Happy Birthday To the One Who Keeps Me from Madness

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” I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”

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.

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?