Bukowski makes the Huntington Library

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Opificio dei Sensi (www.opificiodeisensi.it), in Verona, Italy, on the 27th of September, 2013.

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo for Phonodia in Venice, Italy, on the 10th of October, 2013.

Bukowski makes the Huntington Library

Hank, you were right
to hold the city between your teeth
and shake it
I know that now, learning
on the drive down last month
to speak at the library
where they house your archive
I had things to say about the ease
of your being, I guess
the curator knew the worst I could say
is that the land swelled within
your grasp, the sea
of protest calmed within
a wide understanding that deepens
the divide between us,
your land of sexy blondes and
tough men with rotten teeth
watering their lawns, your landlady
blues, your leaking sink, Hemingway
in the bathtub,
I saw the hills divide into
sections, thigh and breast, leg
and neck, torso and shoulder,
the highway spun our sorrow

would we find the museum
on time? do they want e to read a poem
in your honor? answer questions?
we inched uphill past the century plants and
dry mesquite knowing that the land would flatten
into the great, grave-minded basin

you and I drunk the sober drafts
of sultry summer back in 68' and 69'
while our soldiers fielded Vietnam
we'd storm through
the beatitudes, I wanted your
self-assurance, your grip, time
pulled me into the roaring asphalt
and dragged you to the heights
this is today and today feels like nowhere
expect everything, I see Linda, your
love, we embrace, we walk
together through long halls, "here
are the smoking ruins of
Jack London and this
is the Ellesmere Chaucer," imagine,
down a narrow passage to a door
whit a security timer, and into a room
where the manuscripts of Charles Bukowski
await the curator's hand
theft is an issue at the Huntington Library,
even scholars have larceny
secreted in their nimble fingers, touching
a Coleridge notebook, leafing through
a Shakespeare folio, now leaping
onto a backside of Bukowski

yeah, Hank, I love you, I hate, I love, I
climb the stairs with a microphone in my lapel
so the answers I give will rise like condors
over the far distant mountains that somberly
push my old city into its shadowy grave
I tell them to think of palm trees
and unending boulevards, to regard
the end as a beginning,
to forgive themselves
for the empty pages of their own design
you might have been proud
of what I said and
how I spoke with such authority
in the grim business
driving home was
largely uneventful, they
sent a letter to thanks
and invited me to soar
over the Basin one last time
with/without you,
alive and alone

from The Canyon Outward (Penn Valley, CA: R. L. Crow, 2009).

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