Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bukowski's got your number

My poetry teacher wrote books about Charles Bukowski. My poetry teacher writes good poetry. So I assumed Bukowski would too. And maybe he does. I don’t know. I DO know that I was going to read just a few poems of his the other evening and found myself up til past midnight nearly finishing off his Love is a Dog From Hell tome. Appalled and enthralled, but mostly appalled, yet applauding his honesty – as ugly as it may be. I can’t even begin to explain (though I have tried anyway). Let the poems speak for themselves. But first, you must know that I purposely chose an example that is not X-rated.  

how come you’re not unlisted?

The men phone and ask me that.
are you really Charles Bukowski
the writer? they ask.

I’m a sometimes writer, I say,
most often I don’t do anything.

listen, they ask, I like your
stuff–do you mind if I come
 over and bring a couple of 6

you an bring them, I say
if you don’t come in . . .

when the women phone, I say,
o yes, I write, I’m a writer
only I’m not writing right now.

I feel foolish phoning you,
they say, and I was surprised
to find you listed in the phone book.

I have reasons, I say,
by the way why don’t you come over
for a beer?

you wouldn’t mind?

and they arrive
handsome women
good of mind and body and eye.

often there isn’t sex
but I’m used to that
yet it’s good
very good just to look at them–
and some rare times
I have unexpected good luck

for a man of 55 who didn’t get laid
until he was 23
and not very often until he was 50
I think that I should stay listed
via Pacific Telephone
until I get as much as
the average man has had.

of course, I’ll have to keep
writing immortal poems
but the inspiration is there.


And then he has this oddly gentle side – not present in much of his poetry (at least what I read in Love is a Dog From Hell. I'm really clueless about him.):

we will taste the islands and the sea

I know that some night
in some bedroom
my fingers will
soft clean hair

songs such as no radio

all sadness, grinning
into flow.


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