"One For Old Snaggletooth"By Charles Bukowski


Bukowski with his only child, Marina.
Bukowski with his only child, Marina.

I know a woman
who keeps buying puzzles
chinese
puzzles
blocks
wires
pieces that finally fit
into some order.
she works it out
mathematically
she solves all her
puzzles
lives down by the sea
puts sugar out for the ants
and believes
ultimately
in a better world.
her hair is white
she seldom combs it
her teeth are snaggled
and she wears loose shapeless
coveralls over a body most
women would wish they had.
for many years she irritated me
with what I consider her
eccentricities -
like soaking eggshells in water
(to feed the plants so that
they'd get calcium).
but finally when I think of her
life
and compare it to other lives
more dazzling, original
and beautiful
I realize that she has hurt fewer
people than anybody I know
(and by hurt I simply mean hurt).
she has had some terrible times,
times when maybe I should have
helped her more
for she is the mother of my only
child
and we were once great lovers,
but she has come through
like I said
she has hurt fewer people than
anybody I know,
and if you look at it like that,
well,
she has created a better world.
she has won.


Frances, this poem is for
you.


After reading a ton of Bukowski's work, I've really started to appreciate the heartfelt, loving poems. This was dedicated to Frances Smith, the mother of his only child. They never got married, but he did seem to love her. This poem is pretty much about how simple and kind and great Frances was, and how it took him years to realize it. All she cared about was being a good person and I think it bothered him in the past because he was the opposite of that, but now looking back he realized she was brilliant.ปลวก