Bukowski’s Ghost

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Bukowski’s Ghost

 

I really don’t want to write like you as beautiful as it is,

too much pain, too much semen and maggots and blood.

I read you like a junkie shooting up, a rush to the brain.

When I was young I was cute with great hair

and the girls loved me, and I didn’t get turned down

for jobs or sex or clubs I wanted to get into.

My skin was clear. I didn’t suffer your crucifixions.

I was tough and mean with very fast fists,

and no one picked on me because I would hurt them

without even thinking. Not proud of that.

It was simply the way it was for a southern boy who

understood the brutal truths very early.

 

You were the kind of guy I felt sorry for, a pitiful loser,

foreigner, edge-liver, dredger of all that was ugly

and broken in the world, the ragged sax player on the corner

pumping out heart breaking jazz to the bus stop,

the indifferent traffic with windows rolled up in their oh so

precious cars, and bank clerks on the busses who

felt superior to you as the chrome beasts belched smoke.

Your reed was black with their smoke and still you

played on oblivious to their indifference, knowing in your heart

that your notes mattered, and you just didn’t give

a shit whether anyone was listening or not – you played.

I was not born with that courage or tolerance to pain.

 

I have a confession to make to you, and I hate confessions.

I believed the world about you, critics and small minds,

that you were the dirty old man who wrote about drunken

sex, vulgar roaches, ugly beaches and bars and whores

and everything that would make us awaken vomiting the horror,

and they were right, but they were so terribly wrong.

So terribly wrong. You were so tuned in, so engaged with what

the rest of us weren’t even seeing, feeling it all, like few

ever have and I thank whatever that I didn’t have to live in your

skin, or feel all of that. Feel all of that and shake.

Feel all of that and shake, the boil on your neck and the last beer

and cigar at three in the morning when no place is open.

 

You lived with a whore for ten years and loved her purely like an

Old Testament prophet, and when she finally died from

too much booze and life, you grieved for her for the rest of your life.

You wrote poems to her thirty years after she was gone,

poems that I read after you were gone, and I could feel her in them.

That is being a real man, even when you saw yourself as

a frightened child cowering in fear from the playground bullies,

those whose faces I would have broken with my hands.

Your love was so deep, so much deeper than my wicked hands,

so much deeper than Mozart, Faulkner or Freud.

You taught me something about loving people I won’t forget,

loving the broken, damaged, unlovable people.

 

I am bleeding now, my red life dripping onto the keyboard.

The cat bit me and the wound will not stop bleeding.

You loved cats, five as I recall. I don’t know what your cats

were like but mine is a ruthless killer who draws blood.

A friend of mine said, “You have to draw enough blood to

the surface that some of it comes off on the paper” – art.

Maybe that is why you loved the cats. Did they make you bleed?

Did you curse them in the night for the wounds they made?

Did you admire the purity of their cruel bloody fangs and claws?

Did you call them over to drink of your life as it spilled

onto the linoleum floor, the toaster, the sofa stained with beer?

My cat is in the alley right now because she knows I am mad.

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Wave

Wave

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Red and Green and Blue

Ride_2-20-16_5Red and Green and Blue

Red and green and blue are safely locked in my head. Night returns with disease and obsession, obsessions. I draw a line on a dirty piece of paper. There is nothing on either side but I have created a boundary. I don’t feel any safer.

He walks to the back of the house without great conviction, out the back door to look at the alley. The painkiller makes his vision flicker around the edges. Painkillers are a gift from God when they are needed, and they are needed tonight.

The red is the blood. The green is the money. The blue is the sky. I think about a bourbon. That will surely put me away. I like the sound of ice cubes hitting the lead crystal rock glass. The red is the blood, the poison river, always escaping, falling, splashing.

He doesn’t try to count the city lights. There are too many and he dislikes them all. They hide the stars. He wanders rather than walking because he has no destination in mind. He breathes a word that only he understands. He exhales it.

I touch the steel because it is blue. I touch the skin because it is red. I touch the earth because it is green, but that is all. I am unavailable. Disconnect the phone because I know the danger. A song plays in my head that I don’t like.

He lights another cigarette and inhales deeply. Smoke trickles out of his mouth and nose, slowly, erotically. The smoke curls up around his face and into his hair. He pulls an old book from the shelf. Without even looking at the title, he begins to read.

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Our Thunder over Louisville at KLOU Bowman Field, 2015

This was our Saturday, at KLOU Bowman Field. This is my home field. I live about three miles from here. You will find a significant number of flights in and out of KLOU in VAFS. "Thunder Over Louisville" is part of the Kentucky Derby Festival and it is half air show and half fireworks. We rode our bikes over to the field to watch the planes. A member of the Vintage Warbirds invited us into their hanger. It was a magical day. Here are some pics.

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Louisville Riverfront, October 18, 2014

The occasion was the 100th birthday of the Belle of Louisville

(Click on image for larger view)

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Poems from the Street: Between

Bridges

 

Between

Between
Between young and old,
black and white,
rich and poor —

Between right and left,
gay and straight,
man and woman —

Between Inside and outside,
thought and feeling,
dreaming and waking —

Between now and then,
yesterday and today,
today and tomorrow —

Between them and us,
you and me
ourselves —
We need to build more bridges.

August 19, 2014

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Stories from the Street: Wall Art Louisville

 

Open Door

 

Strawberries

 

After the storm 8

 

Skater Boy

 

24-hour Cafe

 

Sensations

 

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Marks

 

Kentucky Rushmore 2

 

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Highland Morning

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Poems from the Street: Hit and Run

Red Truck mod

 

Hit and Run

 

Hit and run by the truck

Sometimes known as my life.

Didn’t even see it coming,

didn’t stand a chance.

Karma was smeared

all over the road.

Zeitgeist was totaled.

Spiritual airbags

all deployed.

Angels rushed me to the

emergency room, but

the doctor didn’t

know what to do,

so I went home

to sleep it off.

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