Remembering Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski died sixteen years ago today, March 9.  Just a few years before his death, the hyperprolific Buk sent a startup literary journal a small bundle of poems—and a friendly warning, of sorts.  In honor of his memory, we here atSycamore Review have decided to open up the archives and share with you one of those poems, as well as its accompanying “letter to the editor.”  We’re pretty sure that’s a doodle of a “good doggie,” but extra marks to anyone with a more creative interpretation.  Here’s the poem “One More Day,” first published nearly twenty years ago in issue 3.2

ONE MORE DAY

the slippery summer sun of my youth is
gone
and the mad girls are in others’ hands
as I drive my car to the wash
and watch the boys dry it to a hearty
glisten
I stand there
having learned some tricks
out of minor courage and lucky
durability
I still realize my vast vincibility.
it took time to realize
something quite not
realized.
too much time.
time shot apart: bang.

I walk to my car,
tip the gentleman a dollar,
get in,
the slippery sun of my youth
gone,
I drive off,
turn left,
turn right.
I am going somewhere.
hands on the wheel.
checking the rear view mirror.

I am old game for the oldest
hunter.

I stop at the red light.

it’s a fair day among the
living.
the earth has been here for
such a very long
time.

I get the green and go
on.

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CHARLES BUKOWSKI was a poet, novelist and playwright famous for his gritty, black humor-laden depictions of working class life, substance abuse and the underbelly of his hometown, Los Angeles.  The author of seven novels, multiple short story collections and more than two dozen books of poetry, Bukowski has also had several of his novels and story collections adapted to film, most recently 2005′s Factotum.  In 2006, the author’s wife, Linda, donated his literary archive to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.