June Poetry Day 30 – Bukowski one last time

Posted: June 30, 2011 in poetry
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June Poetry Day 30 – Bukowski one last time

I think So you want to be a writer is one of Buk’s finest and it really speaks to me as a writer and I have chosen it to be the last poem for poetry month here on the blog. It’s a message to us all who write or want to write, so if it doesn’t come bursting out of you, don’t do it.

And then I couldn’t resist, so two more as encores.

So you want to be a writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.
and there never was.

********************************

The Worst and the Best

in the hospitals and jails
it’s the worst
in madhouses
it’s the worst
in penthouses
it’s the worst
in skid row flophouses
it’s the worst
at poetry readings
at rock concerts
at benefits for the disabled
it’s the worst
at funerals
at weddings
it’s the worst
at parades
at skating rinks
at sexual orgies
it’s the worst
at midnight
at 3 a.m.
at 5:45 p.m.
it’s the worst

***********************

The Price
drinking 15 dollar champagne –
Cordon Rouge — with the hookers.
one is named Georgia and she
doesn’t like pantyhose:
I keep helping her pull up
her long dark stockings.
the other is Pam — prettier
but not much soul, and
we smoke and talk and I
play with their legs and
stick my bare foot into
Georgia’s open purse.
it’s filled with bottles of pills. I
take some of the pills.
“listen,” I say, “one of
you has soul, the other
looks. can’t I combine
the 2 of you? take the soul
and stick it into the looks?”
“you want me,” says Pam, “it
will cost you a hundred.”
we drink some more and Georgia
falls to the floor and can’t
get up.
I tell Pam that I like her
earrings very much. her
hair is long and a natural
red.
“I was only kidding about the
hundred,” she says.
“oh,” I say, “what will it cost
me?”
she lights her cigarette with
my lighter and looks at me
through the flame:
her eyes tell me.
“look,” I say, “I don’t think I
can ever pay that price again.”
she crosses her legs
inhales on her cigarette
as she exhales she smiles
and says, “sure you can.”

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