Bukowski as an unidentified twenty-year ear worm?

I am currently a middle school English teacher, dramaturg and a writer. I have a passion for reading poetry, mostly in English, but in other languages, too. In another life I was part of a task group of elementary school teachers paired with the poet Georgia Heard by Lucy Caulkins. Our task was to come up with a curriculum for elementary schools students that was Writers Workshop based and was called poetry throughout the day. In any case, during our last meeting years and years ago, each of us was asked to bring a poem to share for our last session. One fellow educator read a poem that has haunted me ever since. She quickly mentioned the poet's name—a poet whom Georgia recognized and said "I love his work (male, I guess)—and then we heard the poem. This was the late-90s when this all went down. I loved the poem, but didn't catch the poet's name. I've been haunted by it ever since. Recently, a poet and teacher friend of mine suggested that maybe the poem sounded like something by Bukowski. I wasn't familiar with Bukowski's work, so after several days of deep diving and reading scores and scores of his poems, I'm pretty sure it might be him, but I still haven't found the exact poem. I've started a forum question on this quest.
The premise is quite simple: A person goes out and finds an emaciated poem, brings it home, feeds and cares for it, and it grows until it gets up, punches the poet in the face/gut/stomach, says f*** you, and pulls out a cigarette, opens the door and goes out.

That's the poem. I don't know who wrote it, its title, or the poem itself, but it has haunted me ever since.
It's not Billy Collins or Charles Simic, although the tone and diction suggest either. Might it be Tony Hoagland? Does this ring a bell? Might it be Bukowski?
 

Johannes

Founding member
Welcome.

Doesn't ring any bell for me either wrt to Bukowski.

The closest that comes to my mind is the poem "Tough Company" from Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979), that's about poems as gunslingers, hanging around the poets apartment.

"poems like gunslingers
sit about and
shoot holes in my windows
chew on my toilet paper..."
 
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