Wednesday, September 26, 2012

poem of the day 09.26.12

bukowski t-shirt

sitting with the pittsburgh poets
at lou’s little corner tavern

i’ve got a stack of their books next to me
and cheap pitchers of yuengling crowding the table

i’m looking for inspiration
but all i’ve got is some yinzer barfly at my back
yapping about my bukowski t-shirt

before he came over
we’d been watching the giants/cowboys game
and talking shop

talking poetic gibberish
reconfiguring the past
treading awkward and carefully on the present

we’d been eating his cigarettes for about an hour

these little indian bidis
that blow purple smoke
and probably give one cancer upon impact

but he keeps tapping me on the shoulder
pointing at my shirt
saying, bukowski, man, bukowski
you just don’t see t-shirts like that in this place

of course that’s when i turn around to take in the joint

the teased hair of the bartender
the row of fleshy desperation lining up at the bar
the rat faced, emaciated whatevers
playing pool under white flood lights

and think that i’ve been coming into joints like this
for far too long

having too many conversations like these to kill the hours

and everything is beginning to look the same
whether or not i’m in pittsburgh, brooklyn,
or on the east end of madrid

i think i might be getting too old

still, he’s right
i’m the only one wearing a bukowski t-shirt
in this place

to tell the truth
i hardly ever wear the thing
because i’m worried that i’ll get a stain on it

or that some asshole
will say, hey, that’s a bukowski t-shirt
and i won’t know what to say
except, yes, yes it is

i tell him i got it in pasadena
at some bukowski exhibit
that i got to see buk’s typewriter
and his old, used wine glass as well

but he stares at me like i could’ve got the shirt
on mars for all he cares

so i tell him maybe bukowski would’ve
liked a place like lou’s
back in the old bar fight days

thinking that’ll end the conversation

but all he says is hot water music, man
hot water music
that’s my favorite book

then takes my hand in his like we’re old lovers
my red eyes staring into his red eyes
until the bartender tells him to go home and sleep it off

so that all of us poets can get back
to talking about everything
that poets talk about

all our books and our wardrobes

over beers
on a humid wednesday night
in good old pittsburgh, pa.                 

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