“What matters most is how well
you walk through the fire.”- Charles Bukowski
Mention your name and they smirk, grunt, or groan.
They say that all your poetry is about getting drunk,
getting naked, getting arrested or all of the above.
Dirty old man addicted to whores, whiskey, horse races.
But I know you better than that. I've read your books,
took the time to find out about you and when I heard you
explain how hateful your father was as you took the film crew
to your boyhood home, into the hallway by the bathroom,
I cried as you, in your sixties held back your tears describing
how he whipped you with a strap, all his anger put on you.
What he left on your heart, what you felt your entire life.
To be degraded, belittled, insulted. It stays with you forever.
And when I picked up your book from the shelf one night,
I felt your pain, your suffering. I consumed your poems,
your books, the films. I wanted to find out everything
about you. Your work turned me to the poetry of others.
I wrote too, I never stopped and I walked through the fire.