the strongest of the strange

you won’t see them often
for whatever the crowd is
they
are not.

these odd ones, not
many
but from them
come
the few
good paintings
the few
good symphonies
the few
good books
and other
works.

and from the
best of the
strange ones
perhaps
nothing.

they are
their own
paintings
their own
books
their own
music
their own
work.

sometimes I think
I see
them – say
a certain old
man
sitting on a
certain bench
in a certain
way.

or
a quick face
going the other
way
in a passing
automobile

or
there’s a certain motion
of the hands
of the bag-boy or a bag-
girl
while packing
supermarket
groceries.

sometimes
it is even somebody
you have been
living with
for some
time –
you will notice
a
lightning quick
glance
never seen
from them
before.

sometimes
you will only note
their
existence
suddenly
in
vivid
recall
some months
some years
after they are
gone.

I remember
such a
one –
he was about
20 years old
drunk at
10 a.m.
staring into
a cracked
New Orleans
mirror.

face dreaming
against the
walls of
the world.

where
did I
go?

Charles Bukowski
Septuagenarian Stew (1990)

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