Home > Imitation > not a Bukowski poem

not a Bukowski poem

February 6, 2012

by Jim Murdoch

I am not Bukowski
but I am the kind of person
he would have written about
if he had lived in Glasgow
or I had lived in L. A..

he would have sat at his desk
with his shirt off,
watched me
and decided what kind of man
I was.

it’s uncomfortable having the shoe
on the other foot.

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Jim Murdoch writes, “I was sitting in a cold classroom on a dreich Tuesday afternoon. Our teacher handed out roneoed copies of Philip Larkin’s poem ‘Mr. Bleaney.’ There were no similes, no metaphors, no alliteration, no onomatopoeia, no babbling brooks, no blokes sitting in fields full of daisies: suddenly I realised what poetry was and all the rest was window-dressing. That was forty years ago and I have been writing and publishing ever since. You can read further examples of my poetry and prose on my website (I’m also a novelist) and there are links too on my blog, The Truth About Lies.”

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  1. Roberta Burnett
    February 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I loved hearing Jim Murdoch’s voice on this only overtly simple poem. So much depends on being inside that warm and wry talk. I want to hear more. Thanks, Jim!

    • June 26, 2012 at 5:48 am

      I know this was posted months ago but somehow I missed it going up so that’s why it’s taken me so long to respond. I’m glad you liked this one. I only discovered Bukowski recently having been sent a book of his poetry and a biography to review. I’m a big fan of plain speakers and so he appealed right away. I don’t often do pastiches but a few have appeared recently, a poem written in Pinter’s voice, a reworking of Larkin’s ‘Mr Bleaney’ and a masculinisation of Jenny Joseph’s ‘Warning’ (you know the one, ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’). I have only recorded one other poem to accompany a short film about Edinburgh which you can find on my website here: http://www.jimmurdoch.co.uk/read.html

  2. February 7, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I like this very much and yes, the voice is essential to the words.

    • June 26, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Sorry not to reply sooner but I missed this going up. I don’t do readings and so this is a rarity. I don’t like the sound of my voice nor do think I read particularly well. A recording is different because you can practice and edit out all the lip smacks and shorten pauses where necessary. Larkin—of whom I’m a great fan—never did readings but he did do recordings not to demonstrate how his poetry should be read but how it could be read. Only one other recording of my poetry exists and you can hear it on my website if you’re interested: http://www.jimmurdoch.co.uk/read.html

  3. June 26, 2012 at 6:30 am

    This one works well for me, Jim. What a warm and mellifluous voice you have, and the poem itself works just fine.

    • June 26, 2012 at 6:48 am

      Well you made my wife smile, Lis. She thinks I’m more mournful than mellifluous. Some people don’t simply read their own poetry well. I said to Carrie that I should have let her hear it before I submitted it to which she said, “Why? There was nothing you could do to improve it other than get someone else to read it.” She says that she was so disappointed when she first heard John Cooper Clarke read because she’d already heard Christopher Eccleston do ‘Chicken Town’ for a TV play and he’s a hard act for anyone to follow.

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