Jack and Miles sit on a picnic table, gazing at the ocean.


So you write another one. You’ve got lots of ideas, right?


No, I’m finished. I’m not a writer, I’m a middle-school English teacher. The world doesn’t give a shit what I have to say. I’m unnecessary.

(a dark laugh)

I’m so insignificant, I can’t even kill myself.


Miles, what the hell’s that supposed to mean?


Come on man. You know. Hemingway, Sexton, Plath, Woolf. You can’t kill yourself before you’ve even been published.


What about that guy who wrote Confederacy of Dunces? He committed suicide before he was published. Look how famous he is.




Just don’t give up, alright? You’re gonna make it.


Half my life is over, and I have nothing to show for it. Nothing. I’m a thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper. I’m a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage.


See? Right there. Just what you just said? That is beautiful. “A smudge of excrement surging out to sea.”




I could never write that.


Neither could I, actually. I think it’s Bukowski.


I wonder how my writing would change, how my life would change, if I started reading more Bukowski . . .

[photo credit]

18 thoughts on “Bukowski

  1. Bukowski is my favorite asshole.

    1. Any suggestions on what to read first? Somehow, along the path to curmudgeonville, I missed him . . .

  2. I watched a documentary on him through Netflix: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0342150/

    Pretty good one.

    My favorite poem of his is here: http://celluloidblonde.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/my-favorite-bukowski-poem/

  3. Boy – my husband loves him some Bukowski. He used to read him a lot in his 20’s. Now that we are in our early 40’s and we’re parents, his Bukowski reading has fallen to the wayside along with a lot of other stuff….this is a good reminder to tell him to pick that crazy brilliant dude up again.

    1. So, same question for you? Where to start . . .

  4. Actually, if raw sewage makes it out to sea, there is generally an investigation and charges are laid. Raw sewage, for the most part, is treated. (Also, tissue, or toilet paper, disintegrates in the influent or the wet well. However, feminine hygiene products do not, and often clog the equipment, forcing maintenance crews to scrape them off the walls manually.)

    Oh, you didn’t ask for sewage 101? My bad.

    1. And therein lies the beauty of poetry . . . it doesn’t have to make sense!

    2. They (we) don’t treat our sewage here- the claim is that the ocean will do it for us. I wonder if Bukowski ever visited? (Maybe Mr. Floatie was modeled in his image?)

  5. i started with “post office”, but i don’t think it matters. he’s pretty raw. you can read from the middle out to the poetry, then back through it again out to the end… not always a good read if you’re feeling on the dark side, though…

  6. O, for God’s sake! Go ahead, indulge your dark side more, why don’t you? Seriously, Brian. Have you no inner radar when enough is enough? Words matter and unlike raw sewage (what I learn on blogs, I tell ya’) they don’t always float out to sea for treatment They can be more, well, more like those feminine hygiene products that clog the equipment.

    Read him when you are back working and not a moment before.

  7. Apparently you don’t need to read more–just drink more! Then observe.

    Oh, and maybe heed this little bit of advice from Jack: You need to get your joint worked on, Miles.

  8. I really shouldn’t be allowed to read you sense I’m not even familiar with Bukowski’s work. But it was beautiful 🙂

  9. I avoided him because he just didn’t fit in with me and what I read and liked and all that. But that was so long ago. I’ve changed, a lot. So I picked up Bukowski. I’ve only read a few of the poems in there. I have a DVD of him reciting some of his poetry but I haven’t watched it yet.

    He’s here on my bookshelf but he hasn’t called out to me. At least not loudly enough for me to go pick him up.

  10. Coincidentally (?), just yesterday, someone I admire greatly pointed me toward a bit of Bukowski. Maybe it will give you a start.


  11. I don’t think reading Bukowski will leed to changes that would be considered good. Sure he was entertaining, but I for one wouldn’t want to live his life.

    I sometimes think that reading or looking at others people’s work can be confusing and daunting. I think that’s what happened to Scott Fitzgerald when he went to Hollywood. Being around so many talented people crushed his creativity.

    Also think about Van Gough and all the painters he admired and copied. He was better than all of them put together.

    All I have to offer is, just be true to yourself.

  12. I tend to like such dark materials.

  13. I’ve only ever read Ham on Rye and I’m sorry I haven’t read more. It’s one of those books that stays with you for a long time.

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