I met you in the county jail.
Your honesty was something
I hadn’t heard,
not from anyone in a long long time.
You were someone I believed.
Someone who’s seen a thing or two,
even without money,
who fucked a woman or two.
You scared people with your drunkenness.
Your rancorous eyes. Youthful punch.
You got me through those ninety days of
potential sleepless nights, 
in the dorms with a hundred other men
lying about their girlfriends,
(the ones they didn’t have)
while you told the truth about your boils,
decades of unwanted virginity,
your dreadful dad and hangovers.
The Inmates asked every day:

“what you reading Jonny?”

“Nothing don’t worry about it.”

Selfishly, I didn’t introduce you to the other inmates,
to them you’d only remain a stranger,
and I wanted you all to myself.
Nobody understood your pain like I did.

At 5 am we ate breakfast,
then returned to our bunks until “quiet time” ended.
This was the time
I got to know you the best.
Why you drank so much. 
Why you hated your father, 
and didn’t like your mother. 
Why you wrote short stories about rape, 
and nobody got mad or upset, 
not like they do when I even say the
Queen Mother of Dirty Words.
And after we finished playing
Pinochle and spades,
after we finished working out
watching T.V.,
partaking in sometimes up to three fights a day,
(depending on the meals we ate,
or didn’t eat at all),
and when there were no letters for me
at mail call
you were there.
When the lights went out
and the deputies made their hourly
hoping to catch one of us “pussies”
out of our bunks,
(babysitters with handcuffs and a can of mace)
you were there.
When nobody visited me,
and when I finally received mail:
just those goddamn divorce papers,
you were there.
At my bunk
Making me laugh
Making me write
Showing me the art of
simplistic grandeur;
just like Dostoevsky

you were there, yes Buk you were always there.

**I finally revised this poem to my satisfaction (I think)

The picture is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/10345485@N07/2972878868/https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Cigarettes-Memoir-Heroin-Addict/dp/1925417689/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=jessbell-20&linkId=d6315e87633db947322feb6f6062a8bc

4 thoughts on “Bukowski

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