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« Hell(o) Young Losers: You, Too, Can Be Choosers [by David Lehman] | Main | An Introduction to Martin Johnston (Part 1) [by Thomas Moody] »

September 28, 2021

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“Call me Buk”
“It ain’t me Babe”

“Babe?”
“Buk!”

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan


Charles envied Bob’s regret.
Bob envied Charles’ youth.
Both envied for the sake of poetry.
Neither envied for the sake of life.

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan

They ran into each other in a nameless pub
Well isn’t that blowin’ Bob Dylan
who woos the critics with hypocritical subtleties,
Says Bukowski who writes his ass off to plead to readers
—a discordance with your gross and barbaric imagery.
The two men’s pride were hurt
and their table more and more crowded with empty glasses
When hours passed and someone walked over to them
he found two vulnerable babies asleep, y’all embracing their bodies stenched in beer and LSD.

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan

One writes about the unimportant,
One sings about the enlightenment.

One lives to be the spotlight,
One chooses to be the shadow.

One braves the current,
One lets it carry him away.

But as white keys and black keys never fight,
They together play the full scale, weaving the world into words.

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan

March 19, 1962
Marked my debut
Celebrating with a drink
or maybe a few
Suddenly I hear a bell ring
Or was that a glass clink?
Grudgingly I check
and what the heck
Some old dude
is drinking my booze
He’s throwing letters, making a mess
This isn't even the correct address
I’m definitely reporting this mailman from USPS

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan

Chianti flowed in the streets
Wolfgang Pauli burst into flames
Nothing to see here—
Keep on truckin’
Two riders were approaching
Riders on the storm
Hey—get outta here
Morrison! There’s only
Room enough in this
Town for two enormous
Poets and one enormous
Room and the wind
Began to howl

(corrected)

When Charles Bukowski Met Bob Dylan

Chianti flowed in the streets
Wolfgang Pauli burst into flames
Nothing to see here—
Keep on truckin’
Two riders were approaching
Riders on the storm
Into this house we're
Hey—get outta here
Morrison! There’s only
Room enough in this
Town for two enormous
Poets and one enormous
Room and the wind
Began to howl

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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