BUKOWSKI – All of our Gods.
As obsessed as we are with him, the simplicity, the crude beauty in his tongue, the rawness of his honesty – it is never quite enough. To not feel a burning gut inside you after reading one of his poems is a rather rare chance, here’s a bit more of that fire:
Love And Fame And Death
It sits outside my window now
like and old woman going to market;
it sits and watches me,
it sweats nevously
through wire and fog and dog-bark
I slam the screen with a newspaper
like slapping at a fly
and you could hear the scream
over this plain city,
and then it left.
the way to end a poem
is to become suddenly
I Met A Genius
I met a genius on the train
about 6 years old,
he sat beside me
and as the train
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
it’s not pretty.
it was the first time I’d
and the windows opened that night,
a celing dripped the sweat
of a tin god,
and I sat eating a watermelon,
all false red
water like slow running of rusty
and I spit out seeds,
and I swallowed seeds,
and I kept thinking,
I am a fool
I am a fool
to eat this watermelon,
but I kept eating
the house next door makes me
the people are nice people, I
like them. but I feel them drowning.
and I can’t save them. they are surviving.
they are not
homeless. but the price is
terrible. sometimes during the day
I will look at the house
and the house will look at
and the house will
weep, yes, it does, I
To The Whore Who Took My Poems
some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
twelve poems gone and I don’t keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn’t you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I’m not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won’t be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there’ll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much
ignore all possible concepts and possibilities —
ignore Beethoven, the spider, the damnation of Faust —
just make it, babe, make it:
a house a car a belly full of beans
pay your taxes
and if you can’t fuck
make money but don’t work too
hard — make somebody else pay to
make it — and
don’t smoke too much but drink enough to
stay off the streets
wipe your ass real good
use a lot of toilet paper
it’s bad manners to let people know you shit or
could smell like it
if you weren’t
Cut While Shaving
It’s never quite right, he said, the way people look,
the way the music sounds, the way the words are
It’s never quite right, he said, all the things we are
taught, all the loves we chase, all the deaths we
die, all the lives we live,
they are never quite right,
they are hardly close to right,
these lives we live
one after the other,
piled there as history,
the waste of the species,
the crushing of the light and the way,
it’s not quite right,
it’s hardly right at all
don’t I know it? I
I walked away from the mirror.
it was morning, it was afternoon, it was
it was locked in place.
something flashed, something broke, something
I walked down the stairway and
For Jane: With All The Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough
I pick up the skirt,
I pick up the sparkling beads
this thing that moved once
and I call God a liar,
I say anything that moved
could never die
in the common verity of dying,
and I pick
up her lovely
all her loveliness gone,
and I speak to all the gods,
Jewish gods, Christ-gods,
chips of blinking things,
idols, pills, bread,
rats in the gravy of 2 gone quite mad
without a chance,
hummingbird knowledge, hummingbird chance,
I lean upon this,
I lean on all of this
and I know:
her dress upon my arm:
they will not
give her back to me.
against the wall, the firing squad ready.
then he got a reprieve.
suppose they had shot Dostoevsky?
before he wrote all that?
I suppose it wouldn’t have
there are billions of people who have
never read him and never
but as a young man I know that he
got me through the factories,
past the whores,
lifted me high through the night
and put me down
in a better
even while in the bar
drinking with the other
I was glad they gave Dostoevsky a
it gave me one,
allowed me to look directly at those
in my world,
death pointing its finger,
I held fast,
an immaculate drunk
sharing the stinking dark with
I’m In Love
she’s young, she said,
but look at me,
I have pretty ankles,
and look at my wrists, I have pretty
o my god,
I thought it was all working,
and now it’s her again,
every time she phones you go crazy,
you told me it was over
you told me it was finished,
listen, I’ve lived long enough to become a
why do you need a bad woman?
you need to be tortured, don’t you?
you think life is rotten if somebody treats you
rotten it all fits,
tell me, is that it? do you want to be treated like a
piece of shit?
and my son, my son was going to meet you.
I told my son
and I dropped all my lovers.
I stood up in a cafe and screamed
I’M IN LOVE,
and now you’ve made a fool of me. . .
I’m sorry, I said, I’m really sorry.
hold me, she said, will you please hold me?
I’ve never been in one of these things before, I said,
these triangles. . .
she got up and lit a cigarette, she was trembling all
over.she paced up and down,wild and crazy.she had
a small body.her arms were thin,very thin and when
she screamed and started beating me I held her
wrists and then I got it through the eyes:hatred,
centuries deep and true.I was wrong and graceless and
sick.all the things I had learned had been wasted.
there was no creature living as foul as I
and all my poems were