The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part II: Charles Bukowski

Scuzzy Son-of-a-Bitch #2:

Charles Bukowski

The Messed Up Voice In My Head

(2003)

Literature majors, UC Santa Cruz students, recent college graduates — lend me your ears!  Does this look at all familiar?

Drunk

By James The Poseur Extraordinaire

 

I was drunk.

And the drunk tears streamed down my cheeks

As she walked out the door.

The room was quiet

Except for the sound of the cockroaches scurrying across the walls.

The typewriter sat in the corner surrounded by torn pages

Broken glasses

And empty bottles of rye.

And her suitcase was gone

And she was gone

And the wine was gone.

I went to the liquor store.

I bought a jug a wine and a lotto ticket

And on my way home I thought about her.

My cock got hard.

The End.

 

Young poets, go forth and write your Charles Bukwoski poems.  Scribble them in the margins of your lecture notes, or on the back of the “About The Author” page of your copy of The Bell Jar.  Agonize over whether to end the line with “behind the bar,” or if that should be a separate line altogether.  Carry a designated Poetry Journal with you at all times, and bust it out for a scribbling session every time you find yourself at a coffee drinking establishment.  Write all about The Whore Who Ruined Your Life, or about The Time You Ruined That Whore’s Life.  It’ll be GREAT.  And then, you must STOP.   

It may be be easy to imitate our favorite scuzzy bard, but the time must come where you realize you are not Charles Bukowski, and, though he was no genius, he really had this whole thing nailed.

I was 16 years old.  It was a Thursday evening in May.  I had just finished performing a small part in a school play, and I needed a moment outside.  You see, earlier that afternoon, I had had my heart broken for the second time.  There was no sex involved, nor infidelity, nor broken promises, nor anything else that usually complicates adult break-ups.  The heartbreak I felt was the kind of heartbreak that can only be felt when you’re still relatively innocent.

I saw a crew member reading on a bench.  She asked if I wanted anything to read, and because I wasn’t in the following act, I told her yes, I did.

“Do you like poetry?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“I have a huge book of poetry.”
“By who?”
“Charles Bukowski.”
(pause)
“Okay.”

She handed me a copy of The Night Torn Mad With Foosteps.  I flipped through it and stopped on a poem called “Love Dead Like A Crushed Fly.”  What can I say?  I had found someone with whom I could commiserate.  Of course, I had never been drunk like Charles Bukowksi.  I also hadn’t had as many illicit affairs, or lost as much money on the horses.  Still, somehow, we understood each other.  That weekend I went to Barnes & Noble in hopes that they’d have at least one of his books.  I didn’t find anything that had “Love Dead Like A Crushed Fly,” so, instead, I bought Love Is A Dog From Hell.  It wasn’t until a few months later I finally found a copy of The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps, which I eventually ended up leaving in a college boyfriend’s apartment.  He never brought it back to me, which is strange, because I would bet my life he didn’t keep it because he liked it.  

I’m now 24 years old, and heartbreak isn’t any easier for me than it was eight years ago.  I guess the only advantage that I have now is the ability to look back on what I felt when I was 16 and think to myself, “Well, you thought that would kill you, too, and you were wrong…”.  Experience aside, there’s just as much shit to trudge through, and just as much Charles Bukowski to read.  I find that comforting.

The Shower

By Charles Bukowski

we like to shower afterwards
(I like the water hotter than she)
and her face is always soft and peaceful
and she’ll wash me first
spread the soap over my balls
lift the balls
squeeze them,
then wash the cock:
“hey, this thing is still hard!”
then get all the hair down there,-
the belly, the back, the neck, the legs,
I grin grin grin,
and then I wash her. . .
first the cunt, I
stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her ass
I gently soap up the cunt hairs,
wash there with a soothing motion,
I linger perhaps longer than necessary,
then I get the backs of the legs, the ass,
the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her,
soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck,
the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet,
and then the cunt, once more, for luck. . .
another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter
feeling the good times of love’s miracle
I then get out. . .
it is usually mid-afternoon and quiet,
and getting dressed we talk about what else
there might be to do,
but being together solves most of it
for as long as those things stay solved
in the history of women and
man, it’s different for each-
for me, it’s splendid enough to remember
past the memories of pain and defeat and unhappiness:
when you take it away
do it slowly and easily
make it as if I were dying in my sleep instead of in
my life, amen.
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2 thoughts on “The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part II: Charles Bukowski

  1. beautifully expressed. a great anecdote that to mean can be partly summed up in the words of one of my favorite writers, Harry Crews, “Survival is triumph enough.”

    Thanks for sharing.

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