Bukowski at his typewriter,
a Royal or Underwood, dim room, smoke dancing around
the dust-encrusted bulb like wispy serpents. Phone off the hook,
the punch of keys, some frantic Morse code in the night only
writer's see as symphonic. It's dead summer, an oscillating fan
and open window fight the Los Angeles humidity. Our poet is shirtless,
wearing only shorts, the stink of the city deep in his bones by now.
A wine glass, half-filled with Pinot Noir, sits next to a small red radio,
where Debussy ejaculates through the speaker. Nearby, a wastebasket
overflows with empty beer, wine and whiskey bottles. Outside, dogs bark,
couples quarrel, children play and police sirens screech—the sounds
of the universe. Things are happening.
An always volatile life
lived along the edges of nowhere has slowed to only a simmer now.
Our fellow is settling in, finding notoriety and chasing the muse
purposefully. Prolific barbarian hammering away at the delicate
bedrock of poetry until its surface resembles the mad moons, or his own
countenance. The marrow of Earth bubbles with possibility, life. Feelings
of being a factotum slip to memory, lightening darkened eyes. People
are crowding, poetry readings selling out, women are noticing
and the literary world clamors like a pale bell with his name—Bukowski!
Our poet smiles more, finally feeling a sense of certainty; a mild comfort
he never takes for granted as his words finally begin to sustain him and worries
fade behind a pleasing ritual like the sun behind dark mountains.
Detractors are many by now,
but there is no stopping a force of nature both sculpted in the warrens
and forged by white fire. It's laughable to our guy who pours it all into
the cauldron as more material for future expedition upon paper
and toasts the shit storm with a glass of Riesling! Hollywood, women, horses,
liquor, music, the literary world, life, death, sex, abuse, poverty...it's all inside,
with a dash of deadpan, a pinch of wisdom, and two cups of grandfatherly insight.
The twentieth century's Whitman,
in our lifetime. You can almost see him still sitting there, leaning into
the machine. If you listen closely you may hear the keys thumping
when you read the legacy he left us. If the legend of Charles Bukowski is
a Juggernaut standing out to the world, than his poetry is the beating heart,
an unseen force that sustains a man through madness, hopelessness,
cruelty and despair. To pump healthy blood into the brain of an idea
so many have wrestled with in their lives—going after what you wish,
not just talking about it. The ember of hope, however small,
must be kept lit as it can be used to start the greatest fire anywhere, anytime.
Our hero is proof of that.
COPYRIGHT 2014, William Barker
All my work has copyrights
with the Library of Congress.
No usage without my permission
regardless of circumstance.