ode to the ink that runs
why don't poets
kill each other
it's been too long since the buggering to death of percy bysshe shelly
by henry wadsworth longfellow
even that was an accident.
i can only remember bukowski
with that bottle opener in sixty-two -- it was a good reading,
the way he bifurcated
that beatnik's sternum
and the ribs swung open like hands
about to clap. and he just stood there, that nameless beatnik,
blood slapping the ground, and he took it.
he died with his mouth shut. no last simile
not even a growl for the ages. he was only bewildered.
that's why you always got fucked up, bukowski.
you were lonely for someone good to kill
you're dead, bukowski
and i'm yelling at your dead body.
this is what we call APOSTROPHE,
defined as the direct address of an absent
or imaginary person, or of a personified abstraction.
is out of fashion these days.
i would riddle your grave with slugs, bukowski,
son of mogh, and fill the holes with pissed vodka
and dream that i drank you to death. i'd lie
to all comers how i slew you, rusty soup-can's edge
underlining your jawbone, red ink, yawning and scrawled.
red ink. you son of a bitch who never rewrote a word.
i'd lie that i drank out your arteries and took
your powers for mine.
disputes between poets don't get resolved anymore.
we publish them instead. we mewl wittily back
and forth in respectable publications.
what we need is some ONCE AND FOR ALL.
nobody tells me to capitalize the first-person singular
while he's busy clutching at exposed bowel tissue.
sabers in the moonlit quad
, that's my motto.
i should've been a pair of jagged jaws
rending across the flanks of wildebeestes
instead i'm sipping havarti
at the fondue fountain,
listening to us ruminate: on shortlists,
on conspicuous absences from shortlists,
on innovations in reedless microtonal oboe jazz
over water crackers we ruminate on feng shui
, the tragic persecution of falun gong
we live in the moment. we are careful.
there in the moment we flabbily congratulate ourselves.
our poetics, our CRAFT, how very hard we try.
and we start not at unpredicted noises,
nor do we whirl when rivals take the stage.
you've been dead too long, bukowski:
we punctuate no readings with the breaking of
bottles on table lips. our fingers are weak
with the holding of stemmed glasses
we lack the strength to draw at measured paces
a poet's gun. it should be serious as lead.
a piece heavy to lift, but irresponsible, and black,
black as the syphilis
, perhaps, with the scrapings of a long nail
during bloodshot nights where the gun is pointed in
turn to the ceiling, the door, and the cat,
and the roof of the mouth, and the door,
and the ghosts in the hallway, dead-drunk,
the bloated dreams that make
for easy aim.