Now The Professors…

now the professors come with their little 6 packs of
beer and sit on my couch and talk
Literature.

“Bukowski,” the professors tell me, “you get
this total sense of Realism into your
work.”

“uh,” I say,
“huh.”

it was not Moyamensing Prison
it was not
not being in the War–anyone of them–
it was not the railroad track gangs
the slaughterhouses
it was not the whores and the Literature and the
Poesey which
killed me, it was not the
landladies
it was not the fine ladies who never fucked me because I was a
bum, it was not all the bad and cheap
wine, it was
nothing–
I was neither Villon getting his ass kicked out of Paris
forever
nor was I Crane jumping into boat propellor and/or
shark’s mouth

it was not
sitting behind dark ripped shades
pulled down for
weeks
months
years
afraid of the landlady’s footstep–
death was nothing–
while going deep into my head
being more and more startled by the world and
the world’s people.
more cheap wine:   I was a
joke, a dirty
one.

nothing has changed; it doesn’t matter but
now the professors come with their little 6 packs of
beer.   and sometimes I am lucky–once
one came along while I had the
Asian Flu.
he had a little 6 pack
smiled
uttered the magic
word:
“Bukowski?”

“yeh,” I said, “got the Asian Flu, don’t get
too close.”

“ooh.   what’ll I do with the
beer?”

“I’ll take
it.”

I took the beer while he stood there under my rented
court light
autographing his latest
expensive
hardbound
privately-printed.

the poems I knew
about–I didn’t have to read
them.   I put the book in with all the others like
that. I had a bookcase full of
them.

the beer?

it could have been
better.

I drank it
anyhow.