Personnel Managers… Charles Bukowski

All the horses do not come in,

and as you watch the lights of the jails

and hospitals wink on and out,

and men handle flags as carefully as babies remember this:

you are a great gutted instrument of heart and belly, carefully planned-

so if you take a plane for Savannah,

take the best plane;

or if you eat chicken on a rock, make it a very special animal.

(You call it a bird; I call birds flowers)

And if you decide to kill somebody,

make it anybody and not somebody:

some men are made of more special, precious

parts: do not kill

if you will

a president or a King

or a man

behind a desk-

these have heavenly longitudes

enlightened attitudes.

If you decide,

take us

who stand and smoke and glower;

we are rusty with sadness and feverish

with climbing broken ladders.

Take us:

we were never children

like your children.

We do not understand love songs

like your inamorata.

Our faces are cracked linoleum,

cracked through heavy, sure feet of our masters.

We are shot through with carrot tops

and poppyseed and tilted grammar;

we waste days like mad blackbirds

and pray for alcoholic nights.

Our silk-sick human smiles wrap around us like somebody else’s confetti:

we do not even belong to the Party.

We are a scene chalked out with the sick white brush of Age.

We smoke, asleep as a dish of figs.

We smoke, dead as a fog.

Take us.

A bathtub murder

or something quick and bright; our names

in the papers

Known, at last, for a moment

to millions of careless and grape-dull eyes

that hold themselves private

to only flicker and flame

at the poor cracker-barrel jibes

of their conceited, pampered correct comedians.

Known, at last, for a moment,

as they will be known…

… We smoke and the clouds do not notice us.

A cat walks by and shakes Shakespeare off of his back.

Tallow, tallow, candle like wax: our spines

are limp and our consciousness burns

guilelessly away

the remaining wick life has

doled out to us.

An old man asked me for a cigarette

and told me his troubles

and this

is what he said:

that Age was a crime

and that Pity picked up the marbles

and that Hatred picked up the

cash.

He might have been your father

or mine.

He might have been a sex-fiend

or a saint.

But whatever he was,

he was condemned

and we stood in the sun and

smoked

and looked around

in our leisure

to see who was next in

line.

xoxo

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2 responses to “Personnel Managers… Charles Bukowski

  1. ha, funny, i just posted Freedom on my blog. i adore buke.

  2. Omg I love bukowski…. you should see the documentary on him. He was a scary looking fellow, but very honest.

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