Thursday, April 7, 2005

Bukowski Said

Bukowski Said

Concentrically jagged are your thoughts,
like forgotten strands of forgotten webs where
flies die, and for no reason --
in your dearth.

You are beautiful and broken,
and the beautiful are found
in corners crumpled
into spiders.

I have, as I mentioned in some earlier and since forgotten post, endeavored to work on reading some massive amounts of contemporary poetry, I am sadly lacking on knowledge of what's going on in my market. I can identify a lot of the Moontown poets without seeing their names, based solely on style and language usage, but that doesn't mean that the majority of MTC is up on contemporary poetry either.

So I started with Mark Strand and fell in love. He writes a lot about death and the process of reaching death. I don't want to say he writes about death, it's not so simple as that - more that he writes about life, and its inevitabilities. He's wonderful. His images are vivid, sometimes shocking, and always always stick with me. I found that his sense of mortality, and his acceptance of it, began to creep into the poetry I was writing. I'm not saying that I'm a big fan of death or dying, but I was somehow amused and even a little proud that I was so affected so much by him.

Then I read some Bukowski. I immediately hated him. He's ugly and bitter and there is so little beauty in what he writes. Of course, part of my reading was his biography, which explained much about how he came to write as he does. It didn't, however, change my impression of his poetry. I did not like his poetry, and through his poetry, disliked him personally. Shame on me.

So I was more than mildly surprised to see that he too would crop up in my poems -- one in particular that I wrote today. It was a challenge poem, the challenge being to write a poem inspired by a photograph. The picture was of a spider web, backlit by sunlight that was filtered by a dusty aged window pane.

The picture immediately brought to mind two poems by Bukowski that I've recently read.
What's the use of a Title?
Death Wants more Death

Both use imagery of spiders as metaphor within them, and so I thought I'd post the poem and the picture, just because, again, I'm somehow pleased to find that I've been affected by him.


  1. i love your poem, E. just in case you wanted to know.

  2. Just goes to show one can never know how, when, or why we are influenced.

  3. Mark Strand used to teach at the University of Utah (my alma mater). He wore Italian silk jackets with the sleeves pushed up, and levis. Bukowski read here once, too, a very long time ago. He looked like a cab driver.