Because Bukowski Asked

April 19


I get the roar sometimes, I’m telling Bukowski.

Fingers holding pen, pressing against the wart which

maybe is from writing—

pens, did you give me HPV?

(warts come from viruses, yeah, that’s nasty)

I’m nasty, I’m fire, I’m fine

and Bukowski, he doesn’t give a fuck, I know.

22 years with a body in a grave or ashes cast

He doesn’t care, He wouldn’t if he were alive


This was his message:

If you care about approval, you’re not getting it—

if you’re writing for others, you won’t get them.


He won’t give a shit but I’m still sayin

a fire is roaring

arm hair would scorch if I stayed and didn’t write. this is

for no one


There was that time a lover told me she masturbated

after reading my poem published on the Academy

and she came so hard

. Was that foreplay?

I kept my underwear on


That she was surprised by my fire

when I loosed words, held their vowel and consonant hands

marched them along, rolled and narrowed my eyes

and purred


—As if i couldn’t be a ringmaster

of my own.       No one who expected me

to be timid with my words ever knew me.


She didn’t. Bukowski, keep ignoring me



If you have to say the basics to someone, maybe it doesn’t matter

what you’d ever want to tell them

so I’ll keep it to myself.

There is a roar in me.


Do not expect complacency. I’m woken


Hey Les. For National Poetry Month, Powell’s Books is running a Poetry Madness 15 percent sale on poetry titles and a fun class superlatives contest on its website. Every few days, folks can vote on a poet for a different superlative. There are a lot of poets I don’t know so I end up researching everyone. Today’s vote was for “Most Likely to Be Caught Smoking in the Bathroom.” I’m ridiculously thoughtful with my answers. Besides thinking about who was likely to smoke in the bathroom or some similarly frowned upon activity, I thought about who would have been caught. Bukowski wasn’t my answer but I stumbled across his poem so you want to be a writer? in the process. I love it. Feeling both fierce and whimsical, I penned a quick response while at my desk. I wish words always poured from me the way Bukowski writes about, but I’m grateful for the times they do.

4 thoughts on “Because Bukowski Asked

  1. Emily Gritz: your words reflect your thoughtfulness– if I ever get to Portland, I’d take you out for coffee and a soccer game, if you were agreeable to those things, only as a way to show my respect for your talent.

    Liked by 1 person

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