saw this photo of
T.S. Eliot as a young man
and damn
if he didn’t look like
this fool who used to
get on my ear
all night long
on the swing shift
telling me how many times
he’d gotten laid that day
that week and
how many
he’d turned down.

saw this photo of
Ezra Pound
and damn
if he didn’t remind me of
this black guy
who I saw catch a cat
in the railroad yard
bang its head against a boxcar
kill it
skin it
in a minute and a half
he held the fur pelt up
admiring it.
this guy and Ez looked alike
except for the skin.

saw this photo of
F. Scott
and he reminded me of
this guy who told me
he used to stick his dick
through this hole
in the crapper wall
at the Y
and get a great blow job
each time.
“if you can’t see it ain’t
a woman, it don’t matter,”
he told me.
I maintained that it did
matter, somehow.

and H.L. Mencken’s photo
reminded me
of this guy they caught
who had been climbing
through the windows of houses
during the depression days
of the 30’s
radios, waffle irons, cans of
beans and so forth.
I saw the cops come get him.
it was high noon
and there were 4 or 5 cops
and they had the handcuffs
on him from behind
and the sun shone and
on the handcuffs.

the photo of D.H. Lawrence
reminded me of this
sex fiend highschool kid:
he got little girls
little boys
and then he got found out
and they took him away
only I didn’t know until
after they got him.
he was my friend
we used to play handball
against a garage door
and he seemed to talk and
act about
like anybody else.

the photo of Hemingway
I didn’t connect with
no, come to think of
it, he reminded me
of that old bum
I gave 50 cents to
the other day.
yet the head wasn’t quite
as round
but he did have the white
scraggly beard.
maybe I was only trying to
make him into Ernie.
he had long red elf-like
ears that
quivered as he spoke, very
you could see the sunlight
through them
and then he took the money
and walked away.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript