September 8, 2010

Four years down and twenty one to blow
ten thousand more breakfasts to go
fourteen million seconds of living this way
and I guess it's time I started to pray them bars away

Lee Balterman, Crossed Fingers, 1962

The Jobholder
-- by David Ignatow

I stand in the rain waiting for my bus
and in the bus I wait for my stop.
I get let off and go to work
where I wait for the day to end
and then go home, waiting for the bus,
of course, and my stop.

And at home I read and wait
for my hour to go to bed
and I wait for the day I can retire
and wait for my turn to die.

The Teacher
--by Eamon Joseph McCarthy

I drive to school and think of
the bullshit advisor reports
that are self-serving to the teachers
who are liars and who
don't teach.

And I get to school.
And need to listen to the one directive,
the only one, from the
Academic Dean:
Make sure to give a test for summer reading.

And then I drive home.
And find another excuse,
to read what I want,
write in my journal,
and drink.

The secret of my endurance
-- by Charles Bukowski

I still get letters in the mail, mostly from cracked-up
men in tiny rooms with factory jobs or no jobs who are
living with whores or no woman at all, no hope, just
booze and madness.
Most of their letters are on lined paper
written with an unsharpened pencil
or in ink
in tiny handwriting that slants to the

and the paper is often torn
usually halfway up the middle
and they say they like my stuff,
I've written from where it's at, and
they recognize that. truly, I've given them a second
chance, some recognition of where they're at.

it's true, I was there, worse off than most
of them.
but I wonder if they realize where their letters
well, they are dropped into a box
behind a six-foot hedge with a long driveway leading
to a two car garage, rose garden, fruit trees,
animals, a beautiful woman, mortgage about half
paid after a year, a new car,
fireplace and a green rug two-inches thick
with a young boy to write my stuff now,
I keep him in a ten-foot cage with a
typewriter, feed him whiskey and raw whores,
belt him pretty good three or four times
a week.
I'm 59 years old now and the critics say
my stuff is getting better than ever.

-- Listen to Bukowski read this poem.


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