September 9, 2005

how many times can a man turn his head
pretending he just doesn't see



screenshot from sky news Ireland

going there
-- by jack gilbert

of course it was a disaster
that unbearable, dearest secret
has always been a disaster.
the danger when we try to leave.
going over and over afterward
what we should have done
instead of what we did.
but for those short times
we seemed to be alive. mislead,
misused, lied to and cheated,
certainly. still, for that
little while, we visited
our possible life.

Young In New Orleans
-- by Charles Bukowski

starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, mabye it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
world.

New Orleans was a place to
hide.
I could piss away my life,
unmolested.
except for the rats.
the rats in my small dark room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
death.

women were beyond me.
they saw something
depraved.
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
brought my
coffee.
that was plenty for
me, that was
enough.

there was something about
that city, though:
it didn't let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
needed.
it let me alone.
sitting up in my bed
the lights out,
hearing the outside
sounds,
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
the grape
enter
me

as I heard the rats
moving about the
room,
I preferred them
to
humans.
being lost,
being crazy mabye
is not so bad
if you can be
that way:
undisturbed.
New Orleans gave me
that.

nobody ever called
my name.
no telephone,
no car,
no job,
no anything.
me and the
rats
and my youth,
one time,
that time
I knew
even through the
nothingness,
it was a
celebration
of something not to
do
but only
know.

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