Poetry Pals

I can’t seem to get enough of writer Charles Bukowski these days.

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

I recently finished reading his novel Hollywood, a fictionalized account about Bukowski’s experience writing the screenplay for the movie Barfly.

I then ran out to the library and checked out two poetry books by Bukowski—The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems and Come On In!: New Poems.

I don’t even read much poetry but I felt I needed more Bukowski books in the house, like I wanted to keep my friend around for a while. Bukowski seems less like a deceased author and more like a buddy spending his vacation with me. When I’m engrossed in a Bukowski work, I often picture him sitting in my living room and reading aloud from his book while taking sips of beer from a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon or Miller High Life.

Anyway, that’s just a fleeting image. The writing speaks for itself. And I’ve only read up to page 57 in The Flash of Lightning, but here’s a poem I found worthy of sharing. I hope you enjoy it too.

Born Again

this special place of ourselves
sometimes explodes in our
I got a flat on the freeway yesterday,
changed the right rear wheel on the
the big rigs storming by,
slamming the sky
against my head and
it felt like I was clinging to the
edge of the earth,
30 minutes late for the first

but strangely, something
about the experience
was very much like emerging reluctantly
a second time
from my
mother’s womb.

Bukowski, Charles. The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems. New York: Ecco (An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), 2004.

I also ran across an old interview with Bukowski in the New York Times in which he discusses his style of writing and being a lucky late bloomer.


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