Memory by Charles Bukowski

I’ve memorized all the fish in the sea

I’ve memorized each opportunity strangled


I remember awakening one morning

and finding everything smeared with the color of

forgotten love

and I’ve memorized

that too.

I’ve memorized green rooms in

St. Louis and New Orleans

where I wept because I knew that by myself I

could not overcome

the terror of them and it.

I’ve memorized all the unfaithful years

(and the faithful ones too)

I’ve memorized each cigarette that I’ve rolled.

I’ve memorized Beethoven and New York City

I’ve memorized

riding up escalators, I’ve memorized

Chicago and cottage cheese, and the mouths of

some of the ladies and the legs of

some of the ladies

I’ve known

and the way the rain came down hard.

I’ve memorized the face of my father in his coffin,

I’ve memorized all the cars I have driven

and each of their sad deaths,

I’ve memorized each jail cell,

the faces of each new president

and the faces of some of the assassins;

I’ve even memorized the arguments I’ve had with

some of the women

I’ve loved.

best of all

I’ve memorized tonight and now and the way the

light falls across my fingers,

specks and smears on the wall,

shades down behind orange curtains;

I light a rolled cigarette and then laugh a little,

yes, I’ve memorized it all.

the courage of my memory.

1 Comment on “Featured Poem: Memory

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