Poetry Reading

poetry readings have to be some of the saddest
damned things ever,
the gathering of the clansmen and clanladies,
week after week, month after month, year
after year,
getting old together,
reading on to tiny gatherings,
still hoping their genius will be
discovered,
making tapes together, discs together,
sweating for applause
they read basically to and for
each other,
they can't find a New York publisher
or one
within miles,
but they read on and on
in the poetry holes of America,
never daunted,
never considering the possibility that
their talent might be
thin, almost invisible,
they read on and on
before their mothers, their sisters, their husbands,
their wives, their friends, the other poets
and the handful of idiots who have wandered
in
from nowhere.

I am ashamed for them,
I am ashamed that they have to bolster each other,
I am ashamed for their lisping egos,
their lack of guts.

if these are our creators,
please, please give me something else:

a drunken plumber at a bowling alley,
a prelim boy in a four rounder,
a jock guiding his horse through along the
rail,
a bartender on last call,
a waitress pouring me a coffee,
a drunk sleeping in a deserted doorway,
a dog munching a dry bone,
an elephant's fart in a circus tent,
a 6 p.m. freeway crush,
the mailman telling a dirty joke

anything
anything
but
these.

by Charles Bukowski

Comments (3)

He never minced his words.......
at high noon at a small college near the beach sober the sweat running down my arms a spot of sweat on the table I flatten it with my finger blood money blood money my god they must think I love this like the others but it's for bread and beer and rent blood money I'm tense lousy feel bad poor people I'm failing I'm failing a woman gets up walks out slams the door a dirty poem somebody told me not to read dirty poems here it's too late. my eyes can't see some lines I read it out- desperate trembling lousy they can't hear my voice and I say, I quit, that's it, I'm finished. and later in my room there's scotch and beer: the blood of a coward. this then will be my destiny: scrabbling for pennies in tiny dark halls reading poems I have long since beome tired of. and I used to think that men who drove buses or cleaned out latrines or murdered men in alleys were fools.
I love it- the new show down at the OK corral in a poetic universe.