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October 12, 2010 / Zoe

A close call.

I’ve been reading a lot of Charles Bukowski lately so over the next few weeks I’m going to share a few of his poems. And only two of them are about cats, surprising I know! The main reason I want to write them here is because I can never find the poem I’m looking for, the titles never stay in my head and I’m left flipping through the pages of the handful of his books we have looking for the words that are stuck in my brain.

a close call

pushing my cart through the supermarket


the thought crossed my mind

that I could start

knocking cans from the shelves and swiping

at rolls of towels, toilet paper and

silver foil,

I could throw oranges, bananas, tomatoes

into the air, I could take cans of

beer from the refrigerator and roll

them down the isle, I could pull up

women’s skirts and grab their asses,

I could ram my shopping cart through

the plate glass window.

then another thought occurred to me:

people generally consider the consequences

before they do something

like that.

I pushed my cart along.

a young woman in a checkered skirt was

bending over in the pet food section.

I seriously considered grabbing her


but I didn’t, I rolled on


I had the items I needed and I pushed

my cart up to the checkout stand.

a lady in a red smock with a nameplate

waited on me.

The nameplate indicated her name was


Robin looked at me: “how are you doing?”

she asked.

“fine,” I told her.

and then she began tabulating and

bagging my purchases

with no idea that

the fellow standing there before her

had just two minutes ago been

one small step away from the


– Charles Bukowski.

This is how I feel sometimes, minus the ass grabbing, and it’s actually quite liberating. It’s hard to explain, but the idea that I could just go crazy, jump around and knock things over is empowering. It’s like I have a secret that no one else knows.

Daisy thinks I should read less poetry and feed her more food. I love how her one white eyebrow whisker makes her look like she’s forever questioning me. Who am I kidding, she is always questioning me.




Leave a Comment
  1. Clare B / Oct 14 2010 5:47 pm

    Oh, I love Charles Bukowski. He has been one of my favourite “poet finds” in my quest to learn about poetry this year. Thanks for sharing this one, I hadn’t read it before

  2. Circe / Oct 13 2010 3:51 am

    that’s a great poem, and a great picture

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