The Works of George Ovitt

George Ovitt lives in Albuquerque with his family. His poems have recently appeared in Tar River Poetry, OtherVoices, San Pedro River Review, and Sycamore Review. His collection of short stories, The Snow Man will be published this fall.

All Poems © George Ovitt

Among Writers

“I was fairly drunk when it/began . . .” Charles Bukowski

He was drunk when I saw him, forty years ago; he and

Bob Creely—Bob told Phil and I to call him

‘Bob,’ –he was drunk when he said ‘excuse me’ and turned to piss;

We were standing in a circle at a another poet’s house, my first

Taste of bourbon and the literary life; Phil and I smoked

Old Gold’s and published ‘The Lit;’ the next week John Berryman,

Morbid with drink, said the mag was ‘pure shit’; he was

Right, earnest shit is still shit and we adored Berryman—I tried to

Grow a beard and switched to Pall Malls, but it was no good.

Then Ginsberg showed up with Peter Orlovsky, and Allen read and

Played the harmonium and took Phil and I out for cheap wine and

At the Morris Inn Peter offered us hash and psilocybin,

My first hallucinogens; and then Mailer came to town and

Phil and I got drunk with Rip Torn and Norman and a beautiful

Woman who stroked my leg at Tony’s—my first literary fuck—

Then Diane Wakowski flew in with Clayton Eshleman

And I traded my corduroy jacket for a pea coat and black scarf

But I still couldn’t write a poem and then Phil took the train

To Chicago and on Wabash Avenue under the El found a perfect

Copy of Harmonium, first edition, and gave it to me and then

When Gary Snyder came to town I stayed home and shaved

And drank coffee and wrote and wrote.

What We Wait For

We’ve all seen it before,

The patience of the dying.

Your dog alone in the garage,

The cat broken by a car, dragging

Its useless legs toward the gutter.
Once in rural South Jersey,

Past midnight, in the fevered

Moonless black of the woods,

I saw a deer just down,

Still running, its chest split;

I dragged it by the horns

Into the woods, saying stupidly

That it was all right, knowing

That dying takes as much

Patience as being alive, more,

As you’re waiting for the one thing

Whose coming can’t be postponed

Or wished away, the one thing

We wait for that doesn’t disappoint