Greatest Dead Angelenos #10 Charles Bukowski

The Only Way I Think I Can Do This One.

Bukowski, you mad bastard,
how did you do it?

careening through Los Angeles
writing songs to the unsung
Van Gogh
painting potato eaters
with words for paint
and whores for farmers

they saved the Post Office
years and years of disgruntled Hank
when Black Sparrow paid for your pen
100 dollars a month for the rest of your life
to type out the sickness that stuck
in your head

that other guy

with the gun

do you think he could have been saved?

the place where you lived then
the year I was born
where you ate,
and shat,
and fucked,
they want to turn it into a historic landmark
while video tapes of “Barfly” sell for hundreds on eBay

I can see you laughing

great beast of a man

then reaching for a drink

and clinking the ice

I doubt I’ll get famous
in Europe
for writing this Blog Post
I doubt Parisian girls
will line up to tell me
“I loved your entry
on Metblogs
to Bukowski.”
but Parisian girls are strange
it’s hard to say

they would have for you

but that’s not the point
and you know it
the point is

we could have partied, you and I

you’d have beat the shit out of me
and I’d have kicked you in the balls
but it wouldn’t matter
we’d just get up later and drink more

though you were recommended to me years before
before, even, the cancer took you
I’m glad I didn’t find your words until after
I quit drinking
because I think you might have
killed me

even if you were already dead by then

you mad fuck

12 thoughts on “Greatest Dead Angelenos #10 Charles Bukowski”

  1. Rob,

    What do you know about “‘marginally talented'”, as you allude above, when the best you can do is offer the bleeding obvious in respect to an article that anyone able to wield a fat crayon could have accidentally proffered?

    To wit:

    “Fuck this shit.
    Posted by: RobNoxious at October 18, 2007 01:33 PM”

  2. Heh. Nice try, ‘Tard.

    It’s called “context.” Try operating within it.

    Then again, hate to tax your abilities that way.

  3. For the record I’m the “marginally talented” one. I’m the one that wrote the piece on Bukowski that BusTard linked to in the above.

    I’m sorry. I’ve never got the whole Bukowski thing, if you write three million poems a couple of them are bound to be good.

    I know he gives hope to millions of people past their prime that maybe one day it will happen.

    I hate people whose dream is that someone will discover them and give them money to create art, what the heck is that?

    Also Buk tries to paint himself as working class. He wasn’t working class. He was one of those bum art type people. Working class people get a job and keep it. His eleven year stint at the post office (what was he doing finding himself, oh yeah he was drinking for majority of his young adult life, possibly this is why his writing career took so long to take off, but the working class spin, that’s a rich story for the his biographers) in his late 30s-late 40s, well I read his history and working class people make an effort to keep their freakin job.

    I hate welfare art. I hate people who want welfare to create their art. I hate people who need welfare to create their “art.”

    Art is created out of working and life. It comes out of living, not avoiding responsibility.

    Nothing fun comes out of people with benefactors. Whether it be the gov’t or some surgar daddy or mama.

    The writers I enjoy had a good day job hustle. Working at the gas station is not a good day job hustle. It shows a lack of creativity and initiative.

    Even Mark Twain had a good day job hustle.

    But this hope to millions who want to simply not create a vehicle, not have a job, but just do art. Does him being proof that the dream of the lazy can come true. Does that make him ok?

    I don’t know.

    Dorothy Parker, Anais Nin, Jack Smith all of these great LA writers and everyone always goes back to that thing, Bukowski.

    I respect everyone’s opinion and all, but I just sometimes like being obnoxious because people who like Buk are kind of similar to Brittany Spears fans in enthusiasm.

    And you can’t say anything about him even kind of wrong or people almost have a fit.

    Why don’t people like Hemmingway on the level they like Bukowski? I know there was a period that everyone hated Hemmingway, but his work speaks for itself.

    Bukowski I don’t know if his work will stand one hundred years from now…


  4. Our Haunts of a Dirty Old Man bus tour is coming up again next Saturday, if you’re curious about Bukowski’s life and work in LA and the class issues raised. It’s co-hosted this time by “Bukowski: Born Into This” filmmaker John Dullaghan, who knew him well.

  5. Rob,

    I see you are again exhibiting the very sledgehammer wit to which I alluded. Had I a nickel for every nitwit that detourned BusTard, I would own the National Treasury.
    Trust me, friend: stick to juvenile remarks rather than attempting to be witty with winged things.

  6. ‘Tard, keep linking to folks as commentary and maybe one day you really will be able to play with the big kids.

    If I cared, I might give more effort toward you, but keep trying, junior. You’re adorable, really. Still, learn to keep things in context.

    I can see where the sponsored nature of Buk’s situation could anger you at his historians. Indeed, the almost hysteric reaction to criticism of the guy is almost hilarious.

    I’m not in that camp.

    He was a drunk. Really, that’s all I knew about him at all when I started reading his poetry, almost by accident, and what I read moved me to tears.

    Welfare art, not welfare art, I really don’t give a shit, I know what touches me.

    See, I used to be a drunk. I also come from a almost unbelievably poor background, and through my own sweat, have managed to do all right. So, if Buk taking the money and running doesn’t offend me, I’m not sure why it pisses you off so much.

    I can see your point about straight hand-outs not really servicing the art they’re supposed to promote, though Patrons have sponsored artists since before people started writing history down.

    Frankly, in its context, I can appreciate the article you wrote on Bukowski, and using him as an example on something larger you dislike, though I disagree with a large part of it. Also, knocking blind fanatics down about any point is something I endorse.

    My response, and all of my responses on this comment page, came with a large smirk on my face. Bustard’s initial comment was gauche and out of place, whether he was the author or not. I’m not outraged by it, it doesn’t warrant anything close to a considered response, but a quick snide comment…well, that’s always fun. Especially when you know exactly how the troll will respond. Really, it’s like a rat in a maze.

    And while I should be over this game by now, simple as it is, it’s still fun. I have no remorse manipulating someone tacky enough to leave disparaging remarks on a dead man’s tribute page. You don’t like the guy, fine. Even should you object to his placement on the line up, a little more tact would seem appropriate. So would using one’s own words; finding out he just linked someone who actually writes really shouldn’t surprise me.

    Still, tacky, not something that infuriates. I should type up an outline of what his next response will be, and e-mail it to him when he makes it, with a time stamp on it.

    But, I digress. Browne, I appreciate your coming here to “defend” your work, though it’s not really under attack. I disagree with many points but it’s not a matter of passion for me. At least the “welfare art” aspect of it isn’t. And you at least have the sense to not troll a dead man’s blog tribute.

    Incidentally, should Hemingway ever come under attack and need defending, consider me a brother in arms. I’m quite fond of Bukowski, he staggered his way to some things I find very moving, but Hemingway? I’ll go to the mat for Hemingway. Indeed, no less than a genius and tantamount to a Deity, that one.

    And ‘Tard, you’re just so fucking cute! Oh!

  7. “But, I digress. Browne, I appreciate your coming here to “defend” your work, though it’s not really under attack.” Robnoxious

    No I wasn’t defending my work (I actually thought your comments were kind of funny, but I think anytime you include the phrase marginally talented you should add an a** on the bottom of it. It just rolls off the tongue better.) I just wanted everyone to be sure that the obnoxious bastard was me and not BusTard. When I’m being a jerk I want to get credit for it.

    It bothers me that within our working relationship people think BusTard is the obnoxious one.

    It’s all me.

    I’m the brains behind the horror. He is just more instantly rude.

    I totally get that you were just stating your opinion. I hope you get in a way by talking crap about Bukowski I am honoring him. He would have appreciated it I think much more than people saying he’s awesome.

    When Bukowski said “don’t try” he meant just f*cking do it.

    I think the thing that bothers me about most Bukowski people is that they are “tryers,” while I have little appreciation for most of his work though I do like some of it, I actually tend to actively dislike the lazy writer types who tend to like him and don’t get him at all.

    I think sometimes my commentary on Bukowski is similar to people’s commentary on Christianity. It’s not that Jesus was a bad guy, but the people who follow him, well they completely missed the point and turned something very cool thing into this club like, simplified, evangelized, 1950s stepford wife kind of thing.

    I’m very into killing groupthink, even if it’s cool eastsidey groupthink.


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