the poem

they keep publishing poems
but it’s very doubtful what a
poem can do.

centuries of it
and we’re back to the
starting point.

like philosophy, history,
medicine, science, it
alters,
seems to lead a way
out
then falters against
changing currents and
odds.

a poem is no better than a
good can opener,
a spare tire,
or
aspirin for a
headache.

a poem isn’t much
but let me tell you
if I hadn’t gone to
it
I would be dead
or
you would be dead
or many people
would be
dead
or
if not dead
then horribly
mutilated
in one sense or
another.


still, a poem can only
be a poem.

lines like these

floating a page

burning holes into the eyes of
death

twisting the cap off of a tube
of
toothpaste

following the dog of summer
to the end of his
tongue.

huh?

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1991
Source
Original manuscript