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Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

Let It Enfold You

 either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when i was a young man
I felt these things were
I had bad blood,a twisted mind, a pecarious upbringing.
I was hard as granite,I leered at the sun.
I trusted no man and especially no woman.
I was living a hell in small rooms, I broke things, smashed things, walked through glass, cursed.
I challenged everything, was continually being evicted,jailed,in and out of fights,in and aout of my mind.
women were something to screw and rail at,i had no male freinds, I changed jobs and cities,I hated holidays, babies,history, newspapers, museums, grandmothers, marriage, movies, spiders, garbagemen, english accents,spain, france,italy,walnuts and the color orange.
algebra angred me, opera sickened me, charlie chaplin was a fake and flowers were for pansies.
peace an happiness to me were signs of inferiority, tenants of the weak an addled mind.
but as I went on with my alley fights, my suicidal years, my passage through any number of women-it gradually began to occur to me that I wasn't diffrent from the others, I was the same, they were all fulsome with hatred, glossed over with petty greivances, the men I fought in alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging, inching, cheating for some insignificant advantage, the lie was the weapon and the plot was emptey, darkness was the dictator.
cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times.
I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser or listening to the rain in the dark.
the less i needed the better i felt.
maybe the other life had worn me down.
I no longer found glamour in topping somebody in conversation.
or in mounting the body of some poor drunken female whose life had slipped away into sorrow.
I could never accept life as it was, i could never gobble down all its poisons but there were parts, tenous magic parts open for the asking.
I re formulated I don't know when, date,time,all that but the change occured.
something in me relaxed, smoothed out.
i no longer had to prove that i was a man, I did'nt have to prove anything.
I began to see things: coffe cups lined up behind a counter in a cafe.
or a dog walking along a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse on my dresser top stopped there with its body, its ears, its nose, it was fixed, a bit of life caught within itself and its eyes looked at me and they were beautiful.
then- it was gone.
I began to feel good, I began to feel good in the worst situations and there were plenty of those.
like say, the boss behind his desk, he is going to have to fire me.
I've missed too many days.
he is dressed in a suit, necktie, glasses, he says, "i am going to have to let you go" "it's all right" i tell him.
He must do what he must do, he has a wife, a house, children.
expenses, most probably a girlfreind.
I am sorry for him he is caught.
I walk onto the blazing sunshine.
the whole day is mine temporailiy, anyhow.
(the whole world is at the throat of the world, everybody feels angry, short-changed, cheated, everybody is despondent, dissillusioned) I welcomed shots of peace, tattered shards of happiness.
I embraced that stuff like the hottest number, like high heels,breasts, singing,the works.
(dont get me wrong, there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism that overlooks all basic problems justr for the sake of itself- this is a sheild and a sickness.
) The knife got near my throat again, I almost turned on the gas again but when the good moments arrived again I did'nt fight them off like an alley adversary.
I let them take me, i luxuriated in them, I bade them welcome home.
I even looked into the mirror once having thought myself to be ugly, I now liked what I saw,almost handsome,yes, a bit ripped and ragged, scares,lumps, odd turns, but all in all, not too bad, almost handsome, better at least than some of those movie star faces like the cheeks of a babys butt.
and finally I discovered real feelings fo others, unhearleded, like latley, like this morning, as I was leaving, for the track, i saw my wif in bed, just the shape of her head there (not forgetting centuries of the living and the dead and the dying, the pyarimids, Mozart dead but his music still there in the room, weeds growing, the earth turning, the toteboard waiting for me) I saw the shape of my wife's head, she so still, i ached for her life, just being there under the covers.
i kissed her in the, forehead, got down the stairway, got outside, got into my marvelous car, fixed the seatbelt, backed out the drive.
feeling warm to the fingertips, down to my foot on the gas pedal, I entered the world once more, drove down the hill past the houses full and emptey of people, i saw the mailman, honked, he waved back at me.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

A Man

 George was lying in his trailer, flat on his back, watching a small portable T.
His dinner dishes were undone, his breakfast dishes were undone, he needed a shave, and ash from his rolled cigarettes dropped onto his undershirt.
Some of the ash was still burning.
Sometimes the burning ash missed the undershirt and hit his skin, then he cursed, brushing it away.
There was a knock on the trailer door.
He got slowly to his feet and answered the door.
It was Constance.
She had a fifth of unopened whiskey in a bag.
"George, I left that son of a bitch, I couldn't stand that son of a bitch anymore.
" "Sit down.
" George opened the fifth, got two glasses, filled each a third with whiskey, two thirds with water.
He sat down on the bed with Constance.
She took a cigarette out of her purse and lit it.
She was drunk and her hands trembled.
"I took his damn money too.
I took his damn money and split while he was at work.
You don't know how I've suffered with that son of a bitch.
" " Lemme have a smoke," said George.
She handed it to him and as she leaned near, George put his arm around her, pulled her over and kissed her.
"You son of a bitch," she said, "I missed you.
" "I miss those good legs of yours , Connie.
I've really missed those good legs.
" "You still like 'em?" "I get hot just looking.
" "I could never make it with a college guy," said Connie.
"They're too soft, they're milktoast.
And he kept his house clean.
George , it was like having a maid.
He did it all.
The place was spotless.
You could eat beef stew right off the crapper.
He was antisceptic, that's what he was.
" "Drink up, you'll feel better.
" "And he couldn't make love.
" "You mean he couldn't get it up?" "Oh he got it up, he got it up all the time.
But he didn't know how to make a woman happy, you know.
He didn't know what to do.
All that money, all that education, he was useless.
" "I wish I had a college education.
" "You don't need one.
You have everything you need, George.
" "I'm just a flunkey.
All the shit jobs.
" "I said you have everything you need, George.
You know how to make a woman happy.
" "Yeh?" "Yes.
And you know what else? His mother came around! His mother! Two or three times a week.
And she'd sit there looking at me, pretending to like me but all the time she was treating me like I was a whore.
Like I was a big bad whore stealing her son away from her! Her precious Wallace! Christ! What a mess!" "He claimed he loved me.
And I'd say, 'Look at my pussy, Walter!' And he wouldn't look at my pussy.
He said, 'I don't want to look at that thing.
' That thing! That's what he called it! You're not afraid of my pussy, are you, George?" "It's never bit me yet.
" "But you've bit it, you've nibbled it, haven't you George?" "I suppose I have.
" "And you've licked it , sucked it?" "I suppose so.
" "You know damn well, George, what you've done.
" "How much money did you get?" "Six hundred dollars.
" "I don't like people who rob other people, Connie.
" "That's why you're a fucking dishwasher.
You're honest.
But he's such an ass, George.
And he can afford the money, and I've earned it.
him and his mother and his love, his mother-love, his clean l;ittle wash bowls and toilets and disposal bags and breath chasers and after shave lotions and his little hard-ons and his precious love-making.
All for himself, you understand, all for himself! You know what a woman wants, George.
" "Thanks for the whiskey, Connie.
Lemme have another cigarette.
" George filled them up again.
"I missed your legs, Connie.
I've really missed those legs.
I like the way you wear those high heels.
They drive me crazy.
These modern women don't know what they're missing.
The high heel shapes the calf, the thigh, the ass; it puts rythm into the walk.
It really turns me on!" "You talk like a poet, George.
Sometimes you talk like that.
You are one hell of a dishwasher.
" "You know what I'd really like to do?" "What?" "I'd like to whip you with my belt on the legs, the ass, the thighs.
I'd like to make you quiver and cry and then when you're quivering and crying I'd slam it into you pure love.
" "I don't want that, George.
You've never talked like that to me before.
You've always done right with me.
" "Pull your dress up higher.
" "What?" "Pull your dress up higher, I want to see more of your legs.
" "You like my legs, don't you, George?" "Let the light shine on them!" Constance hiked her dress.
"God christ shit," said George.
"You like my legs?" "I love your legs!" Then george reached across the bed and slapped Constance hard across the face.
Her cigarette flipped out of her mouth.
"what'd you do that for?" "You fucked Walter! You fucked Walter!" "So what the hell?" "So pull your dress up higher!" "No!" "Do what I say!" George slapped again, harder.
Constance hiked her skirt.
"Just up to the panties!" shouted George.
"I don't quite want to see the panties!" "Christ, george, what's gone wrong with you?" "You fucked Walter!" "George, I swear, you've gone crazy.
I want to leave.
Let me out of here, George!" "Don't move or I'll kill you!" "You'd kill me?" "I swear it!" George got up and poured himself a shot of straight whiskey, drank it, and sat down next to Constance.
He took the cigarette and held it against her wrist.
She screamed.
HE held it there, firmly, then pulled it away.
"I'm a man , baby, understand that?" "I know you're a man , George.
" "Here, look at my muscles!" george sat up and flexed both of his arms.
"Beautiful, eh ,baby? Look at that muscle! Feel it! Feel it!" Constance felt one of the arms, then the other.
"Yes, you have a beautiful body, George.
" "I'm a man.
I'm a dishwasher but I'm a man, a real man.
" "I know it, George.
" "I'm not the milkshit you left.
" "I know it.
" "And I can sing, too.
You ought to hear my voice.
" Constance sat there.
George began to sing.
He sang "Old man River.
" Then he sang "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.
" He sang "The St.
Louis Blues.
" He sasng "God Bless America," stopping several times and laughing.
Then he sat down next to Constance.
He said, "Connie, you have beautiful legs.
" He asked for another cigarette.
He smoked it, drank two more drinks, then put his head down on Connie's legs, against the stockings, in her lap, and he said, "Connie, I guess I'm no good, I guess I'm crazy, I'm sorry I hit you, I'm sorry I burned you with that cigarette.
" Constance sat there.
She ran her fingers through George's hair, stroking him, soothing him.
Soon he was asleep.
She waited a while longer.
Then she lifted his head and placed it on the pillow, lifted his legs and straightened them out on the bed.
She stood up, walked to the fifth, poured a jolt of good whiskey in to her glass, added a touch of water and drank it sown.
She walked to the trailer door, pulled it open, stepped out, closed it.
She walked through the backyard, opened the fence gate, walked up the alley under the one o'clock moon.
The sky was clear of clouds.
The same skyful of clouds was up there.
She got out on the boulevard and walked east and reached the entrance of The Blue Mirror.
She walked in, and there was Walter sitting alone and drunk at the end of the bar.
She walked up and sat down next to him.
"Missed me, baby?" she asked.
Walter looked up.
He recognized her.
He didn't answer.
He looked at the bartender and the bartender walked toward them They all knew eachother.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

What Can We Do?

 at their best, there is gentleness in Humanity.
some understanding and, at times, acts of courage but all in all it is a mass, a glob that doesn't have too much.
it is like a large animal deep in sleep and almost nothing can awaken it.
when activated it's best at brutality, selfishness, unjust judgments, murder.
what can we do with it, this Humanity? nothing.
avoid the thing as much as possible.
treat it as you would anything poisonous, vicious and mindless.
but be careful.
it has enacted laws to protect itself from you.
it can kill you without cause.
and to escape it you must be subtle.
few escape.
it's up to you to figure a plan.
I have met nobody who has escaped.
I have met some of the great and famous but they have not escaped for they are only great and famous within Humanity.
I have not escaped but I have not failed in trying again and again.
before my death I hope to obtain my life.
from blank gun silencer - 1994
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

Love and Fame and Death

 it sits outside my window now
like and old woman going to market;
it sits and watches me,
it sweats nevously
through wire and fog and dog-bark
until suddenly
I slam the screen with a newspaper
like slapping at a fly
and you could hear the scream
over this plain city,
and then it left.
the way to end a poem like this is to become suddenly quiet.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

16-bit Intel 8088 chip

 with an Apple Macintosh
you can't run Radio Shack programs
in its disc drive.
nor can a Commodore 64 drive read a file you have created on an IBM Personal Computer.
both Kaypro and Osborne computers use the CP/M operating system but can't read each other's handwriting for they format (write on) discs in different ways.
the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but can't use most programs produced for the IBM Personal Computer unless certain bits and bytes are altered but the wind still blows over Savannah and in the Spring the turkey buzzard struts and flounces before his hens.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

We Aint Got No Money Honey But We Got Rain

 call it the greenhouse effect or whatever
but it just doesn't rain like it used to.
I particularly remember the rains of the depression era.
there wasn't any money but there was plenty of rain.
it wouldn't rain for just a night or a day, it would RAIN for 7 days and 7 nights and in Los Angeles the storm drains weren't built to carry off taht much water and the rain came down THICK and MEAN and STEADY and you HEARD it banging against the roofs and into the ground waterfalls of it came down from roofs and there was HAIL big ROCKS OF ICE bombing exploding smashing into things and the rain just wouldn't STOP and all the roofs leaked- dishpans, cooking pots were placed all about; they dripped loudly and had to be emptied again and again.
the rain came up over the street curbings, across the lawns, climbed up the steps and entered the houses.
there were mops and bathroom towels, and the rain often came up through the toilets:bubbling, brown, crazy,whirling, and all the old cars stood in the streets, cars that had problems starting on a sunny day, and the jobless men stood looking out the windows at the old machines dying like living things out there.
the jobless men, failures in a failing time were imprisoned in their houses with their wives and children and their pets.
the pets refused to go out and left their waste in strange places.
the jobless men went mad confined with their once beautiful wives.
there were terrible arguments as notices of foreclosure fell into the mailbox.
rain and hail, cans of beans, bread without butter;fried eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs; peanut butter sandwiches, and an invisible chicken in every pot.
my father, never a good man at best, beat my mother when it rained as I threw myself between them, the legs, the knees, the screams until they seperated.
"I'll kill you," I screamed at him.
"You hit her again and I'll kill you!" "Get that son-of-a-bitching kid out of here!" "no, Henry, you stay with your mother!" all the households were under seige but I believe that ours held more terror than the average.
and at night as we attempted to sleep the rains still came down and it was in bed in the dark watching the moon against the scarred window so bravely holding out most of the rain, I thought of Noah and the Ark and I thought, it has come again.
we all thought that.
and then, at once, it would stop.
and it always seemed to stop around 5 or 6 a.
, peaceful then, but not an exact silence because things continued to drip drip drip and there was no smog then and by 8 a.
there was a blazing yellow sunlight, Van Gogh yellow- crazy, blinding! and then the roof drains relieved of the rush of water began to expand in the warmth: PANG!PANG!PANG! and everybody got up and looked outside and there were all the lawns still soaked greener than green will ever be and there were birds on the lawn CHIRPING like mad, they hadn't eaten decently for 7 days and 7 nights and they were weary of berries and they waited as the worms rose to the top, half drowned worms.
the birds plucked them up and gobbled them down;there were blackbirds and sparrows.
the blackbirds tried to drive the sparrows off but the sparrows, maddened with hunger, smaller and quicker, got their due.
the men stood on their porches smoking cigarettes, now knowing they'd have to go out there to look for that job that probably wasn't there, to start that car that probably wouldn't start.
and the once beautiful wives stood in their bathrooms combing their hair, applying makeup, trying to put their world back together again, trying to forget that awful sadness that gripped them, wondering what they could fix for breakfast.
and on the radio we were told that school was now open.
and soon there I was on the way to school, massive puddles in the street, the sun like a new world, my parents back in that house, I arrived at my classroom on time.
Sorenson greeted us with, "we won't have our usual recess, the grounds are too wet.
" "AW!" most of the boys went.
"but we are going to do something special at recess," she went on, "and it will be fun!" well, we all wondered what that would be and the two hour wait seemed a long time as Mrs.
Sorenson went about teaching her lessons.
I looked at the little girls, they looked so pretty and clean and alert, they sat still and straight and their hair was beautiful in the California sunshine.
the the recess bells rang and we all waited for the fun.
then Mrs.
Sorenson told us: "now, what we are going to do is we are going to tell each other what we did during the rainstorm! we'll begin in the front row and go right around! now, Michael, you're first!.
" well, we all began to tell our stories, Michael began and it went on and on, and soon we realized that we were all lying, not exactly lying but mostly lying and some of the boys began to snicker and some of the girls began to give them dirty looks and Mrs.
Sorenson said, "all right! I demand a modicum of silence here! I am interested in what you did during the rainstorm even if you aren't!" so we had to tell our stories and they were stories.
one girl said that when the rainbow first came she saw God's face at the end of it.
only she didn't say which end.
one boy said he stuck his fishing pole out the window and caught a little fish and fed it to his cat.
almost everybody told a lie.
the truth was just too awful and embarassing to tell.
then the bell rang and recess was over.
"thank you," said Mrs.
Sorenson, "that was very nice.
and tomorrow the grounds will be dry and we will put them to use again.
" most of the boys cheered and the little girls sat very straight and still, looking so pretty and clean and alert, their hair beautiful in a sunshine that the world might never see again.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

True Story

 they found him walking along the freeway
all red in
he had taken a rusty tin can
and cut off his sexual
as if to say --
see what you've done to
me? you might as well have the
and he put part of him in one pocket and part of him in another and that's how they found him, walking along.
they gave him over to the doctors who tried to sew the parts back on but the parts were quite contented the way they were.
I think sometimes of all of the good ass turned over to the monsters of the world.
maybe it was his protest against this or his protest against everything.
a one man Freedom March that never squeezed in between the concert reviews and the baseball scores.
God, or somebody, bless him.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

Death Wants More Death

 death wants more death, and its webs are full:
I remember my father's garage, how child-like
I would brush the corpses of flies
from the windows they thought were escape-
their sticky, ugly, vibrant bodies
shouting like dumb crazy dogs against the glass
only to spin and flit
in that second larger than hell or heaven
onto the edge of the ledge,
and then the spider from his dank hole
nervous and exposed
the puff of body swelling
hanging there
not really quite knowing,
and then knowing-
something sending it down its string,
the wet web,
toward the weak shield of buzzing,
the pulsing;
a last desperate moving hair-leg
there against the glass
there alive in the sun,
spun in white;
and almost like love:
the closing over,
the first hushed spider-sucking:
filling its sack 
upon this thing that lived;
crouching there upon its back
drawing its certain blood
as the world goes by outside
and my temples scream
and I hurl the broom against them:
the spider dull with spider-anger
still thinking of its prey
and waving an amazed broken leg;
the fly very still,
a dirty speck stranded to straw;
I shake the killer loose
and he walks lame and peeved
towards some dark corner
but I intercept his dawdling
his crawling like some broken hero,
and the straws smash his legs
now waving
above his head
and looking
looking for the enemy 
and somewhat valiant,
dying without apparent pain
simply crawling backward
piece by piece
leaving nothing there
until at last the red gut sack
its secrets,
and I run child-like
with God's anger a step behind,
back to simple sunlight,
as the world goes by
with curled smile
if anyone else
saw or sensed my crime
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

His Wife The Painter

 There are sketches on the walls of men and women and ducks,
and outside a large green bus swerves through traffic like
insanity sprung from a waving line; Turgenev, Turgenev,
says the radio, and Jane Austin, Jane Austin, too.
"I am going to do her portrait on the 28th, while you are at work.
" He is just this edge of fat and he walks constantly, he fritters; they have him; they are eating him hollow like a webbed fly, and his eyes are red-suckled with anger-fear.
He feels hatred and discard of the world, sharper than his razor, and his gut-feel hangs like a wet polyp; and he self-decisions himself defeated trying to shake his hung beard from razor in water (like life), not warm enough.
Rue Transonian, le 15 Avril, 1843.
) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale.
"She has a face unlike that of any woman I have ever known.
" "What is it? A love affair?" "Silly.
I can't love a woman.
Besides, she's pregnant.
" I can paint- a flower eaten by a snake; that sunlight is a lie; and that markets smell of shoes and naked boys clothed, and that under everything some river, some beat, some twist that clambers along the edge of my temple and bites nip-dizzy.
men drive cars and paint their houses, but they are mad; men sit in barber chairs; buy hats.
Recollection of Mortefontaine.
Paris, Louvre.
"I must write Kaiser, though I think he's a homosexual.
" "Are you still reading Freud?" "Page 299.
" She made a little hat and he fastened two snaps under one arm, reaching up from the bed like a long feeler from the snail, and she went to church, and he thought now I h've time and the dog.
About church: the trouble with a mask is it never changes.
So rude the flowers that grow and do not grow beautiful.
So magic the chair on the patio that does not hold legs and belly and arm and neck and mouth that bites into the wind like the ned of a tunnel.
He turned in bed and thought: I am searching for some segment in the air.
It floats about the peoples heads.
When it rains on the trees it sits between the branches warmer and more blood-real than the dove.
Christ Destroying the Cross.
Hanover, Dartmouth College, Baker Library.
He burned away in his sleep.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

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.
from "poems written before jumping out of an 8 story window" - 1966
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

An Almost Made Up Poem

 I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you knew famous artists and most of them were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right, go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous because we’ never met.
we got close once in New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never touched.
so you went with the famous and wrote about the famous, and, of course, what you found out is that the famous are worried about their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed with them, who gives them that, and then awakens in the morning to write upper case poems about ANGELS AND GOD.
we know God is dead, they’ told us, but listening to you I wasn’ sure.
maybe it was the upper case.
you were one of the best female poets and I told the publishers, editors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’ magic.
there’ no lie in her fire.
” I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
I would have loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom, but that didn’ happen.
your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you.
kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray.
it didn’ help.
you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.
I wrote back but never heard again.
a friend wrote me of your suicide 3 or 4 months after it happened.
if I had met you I would probably have been unfair to you or you to me.
it was best like this.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

The Icecream People

 the lady has me temporarily off the bottle
and now the pecker stands up
however, things change overnight-- instead of listening to Shostakovich and Mozart through a smeared haze of smoke the nights change, new complexities: we drive to Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors: Rocky Road, Bubble Gum, Apricot Ice, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint.
we park outside and look at icecream people a very healthy and satisfied people, nary a potential suicide in sight (they probably even vote) and I tell her "what if the boys saw me go in there? suppose they find out I'm going in for a walnut peach sundae?" "come on, chicken," she laughs and we go in and stand with the icecream people.
none of them are cursing or threatening the clerks.
there seem to be no hangovers or grievances.
I am alarmed at the placid and calm wave that flows about.
I feel like a leper in a beauty contest.
we finally get our sundaes and sit in the car and eat them.
I must admit they are quite good.
a curious new world.
(all my friends tell me I am looking better.
"you're looking good, man, we thought you were going to die there for a while.
") --those 4,500 dark nights, the jails, the hospitals.
and later that night there is use for the pecker, use for love, and it is glorious, long and true, and afterwards we speak of easy things; our heads by the open window with the moonlight looking through, we sleep in each other's arms.
the icecream people make me feel good, inside and out.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

How Is Your Heart?

 during my worst times
 on the park benches
 in the jails
 or living with
 I always had this certain
 I wouldn't call it
 it was more of an inner
 that settled for
 whatever was occuring
 and it helped in the
 and when relationships 
 went wrong
 with the 
it helped through the wars and the hangovers the backalley fights the hospitals.
to awaken in a cheap room in a strange city and pull up the shade- this was the craziest kind of contentment and to walk across the floor to an old dresser with a cracked mirror- see myself, ugly, grinning at it all.
what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

As The Sparrow

 To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

O We Are The Outcasts

 ah, christ, what a CREW:
poetry, always more
P O E T R Y .
if it doesn't come, coax it out with a laxative.
get your name in LIGHTS, get it up there in 8 1/2 x 11 mimeo.
keep it coming like a miracle.
ah christ, writers are the most sickening of all the louts! yellow-toothed, slump-shouldered, gutless, flea-bitten and obvious .
in tinker-toy rooms with their flabby hearts they tell us what's wrong with the world- as if we didn't know that a cop's club can crack the head and that war is a dirtier game than marriage .
or down in a basement bar hiding from a wife who doesn't appreciate him and children he doesn't want he tells us that his heart is drowning in vomit.
hell, all our hearts are drowning in vomit, in pork salt, in bad verse, in soggy love.
but he thinks he's alone and he thinks he's special and he thinks he's Rimbaud and he thinks he's Pound.
and death! how about death? did you know that we all have to die? even Keats died, even Milton! and D.
Thomas-THEY KILLED HIM, of course.
Thomas didn't want all those free drinks all that free pussy- they .
FORCED IT ON HIM when they should have left him alone so he could write write WRITE! poets.
and there's another type.
I've met them at their country places (don't ask me what I was doing there because I don't know).
they were born with money and they don't have to dirty their hands in slaughterhouses or washing dishes in grease joints or driving cabs or pimping or selling pot.
this gives them time to understand Life.
they walk in with their cocktail glass held about heart high and when they drink they just sip.
you are drinking green beer which you brought with you because you have found out through the years that rich bastards are tight- they use 5 cent stamps instead of airmail they promise to have all sorts of goodies ready upon your arrival from gallons of whisky to 50 cent cigars.
but it's never there.
and they HIDE their women from you- their wives, x-wives, daughters, maids, so forth, because they've read your poems and figure all you want to do is fuck everybody and everything.
which once might have been true but is no longer quite true.
and- he WRITES TOO.
POETRY, of course.
everybody writes poetry.
he has plenty of time and a postoffice box in town and he drives there 3 or 4 times a day looking and hoping for accepted poems.
he thinks that poverty is a weakness of the soul.
he thinks your mind is ill because you are drunk all the time and have to work in a factory 10 or 12 hours a night.
he brings his wife in, a beauty, stolen from a poorer rich man.
he lets you gaze for 30 seconds then hustles her out.
she has been crying for some reason.
you've got 3 or 4 days to linger in the guesthouse he says, "come on over to dinner sometime.
" but he doesn't say when or where.
and then you find out that you are not even IN HIS HOUSE.
you are in ONE of his houses but his house is somewhere else- you don't know where.
he even has x-wives in some of his houses.
his main concern is to keep his x-wives away from you.
he doesn't want to give up a damn thing.
and you can't blame him: his x-wives are all young, stolen, kept, talented, well-dressed, schooled, with varying French-German accents.
and!: they WRITE POETRY TOO.
or fuck.
but his big problem is to get down to that mail box in town to get back his rejected poems and to keep his eye on all the other mail boxes in all his other houses.
meanwhile, the starving Indians sell beads and baskets in the streets of the small desert town.
the Indians are not allowed in his houses not so much because they are a fuck-threat but because they are dirty and ignorant.
dirty? I look down at my shirt with the beerstain on the front.
ignorant? I light a 6 cent cigar and forget about it.
he or they or somebody was supposed to meet me at the train station.
of course, they weren't there.
"We'll be there to meet the great Poet!" well, I looked around and didn't see any great poet.
besides it was 7 a.
and 40 degrees.
those things happen.
the trouble was there were no bars open.
nothing open.
not even a jail.
he's a poet.
he's also a doctor, a head-shrinker.
no blood involved that way.
he won't tell me whether I am crazy or not-I don't have the money.
he walks out with his cocktail glass disappears for 2 hours, 3 hours, then suddenly comes walking back in unannounced with the same cocktail glass to make sure I haven't gotten hold of something more precious than Life itself.
my cheap green beer is killing me.
he shows heart (hurrah) and gives me a little pill that stops my gagging.
but nothing decent to drink.
he'd bought a small 6 pack for my arrival but that was gone in an hour and 15 minutes.
"I'll buy you barrels of beer," he had said.
I used his phone (one of his phones) to get deliveries of beer and cheap whisky.
the town was ten miles away, downhill.
I peeled my poor dollars from my poor roll.
and the boy needed a tip, of course.
the way it was shaping up I could see that I was hardly Dylan Thomas yet, not even Robert Creeley.
certainly Creeley wouldn't have had beerstains on his shirt.
anyhow, when I finally got hold of one of his x-wives I was too drunk to make it.
scared too.
sure, I imagined him peering through the window- he didn't want to give up a damn thing- and leveling the luger while I was working while "The March to the Gallows" was playing over the Muzak and shooting me in the ass first and my poor brain later.
"an intruder," I could hear him telling them, "ravishing one of my helpless x-wives.
" I see him published in some of the magazines now.
not very good stuff.
a poem about me too: the Polack.
the Polack whines too much.
the Polack whines about his country, other countries, all countries, the Polack works overtime in a factory like a fool, among other fools with "pre-drained spirits.
" the Polack drinks seas of green beer full of acid.
the Polack has an ulcerated hemorrhoid.
the Polack picks on fags "fragile fags.
" the Polack hates his wife, hates his daughter.
his daughter will become an alcoholic, a prostitute.
the Polack has an "obese burned out wife.
" the Polack has a spastic gut.
the Polack has a "rectal brain.
" thank you, Doctor (and poet).
any charge for this? I know I still owe you for the pill.
Your poem is not too good but at least I got your starch up.
most of your stuff is about as lively as a wet and deflated beachball.
but it is your round, you've won a round.
going to invite me out this Summer? I might scrape up trainfare.
got an Indian friend who'd like to meet you and yours.
he swears he's got the biggest pecker in the state of California.
and guess what? he writes POETRY too!