I was going to start work on a poem last night
Focusing on a metaphor of migrating swans
Then, well, this film started
About Japanese Warriors and I watched
The first 5 minutes until I picked up
On a quote of Confucius' about
Not giving a sword to a man who can't dance
Which of course I had to look up because
I thought Tarantino had used it somewhere
Maybe in Pulp Fiction but that was a dead end
Then I was onto YouTube watching **** Bill
And the O-Ren Ishii animation sequence
With the insight, totally, why it was an animated sequence
Was because the fake blood budget alone
Would have run to 7 figures …
Looking up to the TV to catch a beheading sequence
Looking down to the Laptop to find Lucy Liu's
Best 10 Bad *** Film Moments!
Which led to the Elementary series and
Sherlock and Doctor Joan facing off with Bamboo Shina
Until despite my joy in the deep coincidences of things
My tired brain was overloaded with martial arts imagery
And to try and get back to the embryo poem idea
I typed migrating swans into google and just got
Lots of V shapes …
… I … paused … to … let … the … message … sink … in ...
At times like this I search for opposites
And thus set out on a random ramble through my shelves
Ashbury – Creeley – Schuyler and the like
For a sideways nudge to an image or a rhythm that inspired
Until my tired brain ran aground and I thought about my bed
My poem hanging and my intention in tatters
Sitting before a glass of Single malt and Tom Lehrer in my ears
I didn't write a single word but heard some lines from a man who wasn't there
“this is the way it goes
with everybody and everything
as fiercely in the highlands,
the black swan burns.”
Thank you Charles Bukowski, and goodnight.
That ****** bar fly.
That **** stained old man.
How could he capture
the essence of a human?
I read and read and read his words.
And I have to ask,
"How can someone so flawed
be almost flawless?"
I spend my Sunday's praying that someday
I can have just an ounce of his insight.
Is it the countless drinks?
The years at the post office?
The failed relationships?
I would give my right eye to
have his talent.
Why would I want to be a dead, washed up, *******?
Drowning in the Sea of Freedom.
A citizen of nowhere to go
And nothing to do.
Hanging out with Bukowski
And drinking tea.
I should spend more days like this.
I drink a lot
Different drinks for different reasons
Different times, and different seasons.
I like wine when I want to smile
whiskey when I wish to sleep
Gin for the times I wish to forget all the dark secrets I keep.
Some nights I want to die, that’s when tequila steps in
And beer when I want to be alone with my friends.
I drink a lot
Sometimes to no end.
I drink so that I have no money to spend.
It is quiet, finally.
The spiders they tell me,
That dreams are funny things-
Heavy like stones. Disappearing.
At night, it rains.
Water is on the inside,
It fills me.
It permeates the skin,
Past leveed lungs,
My mouth-a ****** dam.
The tips are bursting.
It all overpours.
Like stars thick with oil,
Like visions in a well.
Immersed- you can float here.
It's like a nameless place.
It's like falling into rivers.
The guy who wore a scarf at the bar,
he chose not to write
because he's ‘no Hemingway.’
I told him no one stops me.
Memories of Ginsberg, Frost, Thomas,
and even Bukowski's drunken ghost
make me feel at home in my words.
That didn't change the guy's mind,
so I told him to drink up
and do something else.
you didn't deserve the poems you wrote
born of your suffering
dragged from fractured yesterdays
nor did they deserve you
letting you down on the cold dank streets
refusing to warm your cold blue blood
borrowing words you never paid back
you owed each other nothing
except companionship for what it was worth
For what you were worth
There you were, an odd pair
two legs on an upturned stool
rummaging this life for a good line
you could have done without the dereliction
the destruction of the foundation of youth
dodging wrecking ***** aimed at your head
the head wreckers and headhunters
the scalp wreckers and scalp hunters
a bottle of ruby down a parched throat
a smoke to fill the grateful lungs
women to wash your long nights down
they were your proudest boast
You didn't deserve the poems you wrote
Nor did they deserve you
Yet such is companionship
slipping between the sheets and a good line
A tribute to Charles Bukowski
can you separate the art from the *****
old man, and what does it say about me
that i can? to revel in depravity,
without a speck of gravity,
to turn grotesqueness into art
is to win my filthy heart.
I did something
I made my grandma
buy me a 20$ book,
that I didn't need,
I wanted it.
an expensive lunch,
and the only reason
we were in
was to find a gift
for someone else;
I made her
buy one for me.
I felt alarmed
at the cash register,
I knew I should of
left the book on the shelf,
that this trip shouldn't be about
I did it anyway.
we all want things,
getting more than
for our use.
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.
Three bottles in
after a day of the same ****.
Can I compose a poem?
I doubt it.
Maybe another drink will help
then I can be like Bukowski
who has seen more style in dogs
than in men.
Well he isn't wrong is he?
I go to work
to listen to same old tales
of how his wife
keeps falling down
how there's another gun show
how this week the diet
is gonna begin
how this company is sinkin'.
And I agree
it's all going to the bottom
of the dark sea
and for some reason
this thought makes me
This is not a poem.
This is a rant.
I will put on my rage face,
And paint the town red,
And "just go crazy, man"
With the company of myself
In the comfort of my own home
Because I can tear my shirt,
Or draw a knife
Or shout shakespear off a balcony
And I openly scream at the shadows
Who answer politely with silence
I can behave badly
And if I am my only witness
I can sleep at night
Without the peace and solitude that comes from iron bars
And padded cells
I can fight with myself and indulge in the guilty pleasures
That make me feel sullied and ******
I can argue with a hundred dream girls
And when I sleep,
They are still there in my dreams
There is no loss or losing
I can spend three hundred dollars
Monthly on alcohol
If it saves me three thousand
Monthly on sanity
I can look in the mirror and see a hundred different faces
Each more honest to its emotion than the last
I can bite my tongue to spite my face and
Laugh that it was my reflection that drove me to do so,
You never know what that ******* will say
When i am not looking
I dont spend the night on the town
Because I no longer need to surround myself with people.
I no longer need to go out to buy a hat
That suits me and makes me look interesting or meaningful
When I sit alone at the bar
I have no one to impress except myself
And myself already knows I am unimpressive.
There is no one to disappoint
And while this seems like a sad tale,
The truth is that it is the free-est I've ever felt.
In the sanctity of a space that is mine
Surrounded only by people I disagree with
And to be able to write this while wearing underpants.
Bukowski was right
God is dead
The last line is ironic. If you get it.
Because they shocked children at the circus: Bukowski vomiting onto an old woman; Artaud drinking blood in an asylum; Rimbaud swallowing gold in Africa; Nietzsche eating his eyes out; Plath cutting birds on a balcony; Vivien removing her toes; Blake blowing a god; Shakespeare flashing women in a park; Baudelaire slitting boy's throats; and Dickinson throwing knives at the rich. They are all dead now, swept away as stars soaked in wine, dripping and hardening like a **** into some grass somewhere, and yet they live.
They live more than you ever will, knowing they stunned the bird at early morning. They could not deny their lives. You didn't get them. And you know what? They still have us.
Prologue: He wrote her a poem
With the weight of a love letter
Her wrote her one hundred more
Just to know she was truth
I want to budget
To strangle the
To pin down the point
To lock into you
so now I am
my hands on the boulder
so steady the blood from the dig in my shoulder
I lock my eyes on the sun
to find a find a place on the grip
would take the weight of the world
taste of your lip
ready to serve
how do I
in a caged heart of strife?
of the one who breathes life?
I meet you often in my late hours morose
meditating on mad dreams
Your cockiness verbose
just give me the word
I’ll do as you please
you can file your nails
as my tongue splits your knees
(Bukowski) Banging (******* skeleton keys) a sentence assassin
killing paragraphs (open essays diminished)
as the typewriter talks till it laughs (in tatters+finished)
”take me through door after door!!!”
the right words,
From love’s lexiconic relief,
the sentence that shatters,
so don’t run on the dream
it’s punctuation that matters
the period that finally
bores into you.
I fall into puddles.
Inky with resolution.
Sunk down like
A new age,
Thickens the throat.
Drifting into lights,
This atmosphere below,
An anomalous abyss.
I found you in the cracks of winter between puffing breaths of cold air like a dragon, on that cold Wednesday afternoon. I swore your eyes were the ocean, and I could see all the way to Europe. You held your books like a shield guarding your chest and you introduced yourself like a king.
We talked of Bukowski and Frost in between sips of lukewarm water. I fell in love with every pause you took and every time you blinked my heart beat increased. I was surprised you couldn't feel it from across the table.
You showed me the scars on your legs and arms you've gotten over the years. One from jumping off a roof into a pool. One randomly showing up when you woke up that morning. And one from that time you had a tumor removed from your chest. You told me don't feel sorry for you and don't feed you sympathy because you have been full for years.
We spent the next couple of months telling secrets. You told me I was the first person you have ever felt comfortable with in a long time. You kissed me so silently and slowly it was like breathing underwater. Forgive me if I sound selfish but I could not stay under the water any longer and I couldn't hold my breath for another second. I gave all my wishes and stars to you that night. I wrote poetry on your skin that we created when our hands touched.
We explored the mountains and ate picnics every Saturday afternoon. We ran from the rain as we saw the clouds roll in, we sat in the car and played truth or dare for an hour straight. I promised you I will love you until we're old and I'll have to feed you with a spoon until this action isn't anymore romantic but necessary instead.
It was a Tuesday at 2:35 in the morning when you were experiencing pain. I drove you to the hospital.
Our love was like a mother teaching a daughter how to slow dance for the first time; clumsy.
You didn't know how to hold me properly anymore because you were to busy holding medical bills in your hands. When I see these papers my mind loses focus and all those words form one big blur, and they become wet with warm teardrops smudging the news across the white crinkled paper. I turned off the tv that night and we actually looked at each other staring like we were both blank canvases and had painters block for the first time ever. That night you packed a suitcase and went away in a taxi. The hospital wasn't too far away but I couldn't bare to see you walk into that place again.
It was cold and it was Sunday. The doctors tried everything they could but it was already too big and eating you away. Old friends were always bitter when they weren't welcomed back but stormed in like a hurricane destroying everything the future has to hold. Your eyes were colorless and your hands were too fragile to hold anything. My heart was beating out of my chest and my palms were shaking. It felt like I was holding an earthquake.
You were only 21.
You had a warm heart and a beautiful brain. You were drained like rain-soaked up from the earth. I wished I could have taken you places and brought you flowers. But it was always too cold to go somewhere and all the flowers have disappeared away until next spring. For on now I'll just have to bring you back to life through words and hope not to cry. Another love is too far away to see and my vision is blurry but I don't want it to be clear. For I fear that I will once again become too selfish because I can't wait forever for you because death is miles away, and I'm not ready to see that side of my life. But when tomorrow starts without you I guess I'll just go home because, sweetheart, all the dust has disappeared.
Let us praise the time when we flew to Vegas one night because we were board. Praise the moment when we were so full of glee that time we won $20, and how we ignored that fact we lost $600. Praise the day our car broke down on the side of a mountain and so we finally got a chance to talk to each other and confess our problems. Praise that moment we meet on that frosty December. I hope your ghost waltzes at sunset with my shadow. I know it's only been a few years since we meet but for me, it was a lifetime of happiness. Let it be known you are engraved into my brain and I'll always remember the time I saw you clutching books to your chest and puffing dragon breath.
Failed again; only this time I lose everything, including my mind.
I plan to wake tomorrow with the intention of trying again.
Your life is your life,
Don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
I know some "thing" is watching, listening closely.
"It," sends me hope through whispers, whispers only I can hear.
I am scrutinized, ostracized, berated for even paying attention to "that thing."
I am hurt. I want to quit. But I lost everything already, what more do I have to lose?
I act again. I try again. I fail again.
I've given myself the piece of advice to: hold these failures close to my heart. They will pave the way. One stepping stone after another.
You will ride life into perfect laughter.
A poem inspired by the late great Charles Bukowski. Please enjoy and stay driven.
Dreams for sale
the problem with dreams is
everyone’s looking to buy
looking to sell
I hate pretentious poets
Bukowski is the man for me
even he was selling a lifestyle
selling an image
there are studies now that show
trauma impacts the speech center of the brain
that’s why speech is “delayed” in some young children
who’ve experienced trauma
the speech wasn’t late
they were made speechless by the cruelty of this life
maybe that’s why so many of us are drawn to poetry and rap
because we can’t speak
these words are not for sale
they are my salvation
I'm not selling a dream here
just spitting out a reality between clenched teeth
Copyright © 2019 Mariah Simpson All Rights Reserved
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” ~ Maya Angelou
I had almost mastered the art of making my way through life without making too much noise.
I had spent the last 6 years mostly alone.
Concentrated all my efforts on trying to stay out of prison.
Worked on the writing and the poetry.
And doing all I could to just be forgotten.
I had kicked up enough dust in my early years to spend the majority of my adult life behind bars.
Came home with more tattoos, another strike and a
Monkey on my back.
I was home with greying hair, a bullet in my hand that hurt like ****, an ex wife who hated me, kids who didn't know me and friends who had forgotten all about me.
I move as low to the ground as possible now days.
I went out only when I had to.
I was just trying not to be noticed.
Hoping that maybe they'll forget about all the bad I had done
and just let me grow old in silence.
I spent my 40th birthday in a coin-op laundromat that reminded me of a crude jail house day-room.
Concrete floors, metal picnic tables with a large tv bolted to the wall
She walked in carrying what looked like everything she owned.
She couldn't have been more than 5 feet tall, maybe 100lbs at the most.
I quickly stood up from my seat on the cold steel bench and offered to relieve her of some of her burden, to which she shyly obliged.
Nobody ever taught her how to be polite.
She didn't know what being gracious even meant until she met me.
She'ld say " Don't blame me I wasn't raised right", it was our lil joke but a joke that was far to real.
It was her beauty that saved her.
Her body was what most women would never have.
Men felt a burning desire at the sight of her.
Which she used to her advantage when needed.
It's what helped her get by during the roughest of times.
She wasn't a ***** but they didn't know that.
By the time they had realized she wasn't giving what they wanted she would have already packed her things and left for good.
Men would promise her almost everything when all she really wanted was something to call her own.
Her front tooth was chipped from a fight with an ex boyfriend.
The minor flaw only added to her rare type of natural beauty.
Light freckles across the bridge of her nose.
She had scared up boney knuckles and always wore thick silver rings on 4 of her fingers.
Naturally long eyelashes and acne scared cheeks she'ld hide with cover up.
What she knew of the world was almost comical, she hadn't been anywhere and wasn't planning on going anywhere any time soon.
What she lacked in social skills couldn't compare to what she knew how to do in bed.
I gave her a safe place to rest without having to worry.
She gave me reason to shower in the morning and comb my hair before bed.
We played chess which was a surprise to me when she asked me if I played.
I introduced her to Bukowski, Dante and Virgil.
She showed me how to love God and forgive myself.
Her only rule was that I never asked about her past.
What she wanted me to know she would share on her own.
My only request was that she never asked me to stop using
and when she felt it was time to move on ,she wouldn't take the time to say goodbye.
Best drink I ever had. Thanks D.