When Marjory Gilbert read a Times On Location story about the movie "Bukowski," produced and directed by James Franco, it brought back vivid memories of her long-ago encounter with the late poet.
Gilbert was working as a clerk in the history department at Cal State Los Angeles in the late 1970s when she joined a grad student friend to hear Charles Bukowski give a reading of his poetry at a campus bookstore.
"It was quite an evening," said Gilbert, who is 90 and lives in Claremont. "I didn't even know who Bukowski was, so I sat there not knowing what to expect. Here he was with a beer can in one hand and he's got these pages in the other hand and he's reading to us like he couldn't care less. He'd sip his beer then throw his page on the floor."
Gilbert said she was struck by the rawness of his poetry. "He sounded very honest, like he was telling it like it is," Gilbert said. "I knew he lived a life I would never know, so I was intrigued."
She was so enthralled by the man and his poetry, whom Time magazine called a "laureate of American lowlife," that she did what she has done for many other memorable experiences in her life: She wrote a poem, published here for the first time.