By Robert Peters


The kitchen plumbing

is stopped. The toilet

is plugged too. The garage

trouble: 3 pounds of spoiled

mexican shrimp dumped in,

shells and veins.


I sit in my living room

thinking of my christmas visit

to Charles Bukowski.


First we put lights on

his tree, then drank beer

and talked while his daughter

hung ornaments, one over

the other, on the low branches.


My wife noticed the odor

first--sour shrimp sewage,

bits of soft meat and exoskeleton

floating around bags of chemical

fertilizer and bullshit

in the garage.Company's

coming for dinner, she said.


I go on out

to the front yard, look down

at the broken lawn sprinkler

at a jacaranda needing a stake

at winter strawberries

turning a faint red


and I call to neighbor-

hood kids, and my own,

load them into the bus

and drive to the beach,

in a blare of music.


Where now the surf

I hear Bukowski reading

poems, celebrations of

impossible hardons, bangs,

mechanical and other failures,

and a few triumphs.


For once I have done

the right thing.

Volume 8 Index