turn the corner

Bukowski claimed
5th and Main long ago,
back when it was
first called the Nickel,

long before the arrival of
the namesake diner with
bacon doughnuts,
tattooed waitstaff, and
skinny-jeaned patrons

long before I got there.

I used to have
fantasies of whiskey-soaked days
and coffee-drenched nights
like he had,

thought I’d write
gritty cigarette burnt poetry
like he did,

but now
I see

inspiration doesn’t
necessitate emulation

though I do love
a nice whiskey on the rocks,
coffee at all hours,
a quiet cigarette in the dark

his way
wasn’t meant
to be mine;

and though
I am roaming this city
sorta like he did,

the city’s
not exactly to me
what it was to him

and I
am not he

and I’m passing over
shared wanderground

but I’m not
or Fante
or Chandler

and I’ve gotta find
my own way.

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