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the names peel
like lettuce leaves
under the tip of a boot:
in a topless bar,
clad in fading orange,
a dancer teases  
and is gone.
leftover cigarette to suck on:
the only sure company  
in the morning;
senses touch, then taste  
softness, in gratitude
you have another one,
and then another.
the smell of your last lover’s shoes
teases the space between sheets  
you haven’t washed in ages
figuring they, too, will feel better
after the third round
of double whiskies.
you’ve been going to bed earlier
and waking up mid-day,
the steam from hand-washed
shirts licks your writing pad,
a few scribbled phone numbers
on bar napkins: un-
sworn witnesses testifying  
against diagnosed madness,
the need to look for another job
or love another woman.

8 Feb 06

Rated 9 (7.7) by 4 users.
Active (4): 9, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (39): 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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(80 more poems by this author)

(14 users consider this poem a favorite)

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This is so unique. I love how this flows
 — madderhatter

You have stolen all the material from my biography...kidding..this is a most excellent piece of work.
 — gingerdave

A pleasure to read, Maria.

Gritty and authentic.  Sounds like a Bukowski bio.  

No nits from me.
 — housepoppy

thanks you Jess, Gingerdave and poppy (but you've already read it), 'Factotum' is the name of a film about Bukowski, a fantastic movie ...
 — slancho

i never understood why anyone would fake drinking

it amazes me

just amazes me

 — unknown

 — slancho

Are you kidding?  If Bukowski faked his drinking, he deserves an Academy Award.

Yes Maria, but I had not read the revision!
 — housepoppy

thanks, poppy
I am glad you liked the changes, thank you for helping me with these.  I have learned much from your close readings and sensitivity to language.  Maybe you are right and we should do a poetry reading together, if we dreamt hard enough ...
I will comment on your poems in an e-mail
 — slancho

thanks for the gracious ratings to all the unknown
 — slancho

Better than a sharp stick in the eye!
 — unknown

thank you, unknown
 — slancho

I have never understood the logic of 1's here, I do not care about ratings but small people puzzle me, especially when it comes to poetry.
thank you
 — slancho

It deserves to be top-rated till a better poem is posted, and not knocked down because one reader is bored of it.
 — unknown

what makes you say that?
 — TheO1dCrow

thanks, poppy, I am touched by your backing me up

Crow, I have not read your work but when I do, I would gladly rate it as it deserves, be it a 10, I will give it a ten and enjoy re-reading it if it should stay at the top rated.  Good poetry should inspire and make them read more.  
This site is not about ratings for me, I have been about for a year now and have enjoyed plenty of constructive criticism, I would welcome any suggestions on your part
thank you
 — slancho

Just thought I should say THANK YOU again for all the wonderful feedback on this poem and for the generous ratings, I had no idea ...
I am much indebted to all the poets on this site.
 — slancho

im not here for ratings either. dont forget that.
 — TheO1dCrow

This is divine Maria, every poem you write I wish I had written!  This truly deserves top spot.  When i reach the end of your poems I always find I have been holding my breath.
 — kitkat

thanks, katie, you are always so kind.  I am glad you enjoyed this one.  Love you much.  

Crow, I have no idea what you are here for, but some constuctive criticism would probably mean more to people like me than a rating of one.  Thank you for visiting.

 — slancho

No offense intended but I really don't agree, or see what the fuss is about. I compare this to the film it takes its name from. Overblown and undermining of Bukowski. The false heroes personified...bullshit!
 — SolCarloman

this poem was inspired more by Bukowski's writings than by the movie, which I did see post facto and since I could not think of a title for this, just stuck with "factotum."  What is the fuss you are referring to ... take the poem on its face value, I am not glorifying the movie, nor trying to mimic Bukowski, but was thinking of him when I was writing.  I did not find the movie that undermining, it depends on how one looks at it I suppose and then, any movie is only a representation and thus, always already a mis-representation.

Thank you for your input
 — slancho

I love this poem.
I didn't think of bukowski at all, when I read this
and have never heard of the movie (but i like him
and will have to investigate) I just thought this was
a beautiful character piece and loved the keen
descriptions of a spent drunk drowning his memory.
It does make more sense to me now, that the title is in quotes.
 — Krttika

thanks, krttika, I am glad you enjoyed this character poem (you are quite right in your analysis).  I have already liked Bukowski but was not trying to imitate him with this, it just came out like that
Thanks again
 — slancho

*sigh* two days its been top rated and two days i still havent read it. now im stuck well held my end of the bargain. but just to show you im a nice guy, instead of just rating it a one, ill lower my rating by one point a day. this will give yall the chance to counter act me by giving this poem high ratings, assuming there is enough of you poets out there to stop me.well let the games begin.

 — TheO1dCrow


i hope this proves to be as excruciatingly exciting
as racing two raindrops down a window pane.

or as tense as a staring contest. when the eyes
begin to waver and water.

i hope there will be toilet breaks.
and boiled sweets.

because i love pointless pursuit as much as
the imagery in this poem.
 — bettalpha

 — TheO1dCrow

i have already given this poem a 10, but i sincerely wish i could give it another to counteract theo1dcrow's cruel game.
 — inutile

Inutile and bettalpha, thank you.  
I cannot stand small people, I will take this off the top rated list in a couple of days, or should I?  Let him play, this is too ridiculous to even engage with, I hope the staring contests forces him to put on some thinner-rimmed glasses that let him see beyond his nose.  People's pettiness is insulting and so unnecessary for this site.  I don't care for ratings, but absolutely cannot stand egos.  
 — slancho

don't do anything. and enjoy your 8 days
of free entertainment & [free publicity]
courtesy of crow.

[offers S & I a boiled sweet]

the orange ones are nice.
 — bettalpha

cheerios, dear, thank you
 — slancho

This amazes me, I especially love lines 20-25 :)
 — xerda

thank you, xerda, for your kind input
 — slancho

like i said my opinion was not meant to insult, however and this is where my comparrison comes from, how can a reader/viewer find glory in a drunk, or glorify the sinking spirit of the artist. for not having seen the film first your portrail is uncanny
 — SolCarloman


this is not a summary of the movie by any stretch of the imagination.  I never thought Bukowski's was a sinking spirit.  I never think of him as a drunk,  There are drunks on the streets in Lancaster, that is a different story.  If anything, what would be a spirit that is not sinking nowadays?  I do not like categories, just take things and people individually.  Bukowski drank, and smoked, and drank some more ... and had many women, and drank some more, that is a fact.  However, he is loved and admired for his talent and not because he was, what some would consider, a rebel.  I doubt five double whiskeys will yield anything good on my writing pad, but it worked for him.  I have my own ways of summoning the muses as we all do.  I do not think I am glorifying anything with this poem, it is a story indeed (so I suppose uncanny would work as a description), I do not peronally know the kind of man I am describing, I have read about him, I've been told about him, bits of pieces of several characters.  No offense taken, feel free to comment any time you want, I just wanted to clarify.  Yes, poetry is mysterious and strange, that is the beauty to it, and it does not always make sense, it is often fragmented, as is life. Read it without thinking of Bukowski.  

Thank you
 — slancho

Crowbaby, Slancho is a classy lady and a great poet. You can't take those qualities away from her. Everyone here knows that. You're pulling your own chain.

 — borntodance

It starts to seem like a ramble session after awhile. No coherence and utterly meaningless. We see the imagery, but what is the point of it? Which sense is it opening... if any?
 — unknown

it is a good poem. herd mentality can make it seem better.
 — unknown

The opening is called simile.  Read some poetry and you'll see it's a common poetic device.

Herd mentality.  Hmm.  Maria will rip me a new one if I screw up--she'll be nice about it, but she'll do it.  And I will return the favor--we'll still be friends in the morning.  Friends do not let friends write junk.  

Is Maria hot?  Are you fucking blind?

Sorry Maria.  I know you've not asked for and don't need my help.  I'd prefer to e-mail this, but for obvious reasons, people like these prefer to remain unknown.

Sweet dreams.
 — housepoppy

listen borntodance, you got no reason to worry, if i were to rate this as a 1 right now, it would still be on top. it would have less of a chance of staying on top but still on top. in fact....1!
 — TheO1dCrow

see. congrats yall win. fun no? hmm i have friends i could ask for help but...well we'll see. in the mean time enjoy your victory.
 — TheO1dCrow

thanks, pops, I am in no fighting mood these days, I am sick of smallish people
so, you do the fighting for me any time you want.  
 — slancho

Actually, I correct myself. only one comment was hideous; the others were untrue and unfair, IMO
 — unknown

thanks, last unknown, I think I know who you are
thanks for "coming out"
 — slancho

Not in the least.
 — unknown

of course not.
 — unknown

Oh anonymity:
Empower the minion;
Grant him his moment
Of imagined glory
Before you return him
To dust.
 — unknown

Thought I was logged in--not going for irony.

 — unknown

thanks, poppy, I am so sick of these games ...
 — slancho

shoes under sheets?
 — jade

alright, read it again. this is pretty solid. i really like 3-6. i don't think it fits with the second half of the stanza, though. if this were my piece, i'd separate this further into stanzas-- for example, splitting the second one between 6 and 7-- and then work on making each stanza tight as hell. this has a few too many words in some places, and it spaces out the 'omg' moments further than they have to be.

for example, lines 25-26. they say something about the poem's subject, but what are they doing there? not a lot. i think you have the talent to integrate that somewhere else, more smoothly.
 — jade

slamming piece. just so so good...
 — ilenelush

dear, Jade, thank you so much for your comments.  I have made some of the changes you suggested, deleted a couple of lines and also, spaced out the stanzas a bit.  I think your observation on the poem being a bit crammed is a correct one and I have tried to uncram it if you wish as much as possible without losing the intended sense of disorder and chaos that characterize both the character and the writing up of his day(s).

Also, ilenelush, thank you for reading
Yours very kindly,
 — slancho

love lines 33 and 34. I hope I not wrong here, but this piece is distinctly male. I sense the futility and the broken promises. you have a way with words but some of your imagery confuses me. which is a shame because overall this is really good. The lettuce and boot thing didn't work too well and the smell of shoes in the sheets confused me a little. Besides those, this seems almost there. I'd keep the lettuce but change the boots...what about something about the condition of the lettuce... limp? seems more in line with your thoughts. the smell of the sheets...what about the odor of frustration or something. I dunno, its your piece. Good luck. You have a lot of talent.
 — Trish77

this is a captivating poem with such a gripping introduction.
i find it just beautiful.
wish I could say more-
 — jenakajoffer

i remember this one! and speaking of one...

 — unknown

 — unknown

I like your view of Bukowski. The phrasology and the structure are adroit.
 — Highwayman

Very nice! in my opinion Bukowski never wrote this eloquently. Hell, if I didn't know any better I'd say you've been following me around taking footnotes of my life! ; )
 — grneyeddevil

I can't say more than whats already been said--this is a damn good poem.
 — PaulS

yes, damn good.
glad to read it again.
(hi, how are you!?)
 — jenakajoffer

good poem
 — stout

So many hot bits here. Love that comforting smoke! Is this about you? It feels like 1st person, but isn't.
 — themolly

nice piece for high school...
 — unknown

what a nice and sassy write!
 — unknown

factotum is a book bukowski wrote. the movie was made after that. a failry long while after.
 — amaviena

Excellent poem!  I've had napkins like these in my pockets on many a Sunday mornin'.  The thing I like most about this is how it's written in such a way that one can relate to it to a tee.  
 — starr

The delicate and descriptive voice of Slancho!  I never would have guessed.  I honestly thought that a middle-aged man had written this.  :-)
 — starr

Creates a perfect filthy atmosphere. This is dark.
 — BenJammin

Very interesting.  This reminds me of a semi-homeless guy I knew that would sleep in abandoned buildings until he was kicked from them.  He'd collect rain water for washing and bathing, and was still wooing women even in his grubby state.  I wasn't sure if they pitied him or if he was just that charming, I suppose now I see it could have been both.

 — Aziel

beautiful. thank you.
 — OKcomputer

Thank you all for your comments.  I have been away from the site for a while but I hope to return soon and engage your comments and poetry

By way of a short response, I wrote the poem after I saw a movie on Charles Bukowski - so very much like Aziel's homeless guy.

Yours kindly
 — slancho

And thanks for the ratings, I have not been in the top rates list for many moonths now.  A surprise indeed this morning

 — slancho


I clicked on your poem because I had just recently watched Factotum.
 — OKcomputer

"Largo al Factotum" is the name of the musical piece by Rossini that is most known for it's "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro." It's from the opera entitled, "The Barber of Seville."

I love opera.

 — Poe

makes me want to read bukowski.. I like the unexpectedness of some of the imagery, lover's shoes, beard scabs, all that peeling.. mm.
 — sazxyen

I've never seen the movie, I'll have to see it now.
 — Aziel

u have some really strong lines that go with the book and what we could only assume bukowski himself was about. ur ending really hits u which is what poems are supposed to do
 — Luxy

"broke-pocketbook mountain for suburbanites for whom the rainbow is sort of fag and men ain't shit"... this is so motionless, like you were afraid we'd start mauling you if you made too many quick moves. this passes for poetry in p.c., and that would make it ok in a certain kind of atmosphere, but not one where people liked to read.
 — joey

the last stanza is definitely the best, i wish the first few stanzas had that same voice to it
 — mishambootie

yes yes yes!
 — pahs

nice poem
 — marco

 — unknown

 — Magdala

definitely good stuff.

nothing to crit. just a flurry of compliment. love it. 9 is a rarity from me.

this gets one.
 — mould_jesus

i love bukowski.
and i love this poem.
 — sodapop



 — unknown

I like this poem.
 — Quen