Friday, April 21, 2006


poetry readings

Charles Bukowski

poetry readings have to be some of the saddest
damned things ever,
the gathering of the clansmen and clanladies,
week after week, month after month, year
after year,
getting old together,
reading on to tiny gatherings,
still hoping their genius will be
making tapes together, discs together,
sweating for applause
they read basically to and for
each other,
they can't find a New York publisher
or one
within miles,
but they read on and on
in the poetry holes of America,
never daunted,
never considering the possibility that
their talent might be
thin, almost invisible,
they read on and on
before their mothers, their sisters, their husbands,
their wives, their friends, the other poets
and the handful of idiots who have wandered
from nowhere.

I am ashamed for them,
I am ashamed that they have to bolster each other,
I am ashamed for their lisping egos,
their lack of guts.

if these are our creators,
please, please give me something else:

a drunken plumber in a bowling alley,
a prelim boy in a four rounder,
a jock guiding his horse through along the
a bartender on last call,
a waitress pouring me a coffee,
a drunk sleeping in a deserted doorway,
a dog munching a dry bone,
an elephant's fart in a circus tent,
a 6 p.m. freeway crush,
the mailman telling a dirty joke



Blogger Pat Paulk said...

One of my favorite poets, just finished reading "what matters most is how well you walk through the fire". Good post!!

7:40 AM, April 22, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thanks Pat - I need to read more Buk - is that the book of his you would recommend? A friend of mine told me - his poetry is a place to visit but not stay. :)

9:59 AM, April 22, 2006  
Blogger Amy said...

I understand the narrator's frustration, but I rather think that poetry belongs to everyone, even those whose talent might seem "thin." So what? They're out there doing their thing, not hurting anybody, keeping poetry alive for themselves, making it theirs. They have as much right as any of us.

3:17 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

You have great points Amy. Leave it to Buk to laugh at himself, and us, at the same time. I wish poetry realized that belongs to everyone, and that more people came to poetry readings, not just poets and their families and friends.

6:38 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Woops - I meant - I wish more people realized that poetry belongs to everyone.

9:11 PM, April 28, 2006  

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