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  • © 2013 Sigman Shapiro All Rights Reserved

the poetry game – by Charles Bukowski

I want to share a poem that changed my life.  I know Bukowski would sneer at that statement – but it is true.  Reading this poem – with all its bitterness, its clarity, its honesty – gave me the courage to come out and share my writing.

the poetry game

the boys
are playing the poetry game
again
putting down
meaningless lines
and
passing them off as art
again.

the boys
are on the telephone
again
writing letters
again
to the publishers and
editors
telling them
who to edit and who to
publish.

the boys
know that either you
belong or you
don’t

there’s a way to do it
you see
and
only a few know how to
do it
the right way.

all the others
are out
and
if you don’t know
who’s out
or
who’s in
well
the boys
will tell you
again.

the boys
have been around a
long time:
for a couple of
centuries
at least.

and before some of
the old boys
die
they pass their wisdom on
to the younger
boys
so they can put down
meaningless lines
and
pass them off as art
again.

Charles Bukowski – The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain – 2005

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