Charles Bukowski |
I cut the middle fingernail of the middle
and I began rubbing along her ****
as she sat upright in bed
spreading lotion over her arms
then she lit a cigarette:
"don't let this put you off,"
an smoked and continued to rub
the lotion on.
I continued to rub the ****.
"You want an apple?" I asked.
"sure, she said, "you got one?"
but I got to her-
she began to twist
then she rolled on her side,
she was getting wet and open
like a flower in the rain.
then she rolled on her stomach
and her most beautiful ***
looked up at me
and I reached under and got the
she reached around and got my
cock, she rolled and twisted,
my face falling into the mass
of red hair that overflowed
from her head
and my flattened cock entered
into the miracle.
later we joked about the lotion
and the cigarette and the apple.
then I went out and got some chicken
and shrimp and french fries and buns
and mashed potatoes and gravy and
cole slaw,and we ate.
she told me
how good she felt and I told her
how good I felt and we
ate the chicken and the shrimp and the
french fries and the buns and the
mashed potatoes and the gravy and
the cole slaw too.
Robert William Service |
'Twas in the bleary middle of the hard-boiled Arctic night,
I was lonesome as a loon, so if you can,
Imagine my emotions of amazement and delight
When I bumped into that Missionary Man.
He was lying lost and dying in the moon's unholy leer,
And frozen from his toes to finger-tips'
The famished wolf-pack ringed him; but he didn't seem to fear,
As he pressed his ice-bond Bible to his lips.
'Twas the limit of my trap-line, with the cabin miles away,
And every step was like a stab of pain;
But I packed him like a baby, and I nursed him night and day,
Till I got him back to health and strength again.
So there we were, benighted in the shadow of the Pole,
And he might have proved a priceless little pard,
If he hadn't got to worrying about my blessed soul,
And a-quotin' me his Bible by the yard.
Now there was I, a husky guy, whose god was Nicotine,
With a "coffin-nail" a fixture in my mug;
I rolled them in the pages of a pulpwood magazine,
And hacked them with my jack-knife from the plug.
For, Oh to know the bliss and glow that good tobacco means,
Just live among the everlasting ice .
So judge my horror when I found my stock of magazines
Was chewed into a chowder by the mice.
A woeful week went by and not a single pill I had,
Me that would smoke my forty in a day;
I sighed, I swore, I strode the floor; I felt I would go mad:
The gospel-plugger watched me with dismay.
My brow was wet, my teeth were set, my nerves were rasping raw;
And yet that preacher couldn't understand:
So with despair I wrestled there - when suddenly I saw
The volume he was holding in his hand.
Then something snapped inside my brain, and with an evil start
The wolf-man in me woke to rabid rage.
"I saved your lousy life," says I; "so show you have a heart,
And tear me out a solitary page.
He shrank and shrivelled at my words; his face went pewter white;
'Twas just as if I'd handed him a blow:
And then .
and then he seemed to swell, and grow to Heaven's height,
And in a voice that rang he answered: "No!"
I grabbed my loaded rifle and I jabbed it to his chest:
"Come on, you shrimp, give me that Book," says I.
Well sir, he was a parson, but he stacked up with the best,
And for grit I got to hand it to the guy.
"If I should let you desecrate this Holy Word," he said,
"My soul would be eternally accurst;
So go on, Bill, I'm ready.
You can pump me full of lead
And take it, but - you've got to kill me first.
Now I'm no foul assassin, though I'm full of sinful ways,
And I knew right there the fellow had me beat;
For I felt a yellow mongrel in the glory of his gaze,
And I flung my foolish firearm at his feet,
Then wearily I turned away, and dropped upon my bunk,
And there I lay and blubbered like a kid.
"Forgive me, pard," says I at last, "for acting like a skunk,
But hide the blasted rifle.
" Which he did.
And he also hid his Bible, which was maybe just as well,
For the sight of all that paper gave me pain;
And there were crimson moments when I felt I'd o to hell
To have a single cigarette again.
And so I lay day after day, and brooded dark and deep,
Until one night I thought I'd end it all;
Then rough I roused the preacher, where he stretched pretending sleep,
With his map of horror turned towards the wall.
"See here, my pious pal," says I, "I've stood it long enough.
Behold! I've mixed some strychnine in a cup;
Enough to kill a dozen men - believe me it's no bluff;
Now watch me, for I'm gonna drink it up.
You've seen me bludgeoned by despair through bitter days and nights,
And now you'll see me squirming as I die.
You're not to blame, you've played the game according to your lights.
But how would Christ have played it? - Well, good-bye.
With that I raised the deadly drink and laid it to my lips,
But he was on me with a tiger-bound;
And as we locked and reeled and rocked with wild and wicked grips,
The poison cup went crashing to the ground.
"Don't do it, Bill," he madly shrieked.
"Maybe I acted wrong.
See, here's my Bible - use it as you will;
But promise me - you'll read a little as you go along.
You do! Then take it, Brother; smoke your fill.
And so I did.
I smoked and smoked from Genesis to Job,
And as I smoked I read each blessed word;
While in the shadow of his bunk I heard him sigh and sob,
And then .
a most peculiar thing occurred.
I got to reading more and more, and smoking less and less,
Till just about the day his heart was broke,
Says I: "Here, take it back, me lad.
I've had enough I guess.
Your paper makes a mighty rotten smoke.
So then and there with plea and prayer he wrestled for my soul,
And I was racked and ravaged by regrets.
But God was good, for lo! next day there came the police patrol,
With paper for a thousand cigarettes.
So now I'm called Salvation Bill; I teach the Living Law,
And Bally-hoo the Bible with the best;
And if a guy won't listen - why, I sock him on the jaw,
And preach the Gospel sitting on his chest.
Li-Young Lee |
I've pulled the last of the year's young onions.
The garden is bare now.
The ground is cold,
brown and old.
What is left of the day flames
in the maples at the corner of my
I turn, a cardinal vanishes.
By the cellar door, I wash the onions,
then drink from the icy metal spigot.
Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears.
I can't recall
We may have strolled in silence.
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear.
In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.
It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees.
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.
White rice steaming, almost done.
Sweet green peas
fried in onions.
Shrimp braised in sesame
oil and garlic.
And my own loneliness.
What more could I, a young man, want.
Credit: Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee.
Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Larry Levis |
There are places where the eye can starve,
But not here.
Here, for example, is
The Piazza Navona, & here is his narrow room
Overlooking the Steps & the crowds of sunbathing
And here is the Protestant Cemetery
Where Keats & Joseph Severn join hands
Forever under a little shawl of grass
And where Keats's name isn't even on
His gravestone, because it is on Severn's,
And Joseph Severn's infant son is buried
Two modest, grassy steps behind them both.
But you'd have to know the story--how bedridden
Keats wanted the inscription to be
Simple, & unbearable: "Here lies one
Whose name is writ in water.
" On a warm day,
I stood here with my two oldest friends.
I thought, then, that the three of us would be
Indissoluble at the end, & also that
We would all die, of course.
And not die.
And maybe we should have joined hands at that
All we did was follow
A lame man in a rumpled suit who climbed
A slight incline of graves blurring into
The passing marble of other graves to visit
The vacant home of whatever is not left
Of Shelley & Trelawney.
That walk uphill must
Be hard if you can't walk.
At the top, the man
Wheezed for breath; sweat beaded his face,
And his wife wore a look of concern so
Habitual it seemed more like the way
Our bodies, someday, will have to wear stone.
Later that night, the three of us strolled,
Our arms around each other, through the Via
Del Corso & toward the Piazza di Espagna
As each street grew quieter until
Finally we heard nothing at the end
Except the occasional scrape of our own steps,
And so said good-bye.
Among such friends,
Who never allowed anything, still alive,
To die, I'd almost forgotten that what
Most people leave behind them disappears.
Three days later, staying alone in a cheap
Hotel in Naples, I noticed a child's smeared
Fingerprint on a bannister.
Had been indifferently preserved beneath
A patina of varnish applied, I guessed, after
The last war.
It seemed I could almost hear
His shout, years later, on that street.
Is speculation, & no doubt the simplest fact
Could shame me.
Perhaps the child was from
Calabria, & went back to it with
A mother who failed to find work, & perhaps
The child died there, twenty years ago,
It was so common then--
The children crying to the doctors for quinine.
And to the tourists, who looked like doctors, for quinine.
It was so common you did not expect an aria,
And not much on a gravestone, either--although
His name is on it, & weathered stone still wears
His name--not the way a girl might wear
The too large, faded blue workshirt of
A lover as she walks thoughtfully through
The Via Fratelli to buy bread, shrimp,
And wine for the evening meal with candles &
The laughter of her friends, & later the sweet
Enkindling of desire; but something else, something
Cut simply in stone by hand & meant to last
Because of the way a name, any name,
And not empty.
And almost enough.
Ogden Nash |
A shrimp who sought his lady shrimp
Could catch no glimpse
Not even a glimp.
At times, translucence
Is rather a nuisance.
Marriott Edgar |
On the banks of the Mersey, o'er on Cheshire side,
Lies Runcorn that's best known to fame
By Transporter Bridge as takes folks over t'stream,
Or else brings them back across same.
In days afore Transporter Bridge were put up,
A ferryboat lay in the slip,
And old Ted the boatman would row folks across
At per tuppence per person per trip.
Now Runcorn lay over on one side of stream,
And Widnes on t'other side stood,
And, as nobody wanted to go either place,
Well, the trade wasn't any too good.
One evening, to Ted's superlative surprise,
Three customers came into view:
A Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom it were,
And Albert, their little son, too.
"How much for the three?" Mr Ramsbottom asked,
As his hand to his pocket did dip.
Ted said: "Same for three as it would be for one,
Per tuppence per person per trip.
"You're not charging tuppence for that little lad?"
Said Mother, her eyes flashing wild.
"Per tuppence per person per trip", answered Ted,
"Per woman, per man, or per child".
"Fivepence for three, that's the most that I'll pay",
Said Father, "Don't waste time in talk".
"Per tuppence per person per trip", answered Ted,
"And them, as can't pay, 'as to walk!"
"We can walk, an' all", said Father.
It's none so deep, weather's quite mild".
So into the water the three of them stepped:
The father, the mother, the child.
The further they paddled, the deeper it got,
But they wouldn't give in, once begun.
In the spirit that's made Lancashire what she is,
They'd sooner be drownded than done.
Very soon, the old people were up to their necks,
And the little lad clean out of sight.
Said Father: "Where's Albert?" And Mother replied:
"I've got hold of his hand, he's all right!"
Well, just at that moment, Pa got an idea
And, floundering back to old Ted, He said:
"We've walked half-way.
Come, tak' us the rest
For half-price -- that's a penny a head.
But Ted wasn't standing for none of that there,
And, making an obstinate lip,
"Per tuppence per person per trip", Ted replied,
"Per trip, or per part of per trip".
"All right, then", said Father, "let me tak' the boat,
And I'll pick up the others half-way.
I'll row them across, and I'll bring the boat back,
And thruppence in t'bargain I'll pay".
T'were money for nothing.
Ted answered: "Right-ho",
And Father got hold of the sculls.
With the sharp end of boat towards middle of stream,
He were there in a couple of pulls.
He got Mother out -- it were rather a job,
With the water, she weighed half a ton --
Then, pushing the oar down the side of the boat,
Started fishing around for his son.
When poor little Albert came up to the top,
His collars were soggy and limp.
And, with holding his breath at the bottom so long,
His face were as red as a shrimp.
Pa took them across, and he brought the boat back,
And he said to old Ted on the slip:
"Wilt' row me across by me'sen?" Ted said:
"Aye, at per tuppence per person per trip".
When they got t'other side, Father laughed fit to bust.
He'd got best of bargain, you see.
He'd worked it all out, and he'd got his own way,
And he'd paid nobbut fivepence for three!
Marriott Edgar |
I'll tell of the Magna Charter
As were signed at the Barons' command
On Runningmead Island in t' middle of t' Thames
By King John, as were known as "Lack Land.
Some say it were wrong of the Barons
Their will on the King so to thrust,
But you'll see if you look at both sides of the case
That they had to do something, or bust.
For John, from the moment they crowned him,
Started acting so cunning and sly,
Being King, of course, he couldn't do wrong,
But, by gum, he'd a proper good try.
He squandered the ratepayers' money,
All their cattle and corn did he take,
'Til there wasn't a morsel of bread in the land,
And folk had to manage on cake.
The way he behaved to young Arthur
Went to show as his feelings was bad;
He tried to get Hubert to poke out his eyes,
Which is no way to treat a young lad.
It were all right him being a tyrant
To vassals and folks of that class,
But he tried on his tricks with the Barons an' all,
And that's where he made a 'faux pas'.
He started bombarding their castles,
And burning them over their head,
'Til there wasn't enough castles left to go round,
And they had to sleep six in a bed.
So they went to the King in a body,
And their spokesman, Fitzwalter by name,
He opened the 'ole in his 'elmet and said,
Conciliatory like, " What's the game?"
The King starts to shilly and shally,
He sits and he haws and he hums,
'Til the Barons in rage started gnashing their teeth,
And them with no teeth gnashed their gums
Said Fitz, through the 'ole in his 'elmet,
"It was you as put us in this plight.
And the King having nothing to say to this, murmured
"Leave your address and I'll write".
This angered the gallant Fitzwalter;
He stamped on the floor with his foot,
And were starting to give John a rare ticking off,
When the 'ole in his 'elmet fell shut.
"We'll get him a Magna Charter,"
Said Fitz when his face he had freed;
Said the Barons "That's right and if one's not enough,
Get a couple and happen they'll breed.
So they set about making a Charter,
When at finish they'd got it drawn up,
It looked like a paper on cattle disease,
Or the entries for t' Waterloo Cup.
Next day, King John, all unsuspecting,
And having the afternoon free,
To Runningmead Island had taken a boat,
And were having some shrimps for his tea.
He'd just pulled the 'ead off a big 'un,
And were pinching its tail with his thumb,
When up came a barge load of Barons, who said,
"We thought you'd be here so we've come"
When they told him they'd brought Magna Charter,
The King seemed to go kind of limp,
But minding his manners he took off his hat
And said " Thanks very much, have a shrimp.
" You'd best sign at once," said Fitzwalter,
" If you don't, I'll tell thee for a start
The next coronation will happen quite soon,
And you won't be there to take part.
So they spread Charter out on t' tea table,
And John signed his name like a lamb,
His writing in places was sticky and thick
Through dipping his pen in the jam.
And it's through that there Magna Charter,
As were signed by the Barons of old,
That in England to-day we can do what we like,
So long as we do what we're told.
Eliza Cook |
HE crawls to the cliff and plays on a brink
Where every eye but his own would shrink;
No music he hears but the billow’s noise,
And shells and weeds are his only toys.
No lullaby can the mother find
To sing him to rest like the moaning wind;
And the louder it wails and the fiercer it sweeps,
The deeper he breathes and the sounder he sleeps.
And now his wandering feet can reach
The rugged tracks of the desolate beach;
Creeping about like a Triton imp,
To find the haunts of the crab and shrimp.
He clings, with none to guide or help,
To the furthest ridge of slippery kelp;
And his bold heart glows while he stands and mocks
The seamew’s cry on the jutting rocks.
Few years have wan’d—and now he stands
Bareheaded on the shelving sands.
A boat is moor’d, but his young hands cope
Right well with the twisted cable rope;
He frees the craft, she kisses the tide;
The boy has climb’d her beaten side:
She drifts—she floats—he shouts with glee;
His soul hath claim’d its right on the sea.
’T is vain to tell him the howling breath
Rides over the waters with wreck and death:
He ’ll say there ’s more of fear and pain
On the plague-ridden earth than the storm-lash’d main.
’T would be as wise to spend thy power
In trying to lure the bee from the flower,
The lark from the sky, or the worm from the grave,
As in weaning the Sea-Child from the wave.
Ezra Pound |
For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.
Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.
Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light
Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water closts as with cold.
And at San Yin
they are a people of leisure.
Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,
A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the South sky line.
State by creating riches shd.
thereby get into debt?
This is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
Though the old king built it for pleasure
K E I M E N R A N K E I
K I U M A N M A N K E I
JITSU GETSU K O K W A
T A N FUKU T A N K A I
Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?
The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.
Robert William Service |
In the Northland there were three
Pukka Pliers of the pen;
Two of them had Fame in fee
And were loud and lusty men;
By them like a shrimp was I -
Yet alas! they had to die.
Jack was genius through and through.
Who his future could foretell?
What we sweated blood to do
He would deem a bagatelle.
Yet in youth he had to die,
And an ancient man am I.
Rex was rugged as an oak;
Story-teller born was he.
First of writing, fighting folk,
How he lived prodigiously!
Better man he was than I,
Yet forlorn he had to die.
Jack was made of god-like stuff,
Born to battle for the right;
Rex of fighting had enough
When the gods destroyed his sight .
Craven heart - I wonder why
Lingering alone am I?
They were men of valiant breed,
Fit and fearless in the fight,
Who in every thought and deed
Burned the flame of life too bright.
Cowards live, while heroes die .
They have gone and - here am I.