Hello everyone. I'm trying to find a Bukowski poem I read in the early '90s, I think in a "Best American Poetry" type anthology. Like my thread title states, the central image was traffic and traffic lights. Any help is appreciated.
Is that the one that has Bukowski and his fellow travellers driving the highways of LA with "nonchalant anger"? And ends something like "2 3 1/1 2 3/3 2 1"?
What the hell was that one called? Bothers me as I remember reading it in a somewhat prestigious anthology (Pushcart prize?) and liking it and can't remember the title at the moment. It wasn't collected for a few years.
Digney: Thanks, great poems, but once again I don't think they are the ones I'm looking for. The poem I remember didn't have such an aggressive, competitive edge. It was more meditative--the changing lights measured the passing of time, or some such thing. Obviously my memory is a little hazy, but let's see if anyone else comes up with something.
Whoops--after a second cup of coffee, I realize that Digney posted one poem, not two. Does anyone remember the details of its publication? The Pushcart Prize Anthology may be right.
The poem Digney links to above, "dog fight," appears in What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through Fire (1999). Its title is slightly adjusted to "dog fight 1990" and one line slightly modified. In the manuscript, Bukowski writes of driving through California traffic in July 1980. In the printed poem, the date appears as July 1990.
One reason I remember it, besides it being a poem about driving (my postscript comes from a Buk driving poem), is that I remember quoting it back in the 1980s.
Some Toronto lit paper printed a review of You Get So Alone and they got one piece of fact wrong: they referred to Jon Edgar Webb as being the longtime publisher of Buk when John Martin was. After correcting that I quoted the as yet uncollected "dog fight".
Still think it was in one of the Pushcart Prize anthologies but buggered if I can find anything on the web to confirm that.
Anyway they published the letter with the correction, etc. My small bit toward something. Seem to think the reviewer was Jim Christy of the The Buk Book by ECW but can't prove it so I'll just say it was him until proven wrong.
I think I quoted the last nine lines. I liked, and recognized at the time, the "skillful nonchalance" and the "perfect anger" attitude.
The Pushcart anthology would have to be from the mid to late 1980s. Don't know what numbers that would make them. I know I was living in my previous cliff dwelling and moved from there in 1991 when I found the lit paper and responded to it. Don't know where that has gone. To the garbage no doubt. Can't even remember its name.
I seem to remember the reviewer had a poem in one of the issues of that newspaper. Something about the repetition of "i got" ending with "i got a limited imagination". I've got a limited memory.