Friday, November 12, 2010

Off the Shelf Archive - November #1

This Off the Shelf poem by 20th Century American poet Charles Bukowski  is being archived here in the main stream to make room for the next November selection, (a Depression era poem that might as well have been written this morning, entitled Advertisement for the Waldorf Astoria, by  Langston Hughes )

So here for a final read is Bukowski's visceral and excellent To The Whore Who Stole My Poems:

To The Whore Who Took My Poems

some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don't keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn't you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I'm not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won't be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there'll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much

Charles Bukowski

Illustration: Old Man in Sorrow(On the Threshold of Eternity) by Vincent Van Gogh, wikimedia commons Off the Shelf poems are selected for contrast & to highlight some of my favorite semi-obscure poets.


  1. I already commented on this. WHAT do you WANT from me??? she cried melodramatically. Ooh, I love me when I'm difficult!

    I went over and read the Langston Hughes poem. I love Langston Hughes, and I loved this poem. The line about a background for your rags, as contrasted to a background for society, was priceless. And you're right, except for the rather quaint menu, it could have been written yesterday.

  2. Sorry for the sinister repeat of Bukowski...But at least you had somewhere to comment on L.H. so I guess the system is semi-working.

    Yeah I was originally going to post his Democracy, going with the Blechhkistan theme, but this one was like reading a story in today's paper...(not that anyone does that anymore.) Immediate. I liked the line about paying for your bed with a prayer where God pulls a long face.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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