Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Words That Haunt Me

The Telephone (No. 1)

The Telephone (No. 1). Sean Duggan, photographer. Used with permission.

When I was living in San Francisco in 1976, I had a broadside of this poem by Charles Bukowski. I haven't seen the broadside in years, but the poem has always stayed with me.


I get many phone calls now.
They are all alike.
"are you Charles Bukowski,
the writer?"
"yes," I tell them.
and they tell me
that they understand my
and some of them are writers
or want to be writers
and they have dull and
horrible jobs
and they can't face the room
the apartment
the walls
that night --they want somebody to talk
and they can't believe
that I can't help them
that I don't know the words.
they can't believe
that often now
I double up in my room
grab my gut
and say "Jesus Jesus Jesus, not
they can't believe
the streets
the loneliness
the walls
are mine too.
and when I hang up the phone
they think I have held back my

I don't write out of
when the phone rings
I too would like to hear words
that might ease
some of this.

that's why my number's

--Charles Bukowski

I found out about A Day of Sharing Words a little too late to participate. I liked the idea so much that this is my contribution.

1 comment:

Colette said...

Hi Mary. I love the song you are so beautiful. Lovely to be bathed in it as I read at your blog.

I like the words you shared and the telephone too.