.......................... .....Charles Bukowski

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bawdy boozey bizarre.... ......see vimeo: 'The Man With the Beautiful Eyes'


From 'FACTOTUM' (going home late from a 12-hour day at work):

"... I always walked to my room, it was six or seven blocks away. The trees along the streets were all alike: small, twisted, half-frozen, leafless. I liked them. I walked along under the cold moon.

That scene in the office stayed with me. Those cigars, the fine clothes. I thought of good steaks, long rides up winding driveways that led to beautiful homes. Ease. Trips to Europe. Fine women. Were they that much more clever than I? The only difference was money, and the desire to accumulate it.

....That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man. I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars a day for weeks at a time in order to have the leisure to write. But starvation, unfortunately, didn't improve art. It only hindered it..."


Indeed. As we well know: virtually every writer of note, and for that matter of no note, is either middle-class or Jewish - neither of which are renowned for their poverty..

Or, with rather less pathos, contrast that against -

From 'Nut Ward Just East of Holywood' in 'TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS' :

"....They all came to see me. There's one guy with a last name like Ranch or Rain, something of the sort, and he's always coming by with his sleeping bags and sad story. He hits between Berkeley and New Orleans. Back and forth. Once every two months. And he writes bad, old-fashioned rondos. And it's a fiver and/or a couple of bucks each time he hits (or as they like to say, "crashes"), plus whatever he eats and drinks. That's all right, I've given away more money than I have cock, but these people have got to realize that I also have some trouble staying alive.

So there's Mad Jimmy and so there's me.

Or there's Maxie. Maxie is going to shut off all the sewers in Los Angeles to help the Cause of the People. Well, it's a damn nice gesture, you've got to admit that. But Maxie, buddy, I say, let me know when you are going to shut off all the sewers. I'm for the People. We've been friends a long time. I'll leave town a week early.

What Maxie doesn't realize is that Causes and Shit are different things. Starve me, but don't cut off my shit and/or shit-disposal unit. I remember once my landlord left town on a nice two week vacation to Hawaii. Okay.

The day after he left town, my toilet stopped. I had my own personal plunger, being very frightened of shit, but I plunged and plunged and it didn't work. You know what that left me.

So I called up my own personal friends, and I'm the type who doesn't have too many personal friends, or if I have them, they don't have toilets let alone telephones ... more often, they don't have anything.

So, I called the one or two who had toilets. They were very nice.

"Sure, Hank, you can shit at my place anytime!"

I didn't take up their invitations. Maybe it was the way they said it. So here was my landlord in Hawail watching the hula girls, and those fucking turds just lay on top of the water and whirled around and looked at me.

So each night I had to shit and then pluck the turds out of water, place them in wax paper and then into a brown paper bag and get into my car and drive around town looking for some place to toss them.

So mostly, double-parked with the motor running, I'd just toss the god-damned turds over some wall, any wall. I tried to be non-prejudiced, but this one Home for the Aged seemed a particularly quiet place and I think I gave them my little brown bag of turds at least three times..."


If you can recover from laughing, here's a Short biog' from the net:

The following note accompanied Charles Bukowski's first published story, in the March-April 1944 issue of Story:

       Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920. His father was California-born, of Polish parentage, and served with the American Army of Occupation in the Rhineland, where he met the author's mother. He was brought to America at the age of two. He attended Los Angeles City College for a couple of years and in the two and one-half years since then he has been a clerk in the postoffice, a stockroom boy for Sears Roebuck, a truck-loader nights in a bakery. He is currently working as a package-wrapper and box-filler in the cellar of a ladies' sportswear shop.

       In Bukowski's 1975 novel Factotum, he describes the experience of his frst publication (calling Story's Whit Burnett "Clay Gladmore"): "Gladmore returned many of my things with personal rejections. True, most of them weren't very long but they did seem kind and they were very encouraging...So I kept him busy with four or five stories a week." On the subject of his first sale, Bukowski wrote, "I got up from the chair still holding my acceptance slip. MY FIRST. Never had the world looked so good, so full of promise." Upon seeing the story in print, however, Bukowski's ebullience disappeared. "Aftermath" had been placed in the end notes, and he felt Burnett had published it only as a curiosity. Feeling humiliated, Bukowski never again submitted anything to Story, and he cut back on his writing. It wasn't until the late 1950s that he resumed writing for publication.



I stumbled on Bukowski - like most of those other 'GREATS' - by sheer fluke. It was actually a John Fante novel 'Ask the Dust' that hit me first. On the cover it said: "Fante had a major effect on me. Fante was my God." CHARLES BUKOWSKI

I thought: who the hell's this Bukowski guy who was so impressed with Fante? So, I sought out his work. After devouring three of his books, it occurred to me that in its way this stuff was as important - admittedly from a less orthodox angle - as, say, Hesse or Camus.

In essence, Bukowski's writings are wild and free, scattered with the filth and dregs of the bohemian life, on streets and in flop-houses, in bars and with whores, drunken brawls, orgies etc... as so 'delicately' portrayed in his cult film 'Barfly' - which is quite tame: despite fights and other hassle, at no time does 'Bukowski' appear in the least angry (as too befits the temperament of his work).

Although other literature occasionally touches these more earthy aspects of the world, they habitually circumvent the detail: the raw, natural, plain portrayal of life as Bukowski relates it - and he does it so easily and spontaneously, so it seems, unperturbed by what a publisher might make of it. Henry Miller is an exception because he done this too - though, gritty as it often is, he did it in a more refined and sophisticated way. Hesse's writings, in contrast, was highly crafted and polished. His grit was less of the outer everyday earth, than of the id, the inner universe we each carry. The differences here are like that between Rimbaud and Betjeman, say, or - for a plainer comparison - between a fabulous old oak chiffonier from a 12th Century French monastry and a gleaming 21st Century sideboard from Harrods. Take your pick - both if you like, why not? I do. Life is short, but 'glimpse what you can' is what I say.

Most literature, though it frequently seems otherwise when skillfully done, is fantasy and make-believe, unreal and fabricated. This is by necessity - since reality, when every trifing detail is examined, can appear dull even when the circumstances described involve dynamic and extraordinary events. Bukowski overcomes this dilemma by selecting, true, but telling it strictly as it is, plain and simple, no fancy work, no dross, just the way it is - or so it seems!

Two fine works of his (predominately autobiographical output) are the fairly comprehensive 'Ham on Rye', and the more famous 'Post Office'. The short stories are similar, like disconnected chapters, as in the aforementioned 'Tales of Ordinary Madness'. Then there's the clips he regularly submitted to 'OPEN CITY' - the rival paper to the 'LA Free Press'... ie, from the 'forward':

"...There was not the tenseness or the careful carving with a bit of a dull blade, that was needed to write something for The Atlantic Monthly. Nor was there any need to simply tap out a flat and careless journalism (er, journalese??). There seemed to be no pressures. Just sit by the window, lift the beer and.... ...A bum off the road brings in a gypsy and his wife and we talk, bullshit, drink half the night. A long-distance telephone operator from Newberg, N.Y., sends me money. She wants me to give up beer and to eat well. I hear from a madman who calls himself 'King Arthur' and lives on Vine St in Holywood, and wants to help me write my column... "

So there we go. And now I'll end this little glimpse at good old CB and his fabulous wayward scripts - in order to bury myself in more of his wild humour and living-life-to-the-full, as they say of bohemian types. He didn't fight drink, he enjoyed it - unlike for me, alcohol didn't incapacitate his brain!

* * * * *

Below is a clip by a fan from: :


I first read Bukowski in the late 70's when I was 16 years old. He had a short story in Hustler called "An Affair Of No Pacticular Importance", a short piece from his novel "Women". It changed my life, and Bukowski's prose and poetry kept me alive for many, many years.

This is "The Genius Of The Crowd", probably one of Buk's 5 most famous (or infamous, if you prefer) poems. He lays it out on the line here.

I miss you, Hank.

The Genius Of The Crowd - by Charles Bukowski

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you to kill anybody not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude they will attempt to destroy anything that differs from their own
not being able to create art they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully they will believe your love incomplete and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art


That poem was written in 1966. And here's a clip from 'Women' I found the other day which made me laugh:

 "I drank my beer and wandered around. I walked out on the back porch, sat on the stoop in the alley and watched a large black cat trying to get into a garbage can. I walked down towards him. He leapt off the garbage can as I approached. He stood 3 or 4 feet away watching me. I took the lid off the garbage can. The stench was horrible. I puked into the can. I dropped the lid on the pavement. The cat leapt up, stood, all four feet together on the rim of the can. He hesitated, then brilliant under a half-moon, he leapt into it all."  


....Cheers...................................--------------------- // ----------------------