Spring 2008, Volume 4

Poetry by G. Tod Slone

Buk Review

"even at my funeral
let there be a bit of truth
then the good clean
         —Charles Bukowski

Every year since the guy's death,
a new volume of poetry comes out,
as if by magic—and he croaked in 1994!
The guy has to be the world's most
prolific dead man composing.
With each new publication, sadly, the
quality of the "New Poems" goes down.
And, for the first time, I find myself running
through the work like wild horses, not
slowly savoring, as in past volumes,
wondering if maybe, after all, he was
really a bullshit artiste, as in
"tearing up poems is my/ specialty."
And wondering if he really believed that
"bastards, even you read this/
after I am long dead/ forget about me. I/
probably wasn't that/ good."
And with this new volume, it seems he did,
sadly, do the wrong thing, as in
"a) so then/ I wrote this down to/ fill in the
blank/ space./ b) then came the decision/
whether to tear it up or save it./ c) have/
I done/ the right thing?"
And he seemed to think that he could get
away with it, as in "forgive me for boring you/
with all this but isn't that/ why you're/ here?"

Well, three or four, out of 130, were pretty damn
good, as in his previous dead man scribbling, which
leads me to speculate what a grand book those
good ones would have made, if not for business,
Linda, and John wanting twenty books instead,
which is why the title of this one was well chosen:
The People Look Like Flowers at Last.

Citizen Co-opted

All too well, I know how it works,
but do you?

Someone lays a compliment
on you, then you stifle
the criticism you'd intended laying on him.

Yet free minds are critical minds,
and free people openly critical.

An organization accords you a
prize or grant, leaving you
with the odd self-satisfied smile
of a fit-in citizen and
more food to fuel
the turning of a blind eye.

Yet co-opted freedom is co-opted
spirit, and
your endeavors begin to show it.

A university president shakes your
hand, welcoming you into the fold
of elitism, and offers you
a hackneyed defense mechanism.

A famous magazine publishes your
essay or poem, then you receive
a copy in the mail, and you're no
longer even interested if it's any
different from the other rags out there.

All too well, I know how it works,
but do you… or have you been consumed?

BIO:  G. Tod Slone is an unemployed professor and the editor of The American Dissident, a journal of social criticism and responsibility. He lives in Concord, Massachusets.