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Next month is National Poetry Month, and I had the chance to talk with one of our English profs yesterday about poetry. (Working in marketing for a community college, one of my duties is to contribute to our quarterly College magazine. I love it.)

It was a short interview, and when I left, she said one of the best things a journalist can hear: “Well, that was fun!” We talked about poetry–specifically, what are some tips to make poetry interesting for those who don’t read it?

One suggestion: Start with contemporary poets and then work into the oldies. She name-dropped Charles Bukowski, one of my favorites, which made me go off in search of some good Bukowski to perhaps sample in the story.

If you’ve ever read Bukowski, you know he is probably not the most … we’ll say “appropriate” material for a College magazine. (Part of why I love him.) But in my Bukowski reading, I stumbled across a poem that made me tear up with happy. And luckily, I don’t have to worry about offending anyone here, in my space. (One of the best reasons to keep a personal blog.)

(The bolding is my own, just to share my favorite portions.)

cows in Art Class

good weather
is like
good women–
it doesn’t always happen
and when it does
it doesn’t
always last.
man is
more stable:
if he’s bad
there’s more chance
he’ll stay that way,
or if he’s good
he might hang
but a woman
is changed
the moon
the absence or
presence of sun
or good times.
a woman must be nursed
into subsistence
by love
here a man can become
by being hated.

I am drinking tonight in Spangler’s Bar
and I remember the cows
I once painted in Art class
and they looked good
they looked better than anything
in here. I am drinking in Spangler’s Bar
wondering which to love and which
to hate, but the rules are gone:
I love and hate only
they stand outside me
like an orange dropped from the table
and rolling away; it’s what I’ve got to
kill myself or
love myself?
which is the treason?
where’s the information
coming from?

books . . . like broken glass:
I w’dn’t wipe my ass with ’em
yet, it’s getting
darker, see?

(we drink here and speak to
each other and
seem knowing.)

buy the cow with the biggest
buy the cow with the biggest

present arms.

the bartender slides me a beer
it runs down the bar
like an Olympic sprinter
and the pair of pliers that is my hand
stops it, lifts it,
golden piss of dull temptation,
I drink and
stand there
the weather bad for cows
but my brush is ready
to stroke up
the green grass straw eye
sadness takes me all over
and I drink the beer straight down
order a shot
to give me the guts and the love to