Ray Manzarek (1939 – 2013) by Brad Hamlin


Gary Snyder
introduced me to

Ray Manzarek

at UC Davis

we talked about poetry
and Ray said,

“Jim Morrison
was the greatest poet
of my generation.”

So I asked him:
What about Charles Bukowski?
What do you think about

he said,
“he’s like an onion. You
peel the layers,
and you keep getting more
of the same thing.”

stared each other down,
about two tragic
drunken yo-yos …

said Manzarek,
“I love his [Bukowski’s]

All right,
Ray, but can you play
a few bars
of ‘Moonlight Drive’?

said he would,
laying the melody
on a
Vox Continental combo

Robby Krieger
was hooking up
with Eric Burdon’s band
and hitting the road

teenage girls,
on through
repeatedly listening
to The Doors

death & fuckups
seem sexy
when you’re young

and Ray,
he kept on peeling
the layers

there wasn’t

8 Responses to “Ray Manzarek (1939 – 2013) by Brad Hamlin”

  1. When you light a candle, the onions won’t make you cry.

  2. i always cry anyway, i think on purpose. and i love this poem.

  3. Good work. The first album I ever bought was a Doors album.

  4. I’ve considered that poets don’t capture a moment so much as they create one. And the moments I particularly enjoy are the moments where I’m given the space, through the poet’s work, to find my own moment; Brad creates, through his recollections and reverie, a place for me to be alone with infinite potential, and allows me to find something within the onion I can revel in.

    There’s a lot of what I don’t like in the small press here, and the poem goes beyond that. I’d like to see more by this author. And I wish him wonder, amazement, and joy along his path.

  5. Great poem, Bradley, as usual. To me, it’s interesting the relationships that poets often have with musicians. To me, Mr. I Somewhat-Know-Three-Guitar-Chords, it’s a bit of awe, reverence and envy, but also a shared love for the verses. My first encounter with Bukowski’s work was through Chuck Roethel, lead guitarist for the Keystone Rhythm Band. His take on Bukowski was that his usual them was “I got drunk, I fucked the whore, I threw up.”

    Anyway, this poem is a nice tribute to Ray but also a great slice of life, and if Bukowski’s poetry is like peeling back the onion, to me it’s one tasty onion. 🙂 Thanks, Brad.

  6. I love how this is in Bukowski’s style.

  7. I love how it’s in Brad’s style! 🙂

    Thank you, Bradley, awesome poem.

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