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  • One day I read in the Moscow Times that an English language book store in town, which is incredibly over-priced, had a few books marked way down. Being the budget-minded guy that I am, this certainly caught my eye. I noticed that a book I wanted to read was only 95 rubles ($4), for a recent hardcover book. So off I went.

    I walked into the store and immediately saw the book I wanted on a shelf by the entrance. I picked it up, but since I had just been paid, I thought I’d look around and see if there was anything else I could find cheap. I looked in the usual johnnie b. sections, but the books I always look at were still hideously overpriced. Oh well, I thought, I still have to finish the book I’m reading, and then the Lebed book should keep me occupied for a week or so, and that will keep me until next payday. Besides, I had to get to work, and I didn’t have the time to browse and relax.

    But as I headed towards the door, I saw another discount section, and what did I notice from afar but a certain name, a name that called out to me. Bukowski. I went over to look at the book. Charles Bukowski books are some of the most expensive books anywhere in the world. And in Russia, or, I should say, at Anglia, the only place I had seen Bukowski in Moscow, each book was over $30. Now, as much as I love this man, that was just a little too much for my cheap ass to pay. Besides, I wanted to stick to my strenuous regimen of Russian studies, with occasional detours into Turkish lit or Mid East politics. But this book of poetry and short stories, which I had never read since it was was published posthumously, was only 150 rubles! That was like $6-$7! There was no way I could pass this up!

    I began to finish the book I was already reading, but the Bukowski was calling me from the bookshelf. I picked it up and read a few poems, and I was kicked in the balls as usual. Only Hank can do me like that. But I am of the sort that can only read one book at a time. I know plenty of people that read two or three books at a time, but I don’t like to do that unless I must. So as much as I pined for the book, I had to put it back on the shelf until I finished my current book, an opus of about 600 pages. So it wasn’t until six days after I had bought the book that I started to read it.

    Bukowski and Moscow fit each other perfectly.

    ………………………………………

    Damn Hank

    I went back to America

    this week.

    Back to my home,

    Back to my memories,

    Back to the only place I really know,

    Back to Bukowski.

    Damn Hank,

    I remember once,

    I remember once I tried

    to be

    like you.

    Drinking wine,

    living in the ‘loin,

    trying to write out

    one-beat

    old noir

    lines

    like I knew what I

    was talking about.

    But I couldn’t.

    And I still can’t.

    And now I write

    about other

    things,

    as if history really matters,

    as if politics really matters,

    when nothing really matters

    except

    poetry.

    Damn Hank,

    I went back

    this week

    and remembered,

    and was reminded,

    that I can’t live that life

    again.

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