Charles Bukowski/Richard Brautigan

Charles Bukowski/Richard Brautigan
Richmond, Maine

CB and RB

got into a fist fight

a real back alley, bloody knuckle brawl

empty beer cans blowing around in the watermelon sugar

CB pulled his shirt off over his pocked face

He started to weave and menace. Kid Stardust.

RB politely removed his hat and set it down

onto a clean white handkerchief,

He pulled out $3.77 in change from his pocket

set in on a rock

His braced legs like a porch on a decaying house on the hill.

CB was already out of breath, hungover, cursing

RB had already imagined the kiss that never happened.

They stood there under the moon and the sun

Above the mud and iridescent beetles

Between them, absolutely nothing.

Before anything, the two men got into a clinch.

CB said ” I can’t hit you. I can’t do it.”

RB, staring at the dirt whispered back “Oh look, our deer tracks”

A confusing darkness overtook the art

in a dive bar trying to find the narrow restroom hallway

spinning and wishing.

They both disappeared…

and now I’m left at this grimy empty peepshow

a confession booth with dead priests and whirring lost bar flies

I’m up against the glass without an impulse

I’m not free

Why didn’t they finish the fight?

Do I have to do it myself?

Where is my challenger? Is it you?

I’m picking up the empty beer cans

a useless shattered whiskey bottle held together by a wet label

and I’m at the Redemption center

cashing in.

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