SINGLE MALT POEMS

BAD NIGHT AT BUKOWSKIS

Last time in Vancouver my daughter and I went to a café called Bukowskis because they have an open mike Tuesday night and I figured any place with that name would be filled by genuine and interesting people. I brought some stuff to read and was listed following several single bards and a group headed to represent this fair city in something called the National Poetry Slam, a really big event, they said, unfolding somewhere south of the border. I dont know what it was. Maybe Im too old, or they were too young, but anyway the single readers were flat and vain, and the slam team were the stuffed selfimportant hangovers Bukowski really hated. The leader came on as this fat bearded guy, with beret of course, who huffed out cholesterol clouds lifted by ununderstandable flatulence, followed by the tall skinny woman with nothing but her own pain, then a guy trying to rap and play some strange Eastern European instrument, and finally two hairy zombies in blue jeans who I forget completely. People get awfully conceited and terribly mushmouthed when they think they can lay down the word, especially when other untalenteds stand around applauding and backslapping each others pointless efforts instead of putting out at least a few good honest thoughts the way Vancouvers old-time handful of genuine types like Birney and Purdy used to do. Its almost pointless to point out Bukowski would either drink himself into a blur or head for the track if forced to watch this circus of phonies prancing around abusing his name. A loudmouthed lush trying to steal his bottle would have commanded considerably more respect than these slam imbeciles. Bukowski learned early to keep clear from the professors, bosses and so-called poets. His sources were himself plus minimal contact with hookers, madmen and the doomed. Unfortunately this crew could never understand or admit such fine intelligence. So it was a crap time; an evening for an early exit, another failure in the search for the real killers.

Tokyo Wed 02/05/03