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Joseph S Pete Mar 31
Bukowski penned drunken, *****, barroom poetry,
verse as rough as his leathery face, a visage chapped by hard living.

The idolized poet of the lost, the forgotten and misbegotten,
the drunkards, the damaged and the denizens of skid row,

recounted in an interview how he went to The Playwright bar
in Los Angeles, drinking there at least four or five times.

They eventually eighty-sixed him, kicked him to the curb
when he demanded to know if anyone there was a playwright,

accused them of false advertising, raised a veritable ruckus.
It was just another dive. Maybe he was being a little dramatic.

But maybe at the jagged edge, you need a little fire in your blood,
a willingness to throw down over matters of little consequence.
Some days, the words flow forth like the mighty Mississippi River.
Some days, they trickle like a creek.
Some days, drought ravages the barren land,
the word processor screen as blank as the expansive emptiness
of a sun-charred desert landscape.
The factories rust oxide red,
The parking lots sit cracked and empty.
The vacants molder and rot away.

Manufacturers flounder and fail.
Blue-collared workers flee to warmer climes.
Death stretches on, forever protracted.

Once-proud communities erode away slowly.
A seemingly rock-solid way of life is forever lost.
We used to make something, the forgotten lament.
We went to war.
We went to war.
We went to that godforsaken war.
We went to war as fair-cheeked boys
and came home as wizened old men.
We left behind the best of us
on that unforgiving battlefield
and never live down
our great needling guilt,
that all-consuming sense
it should have been us instead.
It should have been us instead.
They are but innumerable hordes
massed outside the ramparts.
And I stand alone
to combat them.
Joseph S Pete Dec 2018
Sometimes,
after much fraught deliberation,
a man just has to take a stand,
summon his inner fortitude,
and fight for what he believes in.

Sometimes,
a man of such steely resolve and resolute action
is dumb as a fence post,
short-sighted,
completely and totally misguided.
Joseph S Pete Dec 2018
Oh nascent soul in a starched Oxford,
know that corporate grinds you down,
takes your time, your hustle, your ambition,
your early mornings and late nights at the office,
missed time with family and friends.

They steal your health, your waistline,
your smoldering fire, your last spark,
your giddy sense of a boundless future
and endless possibility.

You ***** away, grind yourself down
so shareholders who swim in pools of more money
than they’ll ever realistically need
can reap a marginal benefit.

And in the end, no matter how much you give them,
they’ll just cast you aside like trash anyway.
There’s no more expectation of a gold watch at retirement,
no more decency to the people who keep the profit flowing in.

It’s a machine that chews you up and expectorates you.
It’s a machine that knows no kindness, no mercy.
It’s a machine that feasts on blood and rumbles on eternally.
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