top of page

Looking for Bukowski in Palos Verdes; A Poem is the Chelsea Hotel by M.R. Mandell




Looking for Bukowski in Palos Verdes

           

 

I stumble over graves,

 

crushing flowers with my heels.

 

The sun fades into the hills,

 

gates scheduled to lock

 

at the first hint of night.

 

I scan the headstones,

 

they all look the same.

 

Rows of strangers

 

tucked under grass.

 

 

 

I am not afraid

 

as the dark settles in.

 

I feel alive surrounded

 

by ghosts, especially

 

the ones who died drinking

 

whisky as they typed.

 

I don’t mind silhouettes

 

gliding over mausoleum

 

walls, dead faces staring

 

through leaves.

 

 

 

 

I’m looking for the home

 

of his pockmarked skin,

 

and voice of a dying beast.

 

Whose words make witches cry,

 

and devils blush. They pull me

 

to my pen, haunt my poems

 

with their anthems.

 

They call me to this place,

 

perched on the peninsula’s tip.

 

To search for his simple epitaph.

 

 

Finally, I see him, resting on the ridge.

 

Alone. A space by his side,

 

waiting for his wife.

 

I kneel, wipe dust off his plaque,

 

smile as I read Don’t try

 

etched in stone.

 

I say a prayer,

 

and cry.




A Poem is the Chelsea Hotel

 

                        after Bukowski

 

 

A poem is a hotel bed,

 

with stained sheets,

 

and bras twisted under silk.

 

 

It’s the housekeeper counting

 

her tips, receptionist singing

 

the blues. It’s portraits of dead

 

 

artists glaring at strangers

 

slinking up stairs, haunted

 

eyes following them to their doors.

 

 

A poem is marble floors bruised

 

by the boots of Schuyler, Thomas,

 

Cohen, Vicious, Smith and Mapplethorpe.

 

 

It’s lyrics whispered into smoke,

 

lines scratched on envelope flaps,

 

pages crumpled in the trash,

 

chapters aborted in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A poem is face-slapping arguments

 

between lovers, poets coughing

 

up blood, blowjobs given

 

by fallen rock stars.

 

 

 

A poem is punks, pockmarked

 

and pale, shooting heroin

 

on the toilet tile. Knives thrust

 

into hearts. Fashion models

 

shivering on the roof, barefoot,

 

and alone.

Comments


bottom of page