Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bukowski v. Koyczan

Koyczan is the new Bukowksi of the 21st century. There must be something special about having a polish surname. Compare these two poems. My first love that left this world too soon, Bukowski:
I am driving down Wilton Avenue
when this girl of about 15
dressed up in tight blue jeans
that grip her behind like two hands
steps out in front of my car
I stop to let her cross the street
and as I watch her contours waving
she looks directly through my windshield
at me
with purple eyes
and then blows
out of her mouth
the largest pink globe of
bubble gum
I have ever seen
while I am listening to Beethoven
on the car radio.
she enters a small grocery store
and is gone
and I am left with
The poem works because it's a story. Bukowski starts it with a hook: the enticement of illicit sex with an underage girl. We read on, is it another Lolita tragedy? He hits us with imagery and it feeds right into our imaginations: the jeans that "grip her behind like two hands." And then he ends it with Beethoven, a classic tale.

In contrast, the work of my new infatuation, Shane Koyczan on Beethoven:
[K]ings, queens
it didn’t matter
the man got down on his knees
for no one
but amputated the legs of his piano
so he could feel the vibrations
through the floor
the man got down on his knees
for music...
and for a moment
it was like joy
was a tangible thing
like you could touch it
like for the first time
we could watch love and hate dance together
in a waltz of such precision and beauty
that we finally understood
the history wasn’t important
to know the man
all we ever had to do was
How sad is a piano with amputated legs? How Beethoven must have hated to do it, but he did it for love. Koyczan makes you listen and see, and finally he makes you cry. Listen:

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