“Jeffers is my God.” — Charles Bukowski
When the blades of the falcon’s silhouette flash Between the bright towers of the City we rub our eyes. Pigeons squat in gutters on watch for shadows. Not the ruddy-tailed buzzard the poet lionized; Bagger of rodents, wounded birds, wayward fledglings, Squats atop Tudor cottages and unicorn castles; The brute too clumsy to thread a cypress hedge, Hover above the moor, nosedive from infinity. It being so, he snapped its wings, crucified it, prayed upon it. Too late to ask. The poet is dead and falcons Haunt the cities, bed down high on steel Cliffs, far above the mischief of raccoonery; prey Mob the bald valleys below. Looking up the canyon walls and down On the long-suffering pigeons, Wayfarers like drunken hounds, They lead me to Monsanto's bookshop But stay back by the curb and bob for crumbs. I climb the back stair to the Ginsberg room To gather paper pigeons, and against the back wall A shelf, drunk with Bukowski. I pull out an old friend and leaf through. He tells me about his god, and I go seeking through the poem-laden planks. I survey the surnames of a hundred creators. They are legion, and yet Hank’s is nowhere to be found; but eyes adapt to the darkness, and what had just been mere length gains width, depth with finer focus, and with a lover’s touch the bindings are coaxed apart, and heads turn ‘round the room as the packed spines sigh and you vanish down a dark alley, and there he is, cowering in the shadow, your wounded songbird.