Thursday, August 28, 2003

One more Re:Buk 

Hassen, was that you who last posted, I reckon? I love seeing Buk as a liberating force in the world - right on!

After posting last, I felt badly about giving his poems such short shrift. Yeah, I do think they're often sloppy in ways that make it tough for me to read them now, & some of the later poems esp coast too much on persona, but I've been thinking about some of his poems that really punched me in the gut when I was 19 or 20. Here's probably my favorite Bukowski poem ever. The copy of it I have is from Boulevard's Spring 1991 issue - not sure if it made it into one of his later books of poems.


burnt in hell
a piece of me fits nowhere
as other people find things
to do
with time
places to go
with going
things to say
with saying

I am
burnt in hell
somplace north of Del Mar
flowers grow upsidedown here.

I am not
other people.
other people are
other people.

they are all one thing
they are
nervous and mad
and I am
burnt in hell
my face a thousand years old

I am not
other people.

I'd die on their picnic grounds
wrapped in their flags
slugged by their songs
dogs to their soldiers
gored by their humor
shot by their eyes

I am not
other people
I am
burnt in hell

the hell of being

You can't go wrong w/ that. I always preferred his poems of angry meditation over the narrative pieces. Some of the later narratives esp just struck me as short short stories w/ half-assed line breaks thrown in. But poems like this one - & big chunks of work from "Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame" or "Love Is A Dog From Hell" - still seem like The Real Thing. Whatever that means.

Chris McC

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