Sunday, August 15, 2010


Henry Charles Bukowski would have been 90 today.

Born in Andernach, Germany, Buk was raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for 50 years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five.

During his lifetime, he published more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including the novels Post Office, Factotum, Women, Ham on Rye, and Hollywood.

The Poet Laureate of Skid Row, died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

So to celebrate Hank's birthday, check out this quirky, if not desperate-sounding poem Bukowski wrote to some dame who lifted his papers. Poetry, in fact. It mat not be his best, but I love the brutal honesty of the piece.

It's funny, sad and true all at once. But try not to chuckle... You're reading primal creative frustration. The dude was passionate about his art in an age before floppies and flash drives.

To The Whore Who Took My Poems
some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don't keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn't you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I'm not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won't be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there'll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much

-- Charles Bukowski

Now, enjoy the audio reading...

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  1. hubby is sleeping so I can't do audio; I will try to remember to come back tomorrow.

    Reading it, not as sappy as you think. Dad knew what he was doing. But I don't do poetry very well...nah, that discounts the compliment. Dad knew what he was doing. Take heart in that, Ant.

    Did I ever tell you how much I like coming here? This feels like a haven, whether I comment or not. Nice job.

  2. Don't chuckle when reading a Bukowski poem? I can never help it. He's so wise and disgruntled about it.

  3. "I was only kidding about the hundred," she said

    oh,"I say,"What will it cost me?"

    she lights her cigarette with
    my lighter and looks at me
    through the flame:

    her eyes tell me.

    look,"I say, "I don't think I
    can ever pay that price again."
    CB Love is a Dog From Hell: Poems 1974-1977

    Happy Birthday Hank!


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