Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Poetry Reading - Poem by Charles Bukowski

poetry readings have to be some of the saddest
damned things ever,
the gathering of the clansmen and clanladies,
week after week, month after month, year
after year,
getting old together,
reading on to tiny gatherings,
still hoping their genius will be
discovered,
making tapes together, discs together,
sweating for applause
they read basically to and for
each other,
they can't find a New York publisher
or one
within miles,
but they read on and on
in the poetry holes of America,
never daunted,
never considering the possibility that
their talent might be
thin, almost invisible,
they read on and on
before their mothers, their sisters, their husbands,
their wives, their friends, the other poets
and the handful of idiots who have wandered
in
from nowhere.

I am ashamed for them,
I am ashamed that they have to bolster each other,
I am ashamed for their lisping egos,
their lack of guts.

if these are our creators,
please, please give me something else:

a drunken plumber at a bowling alley,
a prelim boy in a four rounder,
a jock guiding his horse through along the
rail,
a bartender on last call,
a waitress pouring me a coffee,
a drunk sleeping in a deserted doorway,
a dog munching a dry bone,
an elephant's fart in a circus tent,
a 6 p.m. freeway crush,
the mailman telling a dirty joke

anything
anything
but
these.


Comments about Poetry Reading by Charles Bukowski

  • Mizzy ........ (9/10/2016 4:56:00 PM)


    He never minced his words....... (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (10/14/2012 7:47:00 PM)


    at high noon
    at a small college near the beach
    sober
    the sweat running down my arms
    a spot of sweat on the table
    I flatten it with my finger
    blood money blood money
    my god they must think I love this like the others
    but it's for bread and beer and rent
    blood money
    I'm tense lousy feel bad
    poor people I'm failing I'm failing
    a woman gets up
    walks out
    slams the door
    a dirty poem
    somebody told me not to read dirty poems
    here
    it's too late.
    my eyes can't see some lines
    I read it
    out-
    desperate trembling
    lousy
    they can't hear my voice
    and I say,
    I quit, that's it, I'm
    finished.
    and later in my room
    there's scotch and beer:
    the blood of a coward.
    this then
    will be my destiny:
    scrabbling for pennies in tiny dark halls
    reading poems I have long since beome tired
    of.
    and I used to think
    that men who drove buses
    or cleaned out latrines
    or murdered men in alleys were
    fools.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/19/2007 6:03:00 PM)


    I love it- the new show down at the OK corral in a poetic universe. (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: poetry



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 15, 2015


[Report Error]