Bukowski Mondays: White Dog

I went for a walk on Hollywood Boulevard.
I looked down and there was a large white dog
walking beside me.
his pace was exactly the same as mine.
we stopped at traffic signals together.
we crossed the side streets together.
a woman smiled at us.
he must have walked 8 blocks with me.
then I went into a grocery store and
when I came out he was gone.
or she was gone.
the wonderful white dog
with a trace of yellow in its fur.
the large blue eyes were gone.
the grinning mouth was gone.
the lolling tongue was gone.

things are so easily lost.
things just can’t be kept forever.

I got the blues.
I got the blues.
that dog loved and
trusted me and
I let it walk away.

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Bukowski Mondays: Dead

he wrote a joyous and mad
novel about unbelievable and
romantic episodes
and his words danced with
laughter and mockery and
gamble.

the novel made him
famous and he went on
to write others but none
like the first.

then he stopped
writing, came here from
his native land
and became a professor
at a southern
university.

he wears his suit, his
tie, his dignity
as tokens of
respectability
as his students wait
for him to go wild,
to break down the
walls,
to smash glass,
precedence,
minds.

but the semesters
pass, quiet
seasons.

R.I.P.

Bukowski Mondays: Cows In Art Class

good weather
is like
good women-
it doesn’t always happen
and when it does
it doesn’t
always last.
man is
more stable:
if he’s bad
there’s more chance
he’ll stay that way,
or if he’s good
he might hang
on,
but a woman
is changed
by
children
age
diet
conversation
sex
the moon
the absence or
presence of sun
or good times.
a woman must be nursed
into subsistence
by love
where a man can become
stronger
by being hated.
I am drinking tonight in Spangler’s Bar
and I remember the cows
I once painted in Art class
and they looked good
they looked better than anything
in here. I am drinking in Spangler’s Bar
wondering which to love and which
to hate, but the rules are gone:
I love and hate only
myself-
they stand outside me
like an orange dropped from the table
and rolling away; it’s what I’ve got to
decide:
kill myself or
love myself?
which is the treason?
where’s the information
coming from?
books…like broken glass:
I wouldn’t wipe my ass with ‘em
yet, it’s getting
darker, see?
(we drink here and speak to
each other and
seem knowing.)
buy the cow with the biggest
tits
buy the cow with the biggest
rump.
present arms.
the bartender slides me a beer
it runs down the bar
like an Olympic sprinter
and the pair of pliers that is my hand
stops it, lifts it,
golden piss of dull temptation,
I drink and
stand there
the weather bad for cows
but my brush is ready
to stroke up
the green grass straw eye
sadness takes me all over
and I drink the beer straight down
order a shot
fast
to give me the guts and the love to
go
on.


Appears in Poems Written Before Jumping Out Of An 8 Story Window, 1968 and The Roominghouse Madrigals, 1988

Bukowski Mondays: quiet clean girls in gingham dresses

all I’ve ever known are whores, ex-prostitutes,
madwomen. I see men with quiet,
gentle women ­ I see them in the supermarkets,
I see them walking down the streets together,
I see them in their apartments: people at
peace, living together. I know that their
peace is only partial, but there is
peace, often hours and days of peace.

all I’ve ever known are pill freaks, alcoholics,
whores, ex-prostitutes, madwomen.

when one leaves
another arrives
worse than her predecessor.

I see so many men with quiet clean girls in
gingham dresses
girls with faces that are not wolverine or
predatory.

“don’t ever bring a whore around,” I tell my
few friends, “I’ll fall in love with her.”

“you couldn’t stand a good woman, Bukowski.”

I need a good woman. I need a good woman
more than I need this typewriter, more than
I need my automobile, more than I need
Mozart; I need a good woman so badly that I
can taste her in the air, I can feel her
at my fingertips, I can see sidewalks built
for her feet to walk upon,
I can see pillows for her head,
I can feel my waiting laughter,
I can see her petting a cat,
I can see her sleeping,
I can see her slippers on the floor.

I know that she exists
but where is she upon this earth
as the whores keep finding me?

Bukowski Mondays on a Tuesday: Be Kind

we are always asked
to understand the other person’s
viewpoint
no matter how
out-dated
foolish or
obnoxious.

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
with
kindliness,
especially if they are
aged.

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
badly
because they have
lived
out of focus,
they have refused to
see.

not their fault?

whose fault?
mine?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
fear.

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life

among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives

is.

Bukowski Mondays on a Wednesday: The Strongest of the Strange

You won’t see them often
for wherever the crowd is
they
are not.

These odd ones, not
many,
but from them
come
the few
good paintings
the few
good symphonies
the few
good books
and other
works.

And from the
best of the
strange ones,
perhaps
nothing.

They are
their own
paintings
their own
books
their own
music
their own
work.

Sometimes I think
I see
them—say
a certain old
man
sitting on a
certain bench
in a certain
way

or
a quick face
going the other
way
in a passing
automobile

or there’s a certain motion
of the hands
of a bag-boy or a bag-
girl
while packing
supermarket
groceries.

Sometimes
it is even somebody
you have been
living with
for some
time—
you will notice
a
lightning quick
glance
never seen
from them
before.

Sometimes
you will only note
their
existence
suddenly
in
vivid
recall
some months
some years
after they are
gone.

I remember
such a
one—
he was about
20 years old
drunk at
10 am.
staring into
a cracked
New Orleans
mirror

face dreaming
against the
walls of
the world

where
did I
go?

Ode to Hank

The one side of his tongue was rough,
downright ugly in its intentions,
yet his other side was less so–
more melancholy.

His words are hard,
rough and raw like his life.
They called him the “Poet Laureate of Skid Row.”
Pimps, whores and penny-pushers were his muse,
the best friend a low life could have.

Most wanted the rawness
every day, all day. I too I must admit.
Yet the tenderness and truth
deep in his alcoholic soul,
I could see a cracked rearview inside
his crustiness.

Such beauty that which comes out
from his rustic hands and deep crevassed face.
His words, like his face, tell of lasting sorrow
that scarred till death.

What beauty.

Bellowing up from the soul of heartache
I see myself in him.
The desire for a loneliness that
lasts a lifetime.
With only my typer,
alcohol and music,
in a room on fire where only the words are left bare.

I read him and I feel whole again.
Knowing that I’m not alone;
that through his own pain
my own seems almost as tolerable.

Bluebirds never left him but
in understanding his madness,
I am able to join him and hopefully
I to wont have to try.

Appears in my collection, Scribbling’s From a Beer-Stained Napkin: Moonlighting Between Heaven & Hell