Trapped

Charles Bukowski, 1920-1994

Trapped

don't undress my love
you might find a mannequin:
don't undress the mannequin 
you might find
my love. 
she's long ago
forgotten me. 
she's trying on a new
hat 
and looks more the 
coquette
than ever.

she is a
child
and a mannequin
and death. 
I can't hate 
that. 
she didn't do
anything 
unusual. 
I only wanted her
to.

 

Anyone familiar with Bukowski knows his often abrasive, raunchy, nihilistic style. However, this specific work is different in that it deals with themes of love in a more direct and clear way than he may have done in other pieces. Published in his collection Ham on Rye in 1982, towards the end of his life, Bukowski shows a more vulnerable side to his art that he hadn’t in earlier poetry.

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Are you proud of who you’ve become?

Indeed, you are an aperture of avarice

That the flesh can never fully satisfy.

Within you lies a ferocity so ravenous

A hunger that may never be appeased

And an envy towards the smiling fools 

Who walk so languidly away from themselves.

 

-P.J.