it’s the way you play the game

call it love
stand it up in the failing
light
put it in a dress
pray sing beg cry laugh
turn off the lights
turn on the radio
add trimmings:
butter, raw eggs, yesterday’s
newspaper;
one new shoelace, then add
paprika, sugar, salt, pepper,
phone your drunken aunt in
Calexico;
call it love, you
skewer it good, add
cabbage and applesauce,
then heat it from the
left side,
then heat it from the right
side,
put it in a box
give it away
leave it on a doorstep
vomiting as you go
into the
hydrangea.

(Charles Bukowski)

the barometer

when i was very young
i heard it from
my parents after they
discovered a few
early stories
hidden in my room:
“THIS IS UGLY!
THIS IS SHAMEFUL!
i was finally
evicted from their
home
(which was
my first peace of good
luck).

then
after decades of
having my work
rejected
I had small bits
published
here and there
only to find many
critics totally
outraged
by my
efforts.

well, my parents
were dead
they took the place
of my

(Charles Bukowsky)