Bukowski Biographer Neeli Cherkovski Shares Poem About Their Friendship

neeli cherkvoski charles bukowski

Charles Bukowski on the left, Neeli Cherkovski on the far right. Via Facebook.

Poet and biographer Neeli Cherkovski knew Charles Bukowski well. He spent years as a close friend and wrote the book Bukowski: A Life




Cherkovski has shared a new poem on Facebook, titled “In the Shadow/Of the Rose,” about their friendship. It is moving and well crafted and offers insight into Bukowski and what one of his rare close, lasting relationships was like.

Related: Bukowski’s Longtime Girlfriend Linda King Reads Poetry About Him

This includes what Bukowski thought when he found out Cherkovski was gay. Bukowski was known to show signs of homophobia. However, there has also been speculation, such as documented in another biography, Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, that he may have been bisexual, or at least not entirely heterosexual, as he identified. Whatever his true orientation, his friend’s orientation obviously did not bother him.

Cherkovski writes:

what did
Hank say when he
Learned you were
Gay”

 

He said, “Listen,
I’m so glad you’re
With someone. I hope
You guys are
Staying the night.”
And we did
In a beautiful room
With flowers
In a vase.

 

He taught me
To listen for
The drums and
Rustic flutes
Deeply embedded
In my brain.

 

Bukowski said
I should go down
To the river and
Carve a
Talisman
Out of a
Two by four

 

He said
“Man you
Kept me sane
Back in the 60s
When the
Professors
Landed on my
Doorstep wanting
The secret

 

You know how
To laugh at other and
At yourself. I could bare
Those assholes
With you on guard”

You can read the full poem below.

You can also watch Cherkovski read his poetry below.

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