Linda King’s Bust of Charles Bukowski

If I went to see the thing in person,
could I dump some whiskey in its mouth and make it speak?
Would he offer me advice and
could we have it out behind the bar so
I could show him
that we share the same grit?

Could we get drinks
like father and son having booze
for the first time together,
and jaw on for hours about the world
and see who could say the most with the fewest words
or maybe no words at all?

Or would I be one of those he felt so alienated from?
Bored by the pain of a kid living
in an easier time with fewer struggles.

***

She made it for him
and they passed it back and forth.
It meant, “We’re done, and you can keep the fucking head.”
Of course, they were never done.

Some pieces of art get completed,
but relationships never do.
Not when they are put down on paper
or molded in clay
and detail every imperfection of complexion
and the (never) satisfied smirk.

Every time she looks at the bust
she sees him in his prime:
(Chinaski),
the drunk, the lover, the tender abuser,
who wept when he read the poem.
Living together, loving,
washing away pain;
“I’m getting this way, sentimental.”
The poet laureate of lowlife living;
the product of his time and place
who had the courage to speak about
the bluebird that lived inside of him
“and it’s nice enough to make a man weep”.

(From May 2015)

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