Category Archives: Charles Bukowski

writer’s block by Charles Bukowski

Today’s poem is about something that plagues me more than I’d like…

 
writer’s block
Charles Bukowski

 
the typewriter sits silent, it’s as if you’ve
been betrayed, it’s as if a murder has
occurred.
yet words still run through your brain:
“the Spanish bird sings!”
what can
that mean?
at least it’s a ripple, even if unusable.

when will the keys
beat into the
paper
again?
it’s so very easy to die long before the
fact of it.

I look at the machine resting under its black
cover; an unpaid gas bill sleeps on top of
it.

there is a small refrigerator in the
room, it makes the only audible sound
here.

I open it and look inside:
it’s empty.

I sit back down in the chair and wait; then I
decide to fool the
typewriter.

I write this
now
with a ballpoint
pen
in a red
notebook;
I am sneaking up on a poem;
there will soon be something for that
frigging
typewriter
to do!

there is a French expression, “without
literature
life is hell.”

the glory and power of that!

now let the Spanish bird sing!

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Filed under American Poetry, Charles Bukowski, Favorites, Poetry

Charles Bukowski reading dinosauria, we

Back when I was a bachelorette, living solo in my happenin’ pad somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time indulging myself in my love of poetry.  One of the poets that I read A LOT during that time is a poet that I’ve talked about in this blog before.  Charles Bukowski.  I will always be in debt to my brother for introducing me to his work and now, maybe, hopefully, I am sharing him with someone else for the first time.

dinosauria, we is one of my absolute favorites.  I first stumbled across it while watching the Bukowski documentary – Born Into This.

I hope that this poem gets you totally revved up for this beautiful December weekend.

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Good Poems collected by Garrison Keillor


What do I miss the most about working in a bookstore?  Besides the fact that I was surrounded by books all day long, I would have to say that I most miss browsing books when business got really, really slow.  I was able to build up quite a wish list while working there — and I fully utilized my employee discount on a weekly basis.

One of the books that I acquired while working at Waldenbooks was Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.  At the time,  I just really wanted to find NEW poets to sink my teeth into.  The title of this book is spot on, as well.  All of the poems (and poets) featured between its covers are exceptional. Each page exposes you to a special piece of art.

I am especially fond of the dedication page – To all the English teachers, especially the great ones.  While I value all of the teachers that taught me over the years (well, okay, MOST of them), all of my English teachers (well, okay, MOST of them) will forever hold a special place in my heart.  When I did bond with a teacher, it was always an English teacher, and I credit them for exposing me to great literature and for always encouraging me in my writing.

So, here are a few good poems, as chosen by Garrison Keillor first and then by me, now…


since feeling is first
e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

where we are
Gerald Locklin

(for edward field)

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the change that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

the last song
Charles Bukowski

driving the freeway while
listening to the Country and Western boys
sing about a broken heart
and the honky-tonk blues,
it seems that things just don’t work
most of the time
and when they do it will be for a
short time
only.
well, that’s not news.
nothing’s news.
it’s the same old thing in
disguise.
only one thing comes without a
disguise and you only see it
once, or
maybe never.
like getting hit by a freight
train.
makes us realize that all our
moaning about long lost girls
in gingham dresses
is not so important
after
all.

Buy these good poems (and many more) on Amazon.

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Filed under Charles Bukowski, Collections, e.e. cummings, Gerald Locklin, Poetry

More Charles Bukowski

A few years ago, there was a night where I felt very, very lonely.  In an attempt to do something, I hopped into the car and drove down to Borders with the intention of just browsing.  Before calling it a night, and not feeling any better, I swung by the poetry section and looked through the Bukowski books.  While looking, I found it quite fitting to find a collection entitled You Get so Alone at Times that it Just Makes Sense.

So, for the second time in my life, I turned to a book of Bukowski poems for comfort, understanding, and, hopefully, peace.  Here are some of the poems from this collection.


friends within the darkness

I can remember starving in a
small room in a strange city
shades pulled down, listening to
classical music
I was young I was so young that it hurt like a knife
inside
because there was no alternative except to hide as long
as possible –
not in a self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance:
trying to connect.

the old composers – Mozart, Bach, Beethoven,
Brahms were the only ones who spoke to me and
they were dead.

finally, starved and beaten, I had to go into
the streets to be interviewed for low-paying and
monotonous
jobs
by strange men behind desks
men would take my hours
break them
piss on them.

now I work for the editors the readers the
critics

but still hang around and drink with
Mozart, Bach, Brahms, and the
Bee
some buddies
some men
sometimes all we need to be able to continue alone
are the dead
rattling the walls
that close us in.


drive through hell

the people are weary, unhappy and frustrated, the people are
bitter and vengeful, the people are deluded and fearful, the
people are angry and uninventive
and I drive among them  on the freeway as they project
what is left of themselves in the manner of their driving –
some more hateful, more thwarted than others –
some don’t like to be passed, some attempt, to keep others
from passing
– some attempt to block lane changes
– some hate cars of the newer, more expensive model
– others in these cars hate the older cars.

the freeway is a circus of cheap and petty emotions, it’s
humanity on the move, most of them coming from some place
they
hated and going to another place they hate just as much or
more.
the freeways are a lesson in what we have become and
most of the crashes and deaths are the collision
of incomplete beings, of pitiful and demented
lives.

when I drive the freeways I see the soul of humanity of
my city and it’s ugly, ugly, ugly: the living have choked the
heart
away.

Buy this book on Amazon.

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Filed under Charles Bukowski, Favorites, Poetry

A poem from the book that I slept with

 

 


It’s nothing exceptional that I’ve experienced a broken heart.  Multiple times.  Not only over failed relationships, but that is the circumstance that we most commonly think of when we think of a broken heart.  We all have different ways that we deal with the garbage that life throws at us (or, more appropriately stated, that we get ourselves into), some healthy and some… not so much.

So, a few years ago, trying to put myself back together after the most recent heartbreak, I turned to the two things that any literature-loving crazy person would turn to – poetry and vodka.  I like to call this summer my “out of control” summer, because, well, I was a little out of control.  When you reach a certain depth in your sadness, your ability to think long-term gets trumped by the need to find instantaneous comfort, understand, and, sometimes, oblivion.

Not everything that came out of that summer was positive, but I did come to fully appreciate Charles Bukowski, a writer that my brother admired way before I was old enough to “get it”.  The above photo is a picture that my brother sent to me via text while he was in California one year.  Possibly even during my “out of control” summer.

I was specifically drawn to Love is a Dog From Hell, because it is, isn’t it?  I tore through the poems one, two, three, dozens of times, savoring each word as though it were the most honest word that anyone ever wrote.  I didn’t have anyone else to cuddle, so I cuddled this book.  I wrapped myself around its spine, allowing the pages to know me in the vulnerability, the purity, of the fetal position.  In many ways, this collection of poems were the significant other that I was lacking – hating, but wanting.

the beautiful young girl
walking past the graveyard–

I stop my car at the signal
I see her walking past the graveyard –

as she walks past the iron fence
I can see the iron fence
and I see the headstones
and the green lawn.

her body moves in front of the iron fence
the headstones do not move.

I think,
doesn’t anybody else see this?

I think,
does she see those headstones?

if she does
she has wisdom that I don’t have
for she appears to ignore them.

her body moving in its
magic fluid
and her long hair is lighted
by the 3 p.m. sun.

the signal changes
she crosses the street to the west
I drive west.

I drive my car down to the ocean
get out
and run up and down
in front of the sea for 35 minutes.

seeing people here and there
and eyes and ears and toes
and various other parts.

nobody seems to care.

 

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Filed under Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog From Hell, Poetry