Saturday, January 12, 2013


“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.


-for my grandfather

College during the Great Depression,
married with children in World War II.
and a big fan of Eisenhower, of course.

As a young boy, I didn't know he was
a look alike for a famous Republican,
but I do remember the many times when
people approached my grandfather to ask
“Hey, are you Barry Goldwater?” and he’d
reply- “No I’m not, but I did vote for him”.

He believed in hard work, a good education,
loyalty to team, taking care of your family,
and the honor of serving the community.
Saddened by Nixon, disappointed in Ford,
and pleased by the inauguration of Reagan.

And if you asked him if he ever liked a
Democrat, he’d tell you without hesitation-
“Only one, Harry S Truman, because he told
the truth and did what he thought was right
and didn't care what people said about him”.


A pool does not have sandpipers or
plovers pecking the shore for a meal.
There aren't any ghost crabs popping
out of well fashioned tunnels or caves.
The pool does not have pelicans soaring
and dive bombing into a school of fish.

It doesn't have soft white burning sand,
or cool soothing sand at the water’s edge.
No shiny rocks, sand crabs, or minnows.
At the pool, I won’t find a shell with a tiny
hole to make a fine necklace out of with a
section of white twine from a bakery box.

A pool has babies with diapers and parents
making wee-ing sounds to make it seem fun.
It has cannon balling, Marco Polo, old ladies
in floral bathing caps, hairy men attempting
Olympic style laps, stinky bleach, noisy filters,
and Rules for those who lack common sense.