“Splash” by Charles Bukowski

the illusion is that you are simply
reading this poem.
the reality is that this is
more than a
poem.
this is a beggar’s knife.
this is a tulip.
this is a soldier marching
through Madrid.
this is you on your
death bed.
this is Li Po laughing
underground.
this is not a god-damned
poem.
this is a horse asleep.
a butterfly in
your brain.
this is the devil’s
circus.
you are not reading this
on a page.
the page is reading
you.
feel it?
it’s like a cobra.
it’s a hungry eagle circling the room.

this is not a poem. poems are dull,
they make you sleep.

these words force you
to a new
madness.

you have been blessed, you have been pushed into a
blinding area of
light.

the elephant dreams
with you
now.
the curve of space
bends and
laughs.

you can die now.
you can die now as
people were meant to
die:
great,
victorious,
hearing the music,
being the music,
roaring,
roaring,
roaring.

“Splash” by Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse

2 thoughts on ““Splash” by Charles Bukowski

  1. I can so picture Bukowski writing this, sitting on a bar stool in a dingy bar where the only other patron is bitching to the bartender about money he lost on a horse that was supposed to be a “sure bet.” Bukowski’s ink-stained fingers gripping the end of one cigarette after another. He raises an empty glass and nods at the barman. Wheezing words onto pieces of paper.

    This is the kind of world where I grew up, except without the poetry. There was a lack of it in Star Lake. Funny of how this poem stirred up so much.

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    1. Oh yes! And the other patron looks over with a bit of curiosity, “whatcha writing there? A po-em? … Hey Joe, get this, baby cakes there is writing a poem! Is it a lovvvve poem? Who’s it about? …”
      “THIS IS NOT A GOD-DAMNED POEM!” Buk screams, sending his beer bottle sailing mere inches from the other barfly’s puffy face. “And you owe me another beer.”

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