Peter Bakowski was born in Melbourne in 1954 to Polish-German parents.
He writes his poems on an Apple MacBook and sometimes by hand on postcard-sized index cards. When doing so keeps in mind the following three quotes—
“Use ordinary words to say extraordinary things” – Arthur Schopenhauer.
“Writing is painting” – Charles Bukowski
“Make your next poem different from your last” – attributed to Robert Frost.
His blog is bakowskipoetrynews.blogspot.com
Some observations and a wish
for Ron Padgett
Time is lost more often than it’s found.
Be wary of having too many intentions.
Make the rut you’re in as uncomfortable as possible.
Don’t dwell in dark places unless it’s to gain empathy
for those who dwell in dark places.
No one is born with a conscience.
One person’s misbehaviour is another person’s missed behaviour.
Real progress will occur once we’ve turned dandruff into a fuel.
During your life the speed at which you remove your clothes may vary.
If pigs could fly, there’d be less bacon.
To ants, a twig is a battering ram.
May your mind resist the impulse to be a closed fist.
City workers during morning rush hour, Collins Street, Melbourne, 2013
Perhaps not fully awake, elbowed and bumped, you alight from trams,
Exit Parliament Station, to join the ballet of the brisk.
Rebel by sitting on a park bench. Such a luxury may incite a
Scowl on a passing face. Reading the
Obituaries in The Age, you’ll learn how often a certain
Nuclear scientist was married. This knowledge of a more troubled life may
Allow you to take a break from painting the town grey.
Look at the bird‐borrowed sky. It’s not raining rats and tarantulas.
What a gift is hunger. Because of it your ancestors left their caves,
Explored plains, valleys, rivers, seas. These
Adventures became paintings, songs, tall tales, family legends, headlines.
There’s the story of each person, on the trains, trams and street corners.
How vulnerable you are, how strong you are. I want to reveal your
Essence via the camera of this poem, as you swarm and
Rush in the business district, glancing at your wristwatches.
Portrait of Erik Satie, Paris, October, 1899
Granted these days, my number of tomorrows unknown, I resist
Rushing. Leave me to amble through Paris, which enchants
And confounds me, as would an octopus with feathers.
The way sunlight falls through the horizontal slats of a park bench
Interests me more than many paintings in the Louvre. Much art is
Tired. It needs to pull more than rabbits out of hats. Children
Understand my music. Their ears are not full of hair, politics and
Dinner party gossip. Meanwhile I stroll, pause at a favoured café,
Eavesdrop, watch the ballet of waiters gliding from kitchen to table.
Self-portrait, Melbourne, 19 September, 2012
I’m many selves, some are intimidated by authority figures.
Disapproval, its possibility, makes them hide in the dark beneath my ribs.
Emergent selves must believe no predators are near, ready to break their spines.
Not too social some of my selves. In being alone they get their best thinking done.
Tentative, they observe rather than participate, prefer libraries to dance floors.
Insistent invitations make them grumpy. You can tell by their body language that
They’d rather be elsewhere, not politely asking, “And how do you earn a living?”
Yet they can be kind to the shy. “That was me once,” they’ll say to each other.
The paper dolls
we had to dance
for a visitor’s amusement.
we are pinned
to a wall.
Our pencilled eyes
can’t blink away the dust.
we grip each other’s hands
whenever the door
Frog in ornamental pond, Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne
I leap and swallow,
to the cooling depths.
The afternoon suggests nothing less
than slow insect digestion.
a child’s shadow throws bread scraps
until called away by a disallowing voice.
The hulls of ducks bunch
then become orderly fleets.
There’s always a straggler.
Disturbed days too.
Surface hiss of cigarette butt,
splash and roll of beer can,
trespass of a Labrador —
green reeds bent or broken,
Night is best.
joins the slippery choir
of fellow frogs,
We pause to look up at
our silver patrons, the stars,
sad that their applause
wont reach us
for light years.
This is where I belong—
learning the water, alert
to all manner of winged food,
when hailstones or a boy’s sharp stick
stab through the green skin of lily pads.
To be a frog
or not to be a frog?
Now, that’s an interesting question.
I’ll give you my answer
the next time someone
who hasn’t got cooking pot eyes
bends down to kiss me.
My sincere thanks to Peter for sending me these wonderful poems and allowing me to republish them on here.