the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
 
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
 
i am an unmarried mother
 
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
 
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
rebirth
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...
 

question and answer

he sat naked and drunk in a room of summer
night, running the blade of the knife
under his fingernails, smiling, thinking
of all the letters he had received
telling him that
the way he lived and wrote about
that--
it had kept them going when
all seemed
truly
hopeless.

putting the blade on the table, he
flicked it with a finger
and it whirled
in a flashing circle
under the light.

who the hell is going to save
me? he thought.

as the knife stopped spinning
the answer came:
you're going to have to
save yourself.

still smiling,
a: he lit a
cigarette
b: he poured
another
drink
c: gave the blade
another
spin.
-- Charles Bukowski from The Last Night of the Earth Poems

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