Sunday, December 07, 2008

why the business traveler reads bukowski

for starters, his poems are just the right size
for a short hop flight. much better than, say,
anna karenina. in a half hour wait (not including delays)
you still feel like you've gotten somewhere
moving with him through exotic zipcodes
and several soul-crushing jobs.

i guess we're lured by the romance
of such desultory days, maybe headed to the diner
or to santa anita (where I've never been,
and wouldn't know how to go about even placing a bet
but I picture a parking lot of red dust, palms standing lonely
in the distance like desert prophets,
sun making a yoke of the horizon)
or to the corner store for an impromptu beer,
any of these preferable to waiting for the 7:35 to san jose,
another expensed cab-ride to an oatmeal conference room,
with its inoffensive art, those phones and flipcharts,
all those rehearsed handshakes you'll face.

others find nobility in his demotic concerns;
making rent, or the six horse in the fourth race,
or the egyptian eyes of the night waitress
at a diner you would never really set foot in.
me, i just like the way all those lower case letters feel
so modest and cool on my eyes, after rummaging in my bag
for the right powerwords for my presentation.

Mark Aiello