my comrades

this one teaches
that one lives with his mother
and that one is supported by a red-faced alcoholic father
with the brain of a gnat.
this one takes speed and has been supported by
the same woman for 14 years.
that one writes a novel every ten days
but at least pays his own rent.
this one goes from place to place
sleeping on couches, drinking and making his spiel.
this one prints his own books from a duplicating machine.
that one lives in an abandoned shower room
in a Hollywood hotel.
this one seems to know how to grant after grant,
his life is a filling-out of forms.
this one is simply rich and lives in the best
places while knocking on the best doors.
this one had breakfast with William Carlos Williams.
and this one teaches.
and that one teaches.
and this one puts out textbooks on how to do it
and speaks in a cruel and dominating voice.
they are everywhere.
everybody is a writer.
and almost every writer is a poet.
poets poets poets      poets poets poets
poets poets poets      poets poets poets
the next time the phone rings
it will be a poet.
the next person at the door
will be a poet.
this one teaches
and that one is living with his mother
and that one is writing the story of Ezra Pound.
oh, brothers, we are the sickest and the
lowest of the breed.
Other works by Charles Bukowski ...