Image
fame
by Charles Bukowski 

some want it, I don’t want it, I
want to do whatever it is I do
and just do it.
I don’t want to look into the
adulating eye,
shake the sweating
palm.
I think that whatever I do
is my business.
I do it because if I don’t
I’m finished.
I’m selfish:
I do it for myself
to save what is left of
myself.
and when I am
approached as
hero or
half-god or
guru
I refuse to accept
that.
I don’t want their
congratulations,
their worship
their companionship.
 
I may have half-a-
million readers,
a million,
two million.
I don’t care.
I write the word
how I havee to write it.
 
and, in the
beginning,
when there were no
readers
I wrote the word
as I needed to write the
word
and if all
the half-million,
the million,
the two million,
disappear
I will continue to
write the
word
as I always have.
 
the reader is an
afterthought,
the placenta,
an accident,
and any writer who
believes otherwise
is a bigger fool than
his
following.

“fame” appears in Open All Night: New Poems (Black Sparrow Press, 2002), available at Amazon.com.

Portrait of Charles Bukowski by Jeff Morgan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This image and other portraits of Charles Bukowski by Jeff Morgan and other artists will appear in the Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY, available in August 2013.