Bukowski, Charles: Poetry

Bukowski, Charles: Poetry
Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 - March 9, 1994) was an 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 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker 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." (Source - Wikipedia)

Not that these are very complimentary, but they do reference Bruckner. My thanks to Grant Loebs for sending these.


listening to Bruckner now.
I relate very much to him.
he just misses
by so little.
I ache for his dead

if we all could only move it
up one notch
when necessary.
but we can't.
I remember my fight in the
that Saturday night in the
alley with
Harry Tabor.
his eyes were rolling in
that great dumb
one more punch
and he was mine-
I missed.

or the beautiful woman
who visited me one
who sat on my couch
and told me that she was
"yours, a gift ."
but I poured whiskey,
pranced about
bragged about
and finally
after returning from the
I found her

so many near misses.
so many other near misses.

oh, Bruckner, I know!

I am listening to Bruckner
now and
I ache for his dead
and for my living

we all need
something we can do well,
you know.
like scuba diving or
opening the morning


listening to Bruckner on the radio
wondering why I'm not half mad
over the latest breakup with my
latest girlfriend

wondering why I'm not driving the streets
wondering why I'm not in the bedroom
in the dark
in the grievous dark
ripped by half-thoughts

I suppose
that at last
like the average man:
I've known too many women
and instead of thinking,
I wonder who's fucking her now?
I think
she's giving some other poor son of a bitch much trouble now.

listening to Bruckner on the radio
seems so peaceful.

I pick up a Grumbacher paint brush
and clean my fingernails with the hard sharp end.

I notice a wall socket.

look, I've won.

Bruckner (2)

Bruckner wasn’t bad
even though he got down
on his knees
and proclaimed Wagner
the master.

It saddens me, I guess,
in a small way
because while Wagner was
hitting all those homers
Bruckner was sacrificing
the runners on second
and he knew it.

and I know that
mixing baseball metaphors with classical
will not please the purists

I prefer Ruth to most of his teammates
but I appreciate those who did
the best they could
and kept on doing it
even though they knew they
were second best.

this is your club fighter
your back-up quarterback
the unknown jock who sometimes
brings one in
at 40-to-one.

this was Bruckner.

there are times when we should
the strange courage
of the second-rate
who refuse to quit
when the nights
are black and long and sleepless
and the days are without

Help Wanted and Received

I’m stale sitting here
at this typewriter, the door open on my
little balcony when suddenly there is a roar in the sky,
Bruckner shouts back from
the radio and then the rain comes down glorious and violent,
and I realize that
it’s good that the world can explode this way
because now
I am renewed, listening and watching as
droplets of rain splash on my wristwatch.
the torrent of rain clears my brain and my
a long line of blue lightning splits
the night sky.
I smile inside, remembering that
someone once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” and I quickly
think, “I’d rather be lucky and good”
as tonight
As Bruckner sets the tone
as the hard rain continues to fall
as another blue streak of lightning
explodes in the sky
I’m grateful for that moment I’m