Saturday, March 23, 2013

poem for Vic — Inspired by Bukowski






                                — Inspired by Bukowski




He had a bark loud enough to wake the neighbors; they'd glare at me 
when I went out every morning for another drenched newspaper, 
its wet ink as indecipherable as Sanskrit - and, sure, he'd bitch about it plenty
like it was my fault for not outrunning the dew when he was well aware he'd 
kept me up all night with his railing against this n' that, whatever had stirred his pot 
to boiling at that particular, peculiar moment, leaving me to clean up after words.

I can't say as I'd blame him (much) - I had plenty to simmer about myself
in those eclectic, electric days, those tornadic nights when sleep eluded us both.

His constant two-fingered pecking on his battered typewriter drove me
to despair and back, and I'd hiss at him for being a typist, not a writer.

He'd cackle and throw his empty beer can at my head - I learned to dodge
quick after that first blackened eye - was it his fault? I'd known before 
that he'd practiced his pitch until it hit the speed of sound, popping our windows - 
it didn't matter if it was wadded up paper, empty cans, a glass ashtray - 
he'd toss whatever he could manage to pick up, especially after I hid his keys 
to keep his sodden ass at home, to keep the rest of the world at bay - 

and yes, he bayed at the moon, too - perturbed it waned too often
for his sextant to find the galaxy he wanted when he wanted it, even if
he wouldn't wear those ugly, stupid glasses he'd picked out - he'd hide those
from himself. I think it was his vanity refusing to admit he'd gotten older,
but apparently no wiser. I never called him Hank - I called him Chas, Buk,
Pervert, Lush, Lech, My Lovely, anything to tease him or make him mad enough
to start his blasted two-fingered drilling again. Sometimes, it'd soothe me - 
at least, until he'd insist on reading it to me in his sloppy, slurred voice.

He could sing better than that, but refused to, damn his sorry hide.           

After all those years of unrestrained misbehavior, 
of tempestuous, fractured moments, I finally forgave him
when he had that picture taken for me in an clean suit and a Fedora;

he stood, slanted, somewhere between 
those terrible truths and a curvaceous curse.