bugging Bukowski

bugging Bukowski
turns out Mr. Bukowski thought Henry was a bit of ‘a bore’, and couldn’t get past more than a few pages of him (gleaned from a Bukowski interview).
this was my contribution among those of others to be read as a prelude to Ruth Bioletti’s theatre piece ‘An evening with Charles Bukowski’

Bukowski
Acknowledgements to Michael Montfort for use of this photo ‘Charles Bukowski on Ehrenstrasse in Cologne, West Germany, 1978’

‘Charlie!’
if i called out
to you ‘hey, Charlie!’
i have it on some
authority, like your
own good bad-ass self,
that you would have
come back through
gritted teeth, “Don’t
bug me, baby, I’m no
‘Charlie’ to you, man,
don’t try and collar me
with your stupid forced
familiarity,”, that you
would have bitten hard
at the corner of your
mouth on your cigarette
and told me where to
get off’…so…
let me try again,
“Mr Bukowski, sir,
can i buy, may i buy
you a beer, sir, and
rest assured, there are
girls there on stage
with bodies that wind
like pythons round a
silver pole, and women
at the bar who could
teach any man a thing
or two about guts,
about getting up after
being kicked in the head
by a life they might prefer
had finished the job.”
so maybe, you might
have said “well, i’ve got
to be somewhere soon,
but one beer couldn’t hurt,
you’re buying right?”
so, now, i’ve got you
to the bar and we’re
in that comfortable
space the music, the bare
arm beside you, the mirror
behind the upper shelf
shines back at us, all warm
in a frame of jukebox
boozy rhythms, and now i
risk my point, that as
old Henry the Miller
has said, walking
over a brooklyn bridge
you might realise walking
years on that the knot
of phlegm you hoicked
onto the pavement there,
that one time, that agitation
in the throat was actually
your very own self, and you
dislodged and left it there,
and you would know that,
and that in medieval
days the king would have
his jester, who might have
wept in his cups all the day
at a stone sill, but when
he had to, kneeling before
the throne of horrors,
the bungled ruling men
and women were subject
to, he would stand and
give the king the true picture,
not pretty as you often said,
and if your head rolled
for saying it, you wouldn’t have
cared, your famous last words
would have been, ‘my lord
of one, who will you turn to,
when the only man man
enough to say it straight
was cut at the neck,
i bequeath you a
kingdom of fools’,
and you would have
whistled the masked
man to swing it….
you’re laughing now,
i see it, ‘where’s my
fuckin’ beer? you
promised!’, so i’ll get
out while the
going’s good,
‘Charlie!’

august 2019

Copyright ©2019 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “bugging Bukowski”

  1. Hank, eh? spent hours at the onset, in the 90’s, reading what not to do, I think! was helpful back then…nice to read a nod his way

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    1. Thanks for reading, Dean. No surprise to hear you’ve been a student of Hank one way or another. I’d be surprised indeed if you had missed him in your poetic travels!

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