American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Confessional · Contemporary · Poetry

Charles Bukowski

“i am dead but i know the dead are not like this.”

the dead can sleep
they don’t get up and rage
they don’t have a wife.

her white face
like a flower in a closed window lifts up and
looks at me.

the curtain smokes a cigarette
and a moth dies in a
freeway cash
as I examine the shadows of my
hands.

an owl, the size of a baby clock
rings for me, come on come on
it says as Jerusalem is hustled
down crotch-stained halls.

the 5 a.m. grass is nasal now
in hums of battleships and valleys
in the raped light that brings on
the fascist birds.

I put out the lamp and get in bed
beside her, she thinks I’m there
mumbles a rosy gratitude
as I stretch my legs
to coffin length
get in and swim away
from frogs and fortunes.

Charles Bukowski, Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. (Ecco June 1983) Originally published June 5th 1974.

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