms
and i can’t seem to stay in a city long
enough to remember anything good about it
the religious have taken over
time has dipped into the abyss
the american century has collapsed
& humanity seems to be limping toward
its inevitable, anemic climax.
maybe now i know why you wanted to
inevitable, anemic climax
if nothing else, i thought you might’ve
wanted to be around for that.
i know i’m sure enjoying it.
then i was on the train
reading hank’s selected,
thinking about a shot of
scotch in the morning tea,
and what to do about
my neighbor’s loud television
when she said
“bukowski’s great, isn’t he?”
“yes,” i answered.
“i saw a play about him once,
and a movie.”
“that’s nice,” i answered.
“his poems are so real,
so true,” she said.
“bukowski’s poetry has
saved my life,” she said.
“that’s nice,” i answered.
then she got off the train,
feeling good about herself,
and i went back to reading
thinking about a shot of scotch
in the morning tea,
what to do about my neighbor’s
how i should start taking a different train
to work in the morning,
and how if she really loved bukowski
she would’ve left me alone
in the first place.
oh no, you got me
yes there was a fella names bukowski,
and he did beat me to the punch
in terms of writing in a direct style..
but, if i'm correct, people are allowed
to express themselves as they see fit.
if you think i'm nicking bukowski, that's fine,
if you want to pinpoint me.
i guess i should start writing poems
about whores and the racetrack now,
to say nothing for the hundreds of poets who,
i guess, are "borrowing" styles from other poets.
and gee, i always thought i was ripping off
ray carver anyway.
i never write these notes back to editors and the like.
ive learned to take the punches and roll with them.
but i don't know.
maybe you've struck a nerve this time,
as was evident in what you wrote to me.
maybe i'm tired too, and sick of bullshit
maybe it's the wine getting to me today.
but i've read your mag,
and that's the most i can say for it.
so thanks for the compliment
disguised as a critique of my writing.
i will take it and i will think about it.
and who knows,
maybe i will send more poems to you.
or maybe i'll just send them
to a better rag next time,
or just wipe my ass with the paper.
good luck anyway,