Two poems by Jack Leaf Willetts

Bukowski - Neal Cassady

Letter to Charles Bukowski

I don’t want to be a goddamn writer

for the most part
I wish I were a carpenter
or a mechanic
I wish I had a skill
that folks could use
I wish I had a job
that paid the bills
I wish I did something
that folks might appreciate
or better still
I wish I could do something
that would make my wife proud

I don’t want to be a writer

for the most part
I don’t want to be hounded by words
I don’t want to be detached
I don’t want
an invite to the ball
just to make notes
just to write it up
just to watch
all the guys and girls
dance and drink
I don’t want to document
or record
thoughts or emotions
I don’t want the goddamn job

I don’t want to be a writer

I don’t want the compulsion
the obsession
I don’t want to think
I don’t want to analyze
I don’t want it to come
and wake me in the night

I don’t want to know
a sadness – so deep –
it cannot be hacked out of my soul
I don’t want to write it out
of my blood
for it to fill me again
I don’t want it to come at all

No I don’t want to be a goddamn writer
but who the hell am I to call the shots?
I am just a man
I do not have a choice.

What Would Neal Do?
For Neal

what would Elvis do?
reads the sign
hanging in our bathroom

a sign
I’m grateful for
since I asked myself
the same question once
looked in the mirror
and answered
like that crazy guy
from the movie
True Romance
I took imagined advice
from Elvis
Elvis would go out tonight
so I went out
and got the girl
at the end of that story

but who really cares
what Elvis would do?

I like Elvis
but he died on a toilet
or face down
in carpet
after falling off
a toilet
or some other way
that nobody knows
and anyway
the phrase
is just borrowed
from the original
what would Jesus do?

And I like Jesus
but everyone knows
that Jesus got nailed
before they hung him
on a cross

he was hanging out
with prostitutes
and crooks
getting high on red wine
he must of hit it hard

he walked on water
turned it into red stuff
tipped up tables
and some other heavy shit
but by all accounts
he was a pretty cool guy

but who really cares
what Jesus would do?

I’m way more interested in
what Snyder would do
what Ginsberg would do
what Kerouac would do
what Neal Cassady would do

*Neal Cassady
not so secret hero
of this poem*

Neal Cassady
who really knows

I like to think
half naked
at 4
in the afternoon
writing a poem
about Jack and Jesus

I like to think
he would take his girl
on a trip
this weekend
with his pockets empty
and his heart full

I like to think
he would get it

I like to think
of Neal
reading this poem
as he drives
into the unknown

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