by Adrian Manning

I sit at my old typer, at a desk
in my  room.
above me is a shelf full of books
by a writer called Bukowski.
I read the titles and think to myself
if I could only come up with one line
like one of those titles
I could really have something.
there are many books and magazines,
I have not counted them,
and there are possibly more poems in them
than an army of men could produce
and they are mostly very good and
if not very good they are good.
I wish the words were like bees
humming around my head in a storm
of vibrant movement. I could possibly
catch some of them and nail them down
with a Bukowski book.
he sits in a photo, on one shelf,
in his later years, the hard work behind him,
one arm resting on his chair, the other
raised to the temple of his head
and he looks thoroughly unimpressed.
he’s telling me, work it boy, gotta keep going,
you’re nowhere near yet.
I look up at the photo
and tell him you’re right,
you son of a bitch,
you were always right.

SOURCE: “The Old Master” and other poetry about Charles Bukowski by Adrian Manning appears in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology – a collection of poetry, short stories, essays, interviews, photography, and art from authors and artists around the world — available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrian Manning writes from Leicester, England. His poetry and articles have appeared in numerous chapbooks, magazines and on-line sites around the world. He is also the editor of Concrete Meat Press and a massive fan and collector of works by Charles Bukowski.

Cover art: Mark Erickson and Birgit Zartl