Contribution to Voyagers “Poetry in Motion” Series from the 1990’s
By Charles Bukowki
“Reading the poets has been the dullest of things. Even reading the great novelists of the past, I said, “Tolstoy is supposed to be special?” I go to bed, I read War and Peace. I read it, I read it, I say, “Where is the specialist in War and Peace?” I really tried to understand. I mean, and then many of the great poets of the past, I’ve read their stuff. I’ve read it. All I get is a goddamn headache and boredom. I really feel sickness in the pit of my stomach, I say “There’s some trick going on here, this is not true. This is not real, its not good.”
You see poetry itself contains as much energy as a Hollywood industry. As much energy as a stage play on Broadway. All it needs is practitioners who are alive to bring it alive. Poetry has always been said to be a private, hidden art. Not to be appreciated. The reason it’s not appreciated is because it hasn’t shown any guts, hasn’t shown any dance. Hasn’t shown any moxie. Poetry is generally very dull, very pretensive. Uh, those who say the poet is very private and precious person, I don’t agree with. Generally, he is just a dumb, fiddling asshole writing insecure lines that don’t come through, believing he’s immortal, waiting for his immortality which never arrives. Because the poor fucker just can’t write. Most poets, coets, whoets, carrots, can’t even write a simple line. Like, “The dog walked down the street.”Nothing should ever be done that should be done. It has to come out like a good hot beer shit. A good hot beer shit is glorious man. You get up, turn around, look at it and your proud. The fumes, the stink of the turd, you look, you say, “God, I did it. I’m good.” Then you flush it away and there is a sense of sadness when just the water is there. It’s like writing a good poem, you just do it. You, its a beer shit. There’s nothing to analyze, nothing to say it’s just done. Got it?
I really hate reading verse because you’re really getting up there. You’ve written poems that you really meant alone, you know, by you’re typewriter, then there’s crowd out there drinking beer and all that. And you’re reading it to them. The writer has no responsibility. Except to jack off and bed (vet?) alone and type a good page. I continued writing even though it came back and got drunk for 10 years. I felt there was nothing out there. So I had to continue because they were so bad, not because I was so good. And I’m still not so good, but they’re still very bad. There is still room for somebody to step in here you see, and I hope he arrives or she.
That should be enough right there, with that bottle of 55 poets, that should cure them. With their melody but it wont. Goodnight, goodbye, and happy reading.