They just tell stories

by Ralkkai

When I was younger
I would say
the only reason
people like Poe
or Shakespeare
was because
they wrote with a time
that our language doesn’t
know anymore.
I would say
they just tell stories
that anyone can.

I felt I was right
when you read it,
with the thous and thines
and all those
little phrases with footnotes
for us to decypher
like linguistic archeologists
and you scrape away
the dead flowers and
then they are all just stories.

I was not aware of
literary devices.
I would read
Bukowski and Crane
and think
this is good.
This doesn’t read
like an effigy.

Bukowski wrote crap
but a good kind of crap.
The kind that makes it
hard for you
to explain to anyone
who doesn’t know.

He wrote of the mundane
and whores and alcohol
and betting on horses
in simple ways and with
simple words.
He wrote in a
good crap sort of way
that worked for me
and not others.

And now–
I wonder if that is why
I never understood
or Shakespeare.
They wrote a
good kind of crap,
in a good kind of crap
sort of way,
the kind that made it
hard for someone like me to

I’m older now and
jumping back into it all
with both feet
and maybe I’ll revisit Poe
or Shakespeare
and find out
what kind of toilet paper
they wiped with.