Charles Bukowski2017-11-18T15:13:51-07:00

Charles Bukowski

16-bit Intel 8088 Chip

With an Apple Macintosh
you can’t run Radio Shack programs
in its disc drive.
nor can a Commodore 64
drive read a file
you have created on an
IBM Personal Computer.
both Kaypro and Osborne computers use
the CP/M operating system
but can’t read each other’s handwriting
for they format (write on) discs in different ways.
the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but
can’t use most programs produced for
the IBM Personal Computer
unless certain
bits and bytes are altered
but the wind still blows over
Savannah
and

8 Count

from my bed
I watch
3 birds
on a telephone
wire.
one flies
off.
then
another.
one is left,
then
it too
is gone.
my typewriter is
tombstone
still.
and I am
reduced to bird
watching.
just thought I’d
let you
know,
fucker.
-8 Count by Charles Bukowski

A Radio With Guts

It was on the second floor on Coronado Street
I used to get drunk
and throw the radio through the window
while it was playing, and, of course,
it would break the glass in the window
and the radio would sit there on the roof
still playing
and I’d tell my woman,
“Ah, what a marvelous radio!”
the next morning I’d take the window
off the hinges
and carry it down the street
to the glass man
who would put in another

A Smile To Remember

we had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, “be happy Henry!”
and she was right: it’s better to be happy if you
can
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn’t
understand what was attacking him

Alone With Everybody

The flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break-
vases against the walls
and the men drink too much
and nobody finds the one
but keep looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.
there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.
nobody ever finds
the one.
the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill
nothing else
fills.
Anonymous submission.

Are Your Drinking?

washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook
out again I write from the bed
as I did last year.
will see the doctor,
Monday.
“yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head
aches and my back hurts.”
“are you drinking?” he will ask.
“are you getting your
exercise, your vitamins?”
I think that I am just ill
with life, the same stale yet
fluctuating
factors. even at the track
I watch the horses run by
and it seems meaningless.
I leave early after buying tickets on the
remaining

As The Sparrow

To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be
young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less

Back To The Machine Gun

I awaken about noon and go out to get the mail
in my old torn bathrobe.
I’m hung over
hair down in my eyes
barefoot
gingerly walking on the small sharp rocks
in my path
still afraid of pain behind my four-day beard.
the young housewife next door shakes a rug
out of her window and sees me:
“hello, Hank!”
god damn! it’s almost like being shot in the ass
with a .22
“hello,” I say
gathering up my Visa card bill, my

Big Night On The Town

Drunk on the dark streets of some city,
it’s night, you’re lost, where’s your
room?
you enter a bar to find yourself,
order scotch and water.
damned bar’s sloppy wet, it soaks
part of one of your shirt
sleeves.
It’s a clip joint-the scotch is weak.
you order a bottle of beer.
Madame Death walks up to you
wearing a dress.
she sits down, you buy her a
beer, she stinks of swamps, presses
a leg against you.
the bar tender sneers.
you’ve got him

Carson McCullers

She died of alcoholism
wrapped in a blanket
on a deck chair
on an ocean
steamer.
all her books of
terrified loneliness
all her books about
the cruelty
of loveless love
were all that was left
of her
as the strolling vacationer
discovered her body
notified the captain
and she was quickly dispatched
to somewhere else
on the ship
as everything
continued just
as
she had written it.
-Carson McCullers by Charles Bukowski

Close To Greatness

at one stage in my life
I met a man who claimed to have
visited Pound at St. Elizabeths.
then I met a woman who not only
claimed to have visited
E.P.
but also to have made love
to him—she even showed
me
certain sections in the
Cantos
where Ezra was supposed to have
mentioned
her.
so there was this man and
this woman
and the woman told me
that Pound had never
mentioned a visit from this
man
and the man claimed that the
lady had had nothing to

Confession

waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the bed
I am so very sorry for
my wife she will see this
stiff white body
shake it once, then
maybe again “Hank!”
Hank won’t answer.
it’s not my death that
worries me, it’s my wife
left with this
pile of nothing. I want to
let her know though
that all the nights
sleeping beside her
even the useless arguments
were things
ever splendid
and the hard words
I ever feared to say
can now be said:
I love you.

Consummation Of Grief

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines…
it matters little
very little love is not

Cows In Art Class

good weather is like
good women- it doesn’t always happen
and when it does it doesn’t
always last.
man is more stable:
if he’s bad
there’s more chance
he’ll stay that way,
or if he’s good
he might hang on,
but a woman is changed
by children age diet
conversation sex
the moon the absence or
presence of sun
or good times.
a woman must be nursed
into subsistence by love
where a man can become
stronger by being hated.

Curtain

The final curtain on one of the longest running
musicals ever, some people claim to have
seen it over one hundred times.
I saw it on the tv news, that final curtain:
flowers, cheers, tears, a thunderous accolade.
I have not seen this particular musical
but I know if I had that I wouldn’t have
been able to bear it, it would have sickened me.
trust me on this, the world and its
peoples and its artful entertainment

Cut While Shaving

It’s never quite right, he said, the way people look,
the way the music sounds, the way the words are
written.
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

Death Wants More Death

Death wants more death, and its webs are full:
I remember my father’s garage, how child-like
I would brush the corpses of flies
from the windows they thought were escape–
their sticky, ugly, vibrant bodies
shouting like dumb crazy dogs against the glass
only to spin and flit
in that second larger than hell or heaven
onto the edge of the ledge,
and then the spider from his dank hole
nervous and exposed the puff of body swelling
hanging there

Decline

Naked along the side of the house,
8 a.m., spreading sesame seed oil
over my body, Jesus, have I come
to this?
I once battled in dark alleys for a
laugh. now I’m not laughing.
I splash myself with oil and wonder,
how many years do you want?
how many days?
my blood is soiled and a dark
angel sits in my brain.
things are made of something and
go to nothing.
I understand the fall of cities, of
nations.
a small plane passes

Eat Your Heart Out

I’ve come by, she says, to tell you
that this is it. I’m not kidding, it’s
over. this is it.
I sit on the couch watching her arrange
her long red hair before my bedroom

mirror. she pulls her hair up and
piles it on top of her head-
she lets her eyes look at my eyes-
then she drops her hair and
lets it fall down in front of her face.
we go to bed and I hold