by Charles Bukowski
ah, christ, what a CREW:
poetry, always more
P O E T R Y .
if it doesn't come, coax it out with a
laxative. get your name in LIGHTS,
get it up there in
8 1/2 x 11 mimeo.
keep it coming like a miracle.
ah christ, writers are the most sickening
of all the louts!
gutless, flea-bitten and
obvious . . . in tinker-toy rooms
with their flabby hearts
they tell us
what's wrong with the world-
as if we didn't know that a cop's club
can crack the head
and that war is a dirtier game than
marriage . . .
or down in a basement bar
hiding from a wife who doesn't appreciate him
and children he doesn't
he tells us that his heart is drowning in
vomit. hell, all our hearts are drowning in vomit,
in pork salt, in bad verse, in soggy
but he thinks he's alone and
he thinks he's special and he thinks he's Rimbaud
and he thinks he's
and death! how about death? did you know
that we all have to die? even Keats died, even
and D. Thomas-THEY KILLED HIM, of course.
Thomas didn't want all those free drinks
all that free pussy-
they . . . FORCED IT ON HIM
when they should have left him alone so he could
write write WRITE!
and there's another
type. I've met them at their country
places (don't ask me what I was doing there because
I don't know).
they were born with money and
they don't have to dirty their hands in
slaughterhouses or washing
dishes in grease joints or
driving cabs or pimping or selling pot.
this gives them time to understand
they walk in with their cocktail glass
held about heart high
and when they drink they just
you are drinking green beer which you
brought with you
because you have found out through the years
that rich bastards are tight-
they use 5 cent stamps instead of airmail
they promise to have all sorts of goodies ready
upon your arrival
from gallons of whisky to
50 cent cigars. but it's never
and they HIDE their women from you-
their wives, x-wives, daughters, maids, so forth,
because they've read your poems and
figure all you want to do is fuck everybody and
everything. which once might have been
true but is no longer quite
he WRITES TOO.
he has plenty of time and a
postoffice box in town
and he drives there 3 or 4 times a day
looking and hoping for accepted
he thinks that poverty is a weakness of the
he thinks your mind is ill because you are
drunk all the time and have to work in a
factory 10 or 12 hours a
he brings his wife in, a beauty, stolen from a
he lets you gaze for 30 seconds
then hustles her
out. she has been crying for some
you've got 3 or 4 days to linger in the
guesthouse he says,
"come on over to dinner
but he doesn't say when or
where. and then you find out that you are not even
IN HIS HOUSE.
you are in
ONE of his houses but
his house is somewhere
you don't know
he even has x-wives in some of his
his main concern is to keep his x-wives away from
you. he doesn't want to give up a
damn thing. and you can't blame him:
his x-wives are all young, stolen, kept,
talented, well-dressed, schooled, with
varying French-German accents.
WRITE POETRY TOO. or
but his big problem is to get down to that mail
box in town to get back his
and to keep his eye on all the other mail boxes
in all his other
meanwhile, the starving Indians
sell beads and baskets in the streets of the small desert
the Indians are not allowed in his houses
not so much because they are a fuck-threat
but because they are
ignorant. dirty? I look down at my shirt
with the beerstain on the front.
ignorant? I light a 6 cent cigar and
he or they or somebody was supposed to meet me at
of course, they weren't
there. "We'll be there to meet the great
well, I looked around and didn't see any
great poet. besides it was 7 a.m. and
40 degrees. those things
happen. the trouble was there were no
bars open. nothing open. not even a
he's a poet.
he's also a doctor, a head-shrinker.
no blood involved that
way. he won't tell me whether I am crazy or
not-I don't have the
he walks out with his cocktail glass
disappears for 2 hours, 3 hours,
then suddenly comes walking back in
with the same cocktail glass
to make sure I haven't gotten hold of
something more precious than
my cheap green beer is killing
me. he shows heart (hurrah) and
gives me a little pill that stops my
but nothing decent to
he'd bought a small 6 pack
for my arrival but that was gone in an
hour and 15
"I'll buy you barrels of beer," he had
I used his phone (one of his phones)
to get deliveries of beer and
cheap whisky. the town was ten miles away,
downhill. I peeled my poor dollars from my poor
roll. and the boy needed a tip, of
the way it was shaping up I could see that I was
hardly Dylan Thomas yet, not even
Robert Creeley. certainly Creeley wouldn't have
had beerstains on his
anyhow, when I finally got hold of one of his
x-wives I was too drunk to
scared too. sure, I imagined him peering
through the window-
he didn't want to give up a damn thing-
leveling the luger while I was
while "The March to the Gallows" was playing over
and shooting me in the ass first and
my poor brain
"an intruder," I could hear him telling them,
"ravishing one of my helpless x-wives."
I see him published in some of the magazines
now. not very good stuff.
a poem about me
too: the Polack.
the Polack whines too much. the Polack whines about his
country, other countries, all countries, the Polack
works overtime in a factory like a fool, among other
fools with "pre-drained spirits."
the Polack drinks seas of green beer
full of acid. the Polack has an ulcerated
hemorrhoid. the Polack picks on fags
"fragile fags." the Polack hates his
wife, hates his daughter. his daughter will become
an alcoholic, a prostitute. the Polack has an
"obese burned out wife." the Polack has a
spastic gut. the Polack has a
thank you, Doctor (and poet). any charge for
this? I know I still owe you for the
Your poem is not too good
but at least I got your starch up.
most of your stuff is about as lively as a
wet and deflated
beachball. but it is your round, you've won a round.
going to invite me out this
Summer? I might scrape up
trainfare. got an Indian friend who'd like to meet
you and yours. he swears he's got the biggest
pecker in the state of California.
and guess what?
Last updated May 02, 2015