Charles Bukowski

POEMS



  1. relentless as the tarantula

    they're not going to let you
    sit at a front table
    at some cafe in Europe
    in the mid-afternoon sun.
    if you do, somebody's going to
    drive by and
    spray your guts with a
    submachine gun.

    they're not going to let you
    feel good
    for very long
    anywhere.
    the forces aren't going to
    let you sit around
    fucking-off and
    relaxing.
    you've got to go
    their way.

    the unhappy, the bitter and
    the vengeful
    need their
    fix - which is
    you or somebody
    anybody
    in agony, or
    better yet
    dead, dropped into some
    hole.

    as long as there are
    humans about
    there is never going to be
    any peace
    for any individual
    upon this earth or
    anywhere else
    they might
    escape to.

    all you can do
    is maybe grab
    ten lucky minutes
    here
    or maybe an hour
    there.

    something
    is working toward you
    right now, and
    I mean you
    and nobody but
    you.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. the new place

    I type at a window that faces the street
    on ground level and
    if I fall out
    the worst that can happen is a dirty shirt
    under a tiny banana tree.

    as I type people go by
    mostly women
    and I sit in my shorts
    (without top)
    and going by they
    can't be sure I am not entirely
    naked. so
    I get these faces
    which pretend they don't see
    anything
    but I think they do:
    they see me as I
    sweat the poem like beating an
    ugly hog to death
    as the sun begins to fail over
    Sunset Blvd.
    over the motel sign
    where hot sweaty people from
    Arkansas and Iowa
    pay too much to sleep while
    dreaming of movie stars.
    there is a religionist next door
    and he plays his radio loud
    and it seems to have
    very good tubes
    so I am getting the
    message.
    and there's a white cat
    chewed-up and neurotic
    who calls 2 or 3 times a day
    eats and leaves
    but just looking at him
    lifts the soul a little
    like something on strings.
    and the same young man from the nudist
    magazine phones and we talk
    and I get the idea
    that we each hang up
    mildly thinking each other
    somewhat the fool.

    now the woman calls me to dinner.
    it's good to have food.
    when you've starved enough
    food always remains a
    miracle.
    the rent is a little higher here
    but so far I've been able to
    pay it
    and that's a miracle too
    like still maybe being sane
    while thinking of guns and sidewalks
    and old ladies in libraries.
    there are still
    small things to do
    like rip this sheet from the typer
    go in and eat
    stay alive this way.
    there are lots of curtains here
    and now the woman has walked in
    she's rocking back and forth
    in the rocker behind me
    a bit angry
    the food is getting cold and
    I've got to go
    she doesn't understand that
    I've got to finish this thing
    but it's just a poor little neighborhood
    not much place for Art,
    whatever that is, and
    I hear sprinklers
    there's a shopping basket
    a boy on roller skates.
    I quit I quit

    for the miracle of food and
    maybe nobody ever angry
    again, this place and
    all the other places.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. the crunch

    Too much
    too little
    or not enough

    too fat
    too thin
    or nobody

    laughter or
    tears
    or immaculate
    non-concern

    haters
    lovers

    armies running through streets of blood
    waving winebottles
    bayoneting and fucking virgins

    or an old guy in a cheap room
    with a photograph of Marilyn Monroe

    many old guys in cheap rooms without
    any photographs at all

    many old women rubbing rosaries
    when they'd prefer to be rubbing cocks

    there is a loneliness in this world so great
    that you can see it in the slow movements of
    the hands of a clock

    there is a loneliness in this world so great
    that you can see it blinking in neon signs
    in Vegas, in Baltimore, in Munich

    there are people so tired
    so strafed
    so mutilated by love or no
    love
    that buying a bargain can of tuna
    in a supermarket
    is their greatest moment
    their greatest victory

    we don't need new governments
    new revolutions
    we don't need new men
    new women
    we don't need new ways
    wife-swaps
    waterbeds
    good Columbian
    coke
    water pipes
    dildoes
    rubbers with corkscrew stems
    watches that give you the date

    people are not good to each other
    one on one.
    Marx be damned
    the sin is not the totality of certain systems.
    Christianity be damned
    the sin is not the killing of a God.

    people are just not good to each other.

    we are afraid
    we think that hatred means strength
    we think that New York City is the greatest
    city in America.

    what we need is less brilliance
    what we need is less instruction

    what we need are less poets
    what we need are less Bukowskies
    what we need are less Billy Grahams

    what we need is more
    beer
    a typist
    more finches
    more green-eyed whores who don't eat your heart
    like a vitamin pill

    we don't think about the terror of one person
    aching in one place

    alone
    untouched
    unspoken to
    watering a plant
    being without a telephone that will never
    ring
    because there isn't one.

    more haters than lovers

    slices of doom like taffeta

    people are not good to each other
    people are not good to each other
    people are not good to each other

    and the beads swing and the clouds cloud
    and the dogs piss upon the roses
    and the killer beheads the child like taking a bite
    out of an ice cream cone
    and the ocean comes in and out
    in and out
    under the direction of a senseless moon

    and people are not good to each other.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. the lucky ones

    stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m., stop, then
    first gear, then stop, these are the lucky ones, these
    are the employed, most with their radios on while lighting
    cigarettes, trying not to think.

    this is a large portion of our civilization and as beings
    once lived in trees and caves now they very often live
    inside of automobiles upon freeways

    as the world news is heard over and over, the popular
    songs, the rock songs, the love songs, all the songs,
    love songs, love love love as
    we shift from first gear to neutral and back to first.

    there's a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane, hood up,
    he's standing up against the freeway fence
    a newspaper over his head in the rain

    the other cars force around his car, pull into the next
    lane against cars determined to shut them off.

    in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
    police car with red and blue lights blinking -- this one
    can't be a speeding ticket as

    suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
    cars stop and

    even with the windows up I can smell somebody's clutch
    burning out

    hope it's not mine as

    the wall of water diminishes and we go back to first
    gear as we are a long way from Johnny Carson's monologue
    tonight
    we are a long way away from anything as I have memorized
    the shape of the car in front of me and the shape of the
    driver's head
    what
    I can see of it from above the headrest of his seat and
    his license number: STK 405 and his bumper sticker:
    HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR RAT TODAY?

    suddenly I have the urge to urinate while 17 miles from
    where I live as another wall of water comes down and the
    man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent
    chance of showers tomorrow night.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. Metamorphosis

    a girlfriend came in
    built me a bed
    scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor
    scrubbed the walls
    vacuumed
    cleaned the toilet
    the bathtub
    scrubbed the bathroom floor
    and cut my toenails and
    my hair.

    then
    all on the same day
    the plumber came and fixed the kitchen faucet
    and the toilet
    and the gas man fixed the heater
    and the phone man fixed the phone.

    noe I sit in all this perfection.

    it is quiet.

    I have broken off with all 3 of my girlfriends.

    I felt better when everything was in
    disorder.

    it will take me some months to get back to normal:
    I can't even find a roach to commune with.

    I have lost my rythm.

    I can't sleep.

    I can't eat.

    I have been robbed of
    my filth.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. Hooray Say The Roses

    hooray say the roses, today is blamesday
    and we are red as blood.


    hooray say the roses, today is Wednesday
    and we bloom wher soldiers fell
    and lovers too,
    and the snake at the word.


    hooray say the roses, darkness comes
    all at once, like lights gone out,
    the sun leaves dark continents
    and rows of stone.


    hooray say the roses, cannons and spires,
    birds, bees, bombers, today is Friday
    the hand holding a medal out the window,
    a moth going by, half a mile an hour,
    hooray hooray
    hooray say the roses
    we have empires on our stems,
    the sun moves the mouth:
    hooray hooray hooray
    and that is why you like us.
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson


  1. Bluebird by Charles Bukowski

    there’s a bluebird in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I’m too tough for him,
    I say, stay in there, I’m not going
    to let anybody see
    you.

    there’s a bluebird in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
    cigarette smoke
    and the whores and the bartenders
    and the grocery clerks
    never know that
    he’s
    in there.

    there’s a bluebird in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I’m too tough for him,
    I say,
    stay down, do you want to mess
    me up?
    you want to screw up the
    works?
    you want to blow my book sales in
    Europe?

    there’s a bluebird in my heart that
    wants to get out
    but I’m too clever, I only let him out
    at night sometimes
    when everybody’s asleep.
    I say, I know that you’re there,
    so don’t be
    sad.
    then I put him back,
    but he’s singing a little
    in there, I haven’t quite let him
    die
    and we sleep together like
    that
    with our
    secret pact
    and it’s nice enough to
    make a man
    weep, but I don’t
    weep, do
    you?
    Charles Bukowski
    Charles Baudelaire
    Charles Dickens
    Charles Manson