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5 bukowski

stone fissure, Lake Erie – foto by Smith

18 years ago, I asked poet Ben Gulyas to guest-edit issue #11 of ArtCrimes. Gulyas wrote to Charles Bukowski and asked for some poems. Bukowski sent a batch. Ben felt the poems were less than stellar and wrote back saying they lacked fire, did Bukowski have any others. Never heard from him again.

Here are 5 Bukowski poems we published in 1991. Have no idea if he published these elsewhere or not. I did line searches for each poem and found nothing on Google.

~ ~ ~

somebody else

a hangover at 70
seems somewhat worse,
of course,
than one at
but considering
most other things
I feel about the
my strengths, my
ideals, my

it is only when
I am walking
and I see my
in a
plate glass
that I wonder,
who is

that thing

that old fart.


– Charles Bukowski, 1991, from ArtCrimes #11: Eat at Eternity’s

~ ~ ~


I sat in that bar for so long that
I memorized each grain of wood
along the whole bar, and each
cigarette burn.

the nights and days melded
together, the weeks and the
months, the

two years in that same bar
from opening until closing

I was a fixture, an act.
I drank rivers of booze, lived
through dullness and madness,
accident and song.

I was there without visible
means of support.

then one day I got off my
stool, walked out, and not
only away from the bar
but also the
city and the state.

three years later I
returned, stayed a week,
got off that bar stool
and never

I needed a better place
to hide.

– Charles Bukowski, 1991, from ArtCrimes #11: Eat at Eternity’s

~ ~ ~

upon reading an interview with a bestselling
novelist in the metropolitan daily

he talks as he writes: white fissures of placidity,
and he has a face like a dove, untrampled by externals
or internals.
a little shiver of horror runs through me as I read
his comfortable assured success drones on through
the print.
and least we over-worry he interjects:
“I am going to write a novel next year.”
next year?
I skip some paragraphs, even the interviewer is
but the interview goes on for two and one half
it’s like milk spilled on a tablecloth, it’s talcum
powder, it’s the bones of a dead fish, it’s a crease
in a faded necktie, it’s a gathering hum of nowhere.
this man is very fortunate in that he is not standing
in the line of a soup kitchen.
this man has no idea of his failure because he is
paid so well for it.
I am on the bed, reading.
I drop the paper to the floor.
then I hear a sound.
it is a small fly buzzing.
I watch it flying, circling in its irregular

life at last.

– Charles Bukowski, 1991, from ArtCrimes #11: Eat at Eternity’s

~ ~ ~

change over

Xmas season
here I was a boy and here was my mother and here we
were in a department store
where my mother stopped before a glass case
and I stopped too.
the case was full of toy soldiers, some with rifles
and bayonets, others were mounted on fine horses.
there were toy cannons and there were soldiers with
machine guns.
there was even a castle with a moat, there were toy
airplanes and tanks
and my mother asked, “do you want some of these
soldiers, Henry?”
“no,” I said.
I knew we were poor and I didn’t want her to spend
the money
but I wanted those soldiers in their various colored
uniforms, their different types of helmets and all
their stances: marching, charging, firing.
there were officers and enlisted men, there were
flags, there were raised swords…

“are you sure you don’t want some of these
soldiers, Henry?”

“I don’t want them…”

we walked on, went to another department where my
mother bought me stockings and underwear.
they were to be wrapped in bright packages and
placed under the tree.

that Christmas was hell but when my war finally
came along, as wars will do, and I couldn’t get
past the psychiatrist
I was pleased to learn of my

– Charles Bukowski, 1991, from ArtCrimes #11: Eat at Eternity’s

~ ~ ~


everybody thinks about dying now and then
and the older you get the more you tend to
think about it instead of thinking about
climbing into bed with some bunny you think
about climbing into the grave, oh boy, but
there’s almost a peaceful connotation to
it, sure, especially if you’ve lived a
number of hard years, but, of course, there’s
the inconvenience of it all, not so much to
you but to others–there’s the body, it does-
nt move, you’ve got to do something with it,
it hardens up and stinks up pretty fast, no
offense, I’m not singling anybody out here,
it’s like we all wipe our asses, right? or
most of us do, but before dying some of us
get this itch to do something: plant a gar-
den, lift weights, work with oil paints, buy
a bright yellow convertible sports car or so
forth and so on and ect, like some still
want to go to bed with a bunny, some of the
men and maybe even some of the women, but
actually talking about death gets to be rather
boring, although dying is finally the
only thing that finally gets some people
attention at last, the cochineal types, you
know, but they’ll never realize this auto-
matic herd-like homage because they won’t be
there as they weren’t there in life either,
and in a sense the living only honor the dead
because they will be next, it’s cheap really,
a kind of connecting chain of self-agony, and
my wife asks me, “would you rather be ashes or
buried?” and I say buried because even though
I won’t know it, I could know it ahead of time,
thinking about it now: somebody drinking me
down with their beer or sticking me up their
asses or their pussies or mixing me with the
dog food, I am caught with this sick vanity:
I like myself living or dead, I am the best
thing I have ever met, so bury me sweet and
deep and don’t weep, realize that one of the
nicest things is leaving you, your cities, your
songs, your mewking laughter, your history, your
hell, your chess sets, your jams and your jellies,
your bunnies, your buttocks, the way you’ve
smeared the sun and pissed in your ears, I still
liked some of you, which beats the other, so
drop the lid–the darkness is yours and as
your feet hit the floor each morning, I wish
you luck.

– Charles Bukowski, 1991, from ArtCrimes #11: Eat at Eternity’s

down the line – foto by Smith

2 Responses to “5 bukowski”

  1. Jack McGuane says:

    Bukowski had a bitch of a life, but I think he found his peace near the end there. You think>

  2. Jack McGuane says:

    Bukowski had a bitch of a life, but I think he found his peace near the end there. You think?

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