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Charles Bukowski and Me

by David Hill

At the Library,
box sets of
Bob Dylan Sid Barrett Robert Frost,
hippest place in town.

Unlike other slim volumes of poetry,
this one’s thick and hardbound.

I begin in my sparse single lamp gloom room,
where he told me about the racetrack, and losing his way in L.A. hills,
and his rectal exam, and his whores.

I thought, “What is this stuff,
without form or beginning or end?”

So I thought about Liberty Bell
where we snuck in beers and stood in the infield
because it was cheap and we liked being near the horses.
Auschwitz was always there, with a brown bag pint,
shabby overcoat, sunken whiskered skull, grainy death camp bum,
and I wondered at his life.

Then I thought about driving south to the in-laws.
I was supposed to take Interstate 40 west,
but knowing no difference I took Route 40 west
and we wound the night through mountains and valleys.
Hours lost and a nestled one-horse factory town with
everyone out for softball and sweaty beers under moth lights.
I was fascinated, but then the MG overheated and my wife
was furious and I knew our days were numbered.

And I thought about the time I locked myself in the bathroom
dropped my drawers and assumed the position, with a hand mirror
and pulling a cheek with the free hand,
reflected, a grinning throbbing burning purple hemorrhoid.
How I loathed what my body produced.

So I thought about this girl in the bar when I was a year divorced,
and she talked and touched me dirty
so I grabbed her tits in the alley and drained oxygen with a lust kiss,
but up came her roadblock so I left alone.
The next day they said she wanted to date me
but she was just meat to me, so I decided
celibacy is best for a crackpot like me.

When morning came, I parked outside with a thermos of black coffee
and a non-filtered cigarette and waited for the library to open.
I wanted to read what else I had done and pretend to be Beat and hard.


Posted on 02/08/2005
Copyright © 2024 David Hill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by JD Clay on 02/08/05 at 03:47 AM

Wow! This is an entertaining and fascinating composition, David, very impressive. Tell me it's all you. I'm sure this ribald piece has Hank himself propped up on one elbow, with a tuned ear to the Hill side of things. Pe4ce...

Posted by Lauren Singer on 01/09/06 at 06:14 AM

from a full-fledged buk adorer, this poem is well-spoken in his shadow, completely articulate and narrative in the best way, and an achievement ole hank would be proud of.

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