Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bukowski Poem by Bob Flanagan

Bukowski Poem by Bob Flanagan

I started writing this poem
where Pamela and I
are sitting in a bar in Santa Monica
and she shows me some of her new poems.

I tell her they're not very good

and she starts yelling and throwing
glasses and all of a sudden I realize
it sounds a lot like
a Bukowski poem.
Shit, I say, it sounds a lot like
a Bukowski poem.
What am I doing writing like

I rip it up and toss it on the floor
beside the ants and the empty bottles
and Pamela's candy wrappers.

What's wrong with you? she asks.

Oh, nothing, I say, it's just that
I'm starting to write like Bukowski.

Well, what's wrong with that, she says.
He's a nice guy. I talked to him on
the phone one time. I asked him if he'd
like to do a reading. He said no but
to keep buying his books.

There's nothing wrong with Bukowski,
I say. I just don't want to write
like him. I have a hard enough time
writing my own stuff, let alone
Bukowski's too. And besides, he's
doing an ok job of it on his own.

I go to the refrigerator for a beer
but there's just a lot of milk and
Pepsi-Cola. How come we don't have any
beer? I ask.
Don't be an ass, she says. You know
we never buy beer. Since when
do you want a beer? I think you're going out of your mind, she says.

You may be right, I say.

And I go into the bathroom and feel
like vomiting but can't.
I fill the tub with hot water.
CHRIST! I yell.
I don't take baths; Bukowski takes
baths; I take showers!
I shut the water off and sit down
on the crapper. I'm constipated and
I have hemorrhoids and Pamela is
pounding on the door.
Hurry-up in there, she says;

Ok, I say. It figures -- somebody has to
piss in this poem; it wouldn't be right
without pissing.

~~ Bob Flanagan (1952-1996) was a poet and performance artist. He was the author of five books of poetry: The Kid is the Man, Fuck Journals, The Wedding of Everything, Slave Sonnets and Taste of Honey with David Trinidad. He was the subject of the RE/Search book Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist and the film documentary Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.

1 comment:

Steve B said...

I think we've all gone through a phase of writing (or trying to write) like Bukowski. Reckon one has to live like him first!