Monday, September 12, 2005

poetry readings

by Charles Bukowski, from Bone Palace Ballet © Black Sparrow Press. (buy now)

poetry readings

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
discovered,
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
in
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 at a bowling alley,
a prelim boy in a four rounder,
a jock guiding his horse through along the
rail,
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
anything
anything
but
these.

via "The Writer's Almanac"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is this a great poem? because it inspires emotion...in this case, ire. Okay, rage.

Here goes:

Dear Mr. Bukowski:
Pompous, bitter assholes like you are precisely the reason talented, sensitive young things like ME kept our mouths shut and our pencils down for twenty-odd years, until we were neither young nor sensitive anymore, and finally quit giving a shit what pompous, bitter assholes like you thought.

In other words, dear sir, if you weren't dead, I'd tell you to go fuck yourself. I'd also remind you of the wisest sentence in the language: there but for the grace of God go I. You just got lucky, buddy. And don't forget it. Next lifetime, God willing, that'll be YOU in the Barnes and Noble wannabe pile.

If I can spare my children an encounter with the likes of you, my work will be complete.

Signed,
A former wannabe