::Literate Blather::
Friday, September 14, 2007
Poem: The Great Drunken Poet

By: Raymond King Shurtz

I am standing in front
of the house on Edgewater Terrace,
high on speed,
screaming at the ghost of a poet,
watching him vomit in the front yard ivy.

The chaos is breaking out amongst
the meat puppet muses
in the house I call home—
I’m rushing towards that
gorgeous poetic image
that the whole world is waiting for.

I walk in the house,
past John Bennett,
past my Aunt Linda,
past my Mother,
past half the worthless
drunken word shepherds in L.A.

Past the drunken actors,
past the stoned painters,
past the posers in gauze shirts,
finally, past Bukowski himself,
trying to hold court from a blackout.

He lets out a howl, says, “Where ya’ goin’ Kid?”
“Up to my room, Hank,” I say,
“Where you going, to NASA?”
He stares at me for a moment,
trying to gage if my intent is funny or folly,
I don’t give him a chance,
I’m off to my room,
to the roof to smoke a joint.

The gray dome of LA looms above my head
I’m in seventeen-year-old angst—
cursing all poets,
cursing all writers,
cursing all the sons and daughters of writers.

I yell at the smog,
it is blocking my way to the stars,
I yell at the moon
it hasn’t a face,
I yell at God
because he left town after the earthquake of 1971.

I hear the voices of my Aunt Linda
and Mother downstairs,
laughing at the wit of the great drunken poet,
like shills charming up the great joke--
it spills across the room like a brush fire.
The room burns up,
I hear the devil beckoning me to suicide—
I hear the great emptiness of the silver lakes—
I hear the roar of all the lost young souls on rooftops.

I smoke another joint,
I am beginning to hallucinate,
the voices downstairs seem comical now—
the poets are all Saturday morning cartoons,
I walk down to see the show.

I go to the fridge to get a beer,
the great drunken poet meets me—
my hand reaches for the writing fuel,
He says to me,
“Have a Schlitz, Kid, just don’t tell your Mother I gave it to you.”
I want to say,
“Thank you great drunken poet!,
thank you for giving me what young poets in training need!”
I don’t... I don’t say anything,
instead, I laugh at the great drunken poet’s wit,
like everyone else--ashamed of all of us.

I go back up to the roof for another joint,

I'm sobbing,

I'm shaking,

I'm looking for
the way down from the speed,
I'm looking for
the way back to God,
the way back to my lost childhood,
I'm looking for
the way to death,
the way through the smog,
I'm looking for
the way to my high school graduation,
the way to satisfy this great emptiness,
I'm looking for
the way to Paradise,
the way to find some fucking courage--

the way to find some fucking courage!
It's screaming, I'm screaming--
everyone is screaming! I'm... I'm screaming.
No, I'm only sobbing.
I'm only sobbing.

Emptied out.

I'm looking for
the way--

I'm looking for the way far away from great drunken poets.

(This is Raymond's second poem at DaRK PaRTY. Yes, he really knew Author and Poet Charles Bukowski and, yes, he called Buk "Hank" and Buk called him "Kid." Raymond directs the theater and film program at Metro Arts Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Raymond has been working in the theater and film business for 20 years. His plays are published by Samuel French and Anchorage Press. He also designs, acts, directs, teaches and writes, and was most currently awarded the Arizona Commission on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship in 2003.)

Read Raymond King Shurtz's poem "Stars Get in the Way of Things" here

Read our 5 Questions Interview about Charles Bukowski here

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Anonymous Gerry Hitt said...
I was there that night and I remember being constantly worried about Raymond, my son, who seemed to be self destructing with drugs and alcohol. Influenced by my Mormon background and an alcoholic father I vowed never to drink or smoke. I thought Bukowski was a father figure to my sister Linda only a lot more creative than our own drunken cowboy dad. He was wild like the cowboys. The room shook when he entered it the first time I ever saw him at The Bridge, a poetry hole with couches yet. There was a roar and then there was Bukowski. My sister Linda King (not his wife) was very impressed. Gerry King Hitt

Blogger GFS3 said...
Thanks for the wonderful story Gerry. We're certainly glad to have your son's poetry featured at DaRK PaRTY and you're welcome anytime.

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