Sunday, August 16, 2009
CHARLES BUKOWSKI b AUGUST 16 1920
"I ran like hell toward my room hoping that there would be some wine left in that huge jug on the table. I didn't think I'd be that lucky, though, because I am too much a saga of a certain type of person: fuzzy blackness, impractical meditations and repressed desires."
i don't remember what got me to read bukowski for the first time. i do know that i'd read everything by him before i went to new college & i also know that i found his stuff to be very real. he didn't seem to have any self-editing skills or impulses & so you got everything, warts & all. that meant sometimes badly written, maudlin or simply flat, prose & poetry but when he hit it on the head, it was real & true. the first three novel(post office, factotum, women)were the best. the early poetry was better than the later but you could still find good stuff even towards the end. i think only undergraduates caught up in the silly romanticism of abjection would think that bukowski is a serious canon candidate. he's no kafka or hamsun, no new ground being broken w/this work. this doesn't mean he's not a great read.
shit-ass willard caught the buk-bug from me & wanted to stay at the hummingbird hotel in new orleans when we were there on a trip. you paid 25cents & they gave you a chair, which you took into a large room w/ropes strung up all over the place. the idea was to hook your arms over the rope while sitting in the chair & go to sleep. the room had upwards of 50 other men in there & smelled pretty much like what you'd imagine a room full of 50 wine-o's would smell. i vetoed this idea & we got a quality court room on rampart. i pointed out to ed that bukowski lived the way he did because he had to live that way. we didn't, simple as that. this didn't preclude drunken craziness, bad women choices, grotesque hangovers, hard assed cops & bewildering emergency rooms visits from making appearances in our lives. they did, sometimes w/alarming frequency, but we didn't have to hang from ropes while it was happening.
beyond that, i can't say this is a guy i'd want to sit & drink with. i KNOW he wouldn't want to drink w/me, even though i'd probably pay. i seem to recall willard made a pilgrimage to see him down in l.a. while he was still living. ed showed up w/a case of beer & claudia willens(who had very large breasts)on his arm. bukowski didn't let them cross his lawn. "get out, get away," he screamed at them from his front porch, standing barefoot in a dingy bathrobe. they did too. they got away.
lots to be found on the the man & his work here.