Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BUKOWSKI IN ORANGE


Ever notice how the really orange cats, the ones with the tiger stripes tend to be male? I know, this is supposed to be about the Buk. Bukowski was orange. Nothing to rhyme with that. Savior's a nuisance to live with at home as Joan Baez once said. Not that I lived with him. I was living out of my car at the time. A rusted blue VW Bug. Bukowski was crashing on a friend's couch at a farmhouse by the railroad tracks in Cotati. I was running the poetry center, trying to hide my backstory. Bukowski wanted to lasso a reading but he was always drunk on cheap red wine by 3 PM, and he stank of stale cigarettes. I was recovering from an illness and they called me a China doll, taunting me as they grabbed at me as if in jest because I was pale & wan. Little did they know I was near death's door. Anorexic. An abortion gone south. A river of blood raged in a flood tide. Redredred. The edges of the world closing in. My periphery darkened before the clamping down. And the will to live had something to do with it. But they saw my slender self as desirable. And so they, showing their stripes, grabbed at life, grabbed at me, but I was dead inside. I felt lucky to make it back outside‚ gasping for breath, I doubled over. Puking in the weeds. An orange cat frantically wove his way between my ankles as if to shackle me too. But it was a clear fall day, facing south, the sunshine cradling me. That was before Rohnert Park overran Cotati and there were still vast tracts of adobe fields and blankets of oat hay surrounding the campus. George Rohnert's seed flower beds bloomed in wide ribbons of pink and red. Waiting for the harvest, fields wrapped like a present.

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