Blowtorch On A Pig

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maxresdefaultBY S. A. GRIFFIN


I made a pact with myself to never
write anything Bukowski again

then comes this via the Pony Express of my computer,
“Would you like to send unpublished poetry
or-and an essay on Charles Bukowski…”

I never met the man

never got loaded with him
talked shit about women
writing or the track

never laughed it up at one of his
infamous Hollywood shindigs

never pressed that flesh

more than once over the years
I’d walk into Baroque Books & Red would say,
“Kid, tomorrow at Musso’s,
noon. Be there.”

“Okay Red, see ya then.”

I had nothing to offer but nerves
which of course always
got the better of me

did see him once in 1987
when Barbet Schroeder’s Bukowski Tapes
debuted at EZTV in West Hollywood

Bukowski stood before us, cased the room,
“I don’t smoke weed man. People who smoke
pot are just fucking idiots. They do nothing, they
read Zap comics & watch too much TV.
It slows you down man, takes the
edge off. It’s a dull way to go.”

with steady grace he raises the
green bottle in his fist & pulls on it,
“This,” he slaps it, “is something,” his face relaxing into a
generous grin that lights the room
& captures everything

he takes another tug,
“This shit makes the world
a better place.”

Bukowski chuckles
a bluebird circles overhead

“Makes me feel like
the gods are smiling down on me,
like maybe I’ve got half a chance
coming out of the gate.”

he fixes a sober gaze upon the audience
shifts his weight a bit like an old prize fighter,
“Okay, okay… I’ve talked enough.
Enjoy the movie.”

& he & his beer
are gone

22 years later & a few miles west of Santa Anita
just past the long green money
& kept lawns of San Marino
Charles Bukowski smiles
across the main exhibition hall of the
Huntington Library at
William Shakespeare
under glass

Hank dead center of the centuries
shoulder to shoulder with other
quiet giants of arts & letters

blistering wisteria drip like warm wax in the
Southern California sun

Jacarandas announce the lavender spring

as pools of splashing laughter erupt from the suburbs
as the advancing city sings a strange fire that never dies

as I promise you

this will never
happen
again

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