I love Charles Bukowski for so many reasons. He is... a reluctant anti-hero for the common man. He turns ugly into poetic. Literally. Oh but his words are so truthful. So honest and wise and beautifully packaged in a mess. He is never embarrassed. He sometimes wants you to hate him. Once I start reading his words I can't stop. He was a drunk, and some have called him a womanizer, but when you actually read his stuff, you realize he is a true romantic, but one who has been disillusioned and sold out so many times that he became hardened. In any case, he is hyper-aware, sometimes to his own detriment. He reminds me of Husband on an intellectual level, minus the whores. Well okay...ONE whore. That's good numbers though.
For those who don't know, here is Wikipedia's description of him:
Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski;
August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet,
novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the
social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.
It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans,
the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery
of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories
and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. In 1986 called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, of wrote, "the secret of Bukowski's appeal. . . [is that] he combines the
confessional poet's promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb
of a pulp-fiction hero."
I found Bukowski by accident, when I was about 29. Late, I know. I had started writing again after a decade of hiatus. Browsing through the bargain section at Barnes and Noble one day, I came across You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense. I thought, wow, whatever this book is, it is exactly my explanation for my whole life right now. It was like finding religion, I imagine. At the time he wrote this book, he was delving into his childhood and how some of those experiences had brought him to the many self-administered adventures in his adult life. Wow. It just couldn't get any more meaningful for me at the time. I bought it, along with a collection of Pablo Neruda, whom I also adore.
Neruda is Chilean and lived there during the time his country was going through many changes. He was political, serving as a Senator for a while. He was romantic. He wrote these fluid, sweeping accounts of nature and love and corruption. Gorgeous. Pablo makes me want to learn Spanish. One time I had a few too many beers at a BBQ at home (I know, shocker) and my friend (who speaks Spanish) asked what I was currently reading. Of course, I ran inside like my hair was on fire and grabbed my Pablo Neruda collection, and made him read like, 14 poems to me in Spanish. Party foul! Everyone else was falling asleep. I did not give a single fuck, though, I had been waiting for years to hear Neruda's works in his native language, the way they were meant to be heard!
Here is a Neruda poem I love, in English then Spanish, and you tell me how much sexier it sounds in Spanish.
"FULL WOMAN, CARNAL APPLE, HOT MOON"
Full woman, carnal apple, hot moon,
Thick smell of seaweed, mud and light entwined.
What dark clarity opens between your columns?
What ancient night does he touch with your senses?
Oh, love is a journey of water and stars,
Of suffocating air, and brusque storms of flour:
Love is a battle of lightning
And two bodies--lost by a single drop of honey.
Kiss by kiss I travel your little infinity,
Your margins, your rivers, your tiny villages,
And the genital fire transforms, delicious,
Running through the narrow streets of blood,
Until pouring out as a carnation at night,
And being and not being is but a flicker of shade.
The Original - In Spanish
Plena mujer, manzana carnal, luna caliente,
espeso aroma de algas, lodo y luz machacados,
qué oscura claridad se abre entre tus columnas?
Qué antigua noche el hombre toca con sus sentidos?
Ay, amar es un viaje con agua y con estrellas,
con aire ahogado y bruscas tempestades de harina:
amar es un combate de relámpagos
y dos cuerpos por una sola miel derrotados.
Beso a beso recorro tu pequeño infinito,
tus márgenes, tus ríos, tus pueblos diminutos,
y el fuego genital transformado en delicia
corre por los delgados caminos de la sangre
hasta precipitarse como un clavel nocturno,
hasta ser y no ser sino un rayo en la sombra.
Dude. Give me your panties, you know that shit was HOT.
Back to Bukowski. I love him, and I've been thinking about a quote of his:
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered.
But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big
answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and
discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a
dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the
church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We
are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our
lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
Isn't that amazing? I feel so sorry for those who "know" all the answers! Their lives are limited, because they are not allowed to learn any more, they are not permitted to consider, or dream, or debate, or even think about all the amazing ideas and discoveries our race of humanity comes upon. It must be terrifying sometimes, for them. They fear for the rest of us. They fear for their younger generations who view everyone as equal and who are excited about science. They fear for themselves. How do they handle a world which is changing so rapidly? They try harder to be "right", and miss the mark, consistently. It hurts people. Because being so rigid when the world is naturally so fluid, is painful. I think they DO know they hurt people with their insistence that everyone be the same, but their fear of hell trumps their love of humanity. But, I see that these people are struggling. They worry. They post hundreds of Facebook statuses about how we are losing America. How God will send us all to hell because we want everyone to be equal. It is so.....hard for them.
I have to mention the religious folk who embrace learning, and knowledge, and who know for themselves that God loves everyone and isn't stupid enough to create people he hates. Those who believe in a God that did all that amazing scientific shit that created the world, and it wasn't as easy as, "Okay day 6, there's light. Done deal." People like my Mom. She is rad. She raised me to be a thinker, and not to just go along with the stuff other people tell me just because they have "authority". Because, "Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time."
I just ordered "Barfly" the movie. 2-4 days shipping plus the extra 3 to 7 days our post office takes because driving to the end of a cul-de-sac is strenuous, apparently. Floridians...
That's it. Just over here, being smart and shit :)