After the Burn


Bukowski met a Dutchman
at a Philly bar in the 40’s.
The seventy-something sat
with a straight, broad back
and cracked three raw eggs
into each pint he drank.

Bukowski, a frail, twenty-something
virgin, felt afraid in the Dutchman’s
presence, this seventy-something,
still strong, a working man,
a dying breed, although immortal
now, thanks to the sickly little
man with a funny name. The difference
between each like that of starvation
and anorexia, one true, the other contrived.

It don’t matter
what it is,
whether fear or desire,
or absence,
as long as it’s real,
the flame that is.

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