Book Spine Poetry :: A Few Bukowski Books Rescued from the Recesses of the Closet

Nicola over at Sometimes Stellar Storyteller has put forth an excellent post idea. She suggests we mine our bookshelves for titles which fall together poetically. When I found her post, I thought, “This woman is a great magician. I shall be her eager volunteer.”

Then it struck me like a bolt from a clear blue sky: somewhere in my closet was a little pile of books which I hadn’t even opened yet! Off to the bedroom I skittered. I had to dig under some camping gear and empty shoeboxes, and to move a carpetbag full of old scribblings, but sure enough, there they were – four books still in the mailers from the booksellers…

Why did I have unopened packages buried in my closet? The answer is fairly embarrassing actually, considering I’m a grown man. I binged on Amazon (not the embarrassing part), and my selections all arrived the same week. I stacked them lovingly on my coffeetable, waiting for everything I’d ordered eventually to arrive so that I could open them all in one sitting: a private, bookish little Christmas (in mid-spring)… they came a couple per day… then at the end of the week, my father suddenly phoned to announce that he was coming for a visit. Immediately. He was in his car, a half-hour away.

Now, my father is as spend-thrifty as the day is long. The word ‘frugal’ does not begin to describe the caution with which this man metes out his money. He could pinch a penny into copper wire.


You see where this is going, I think. I knew that if my father walked in and saw all the purchases I’d made, he was liable to pitch a fit. At the very least, he would be very disappointed in me, again, which always feels roughly equivalent to him physically kicking my ass. As a grown man with my own convictions and conscience, I likely should not shrink so at the prospect of disapproval from the paternal unit… Thus the embarrassment. But oh well.

In the minutes I had to spare after giving the bathroom and kitchen a quick once-over, I hurriedly opened and shelved a few of the books, but I realized I was losing out on the excitement of exploring each as I opened it, the old pleasure-delayer trick of going through the pile of packages super-slowly, you know, so I buried the rest of them in the closet.

Until today.

I just opened them.

All four are by Charles Bukowski.

So here’s my Book Spine Poem:

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way

Betting on the Muse

The Last Night of the Earth Poems

come on in!

I’d love to include a photo of these beauties stacked in that order, but alas I am not a camera guy. There are reasons for that, but I’ll let those be another story for another time.

Big props to Nicola on the outstanding post idea. For those who don’t already know, Nicola hosts a weekly contest called the Six Word Story Challenge. Highly recommended. Cheers.


  1. Such a lovely post, thank you for your kind words.

    You have such patience, I could never hoard my purchases and open them together. I do not have the pleasure delay gene!

    I love your poem. Sifting the madness, I think we can all relate to that!

    Your post has also just inspired the prompt for next week’s Six Word Challenge – be sure to pop over!


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