Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bukowski - Born into This

by Drew Martin
I read Charles Bukowski's Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories a few years ago. From it are the lines:

a good book
can make an almost

While most good books live up to this in an escapist way, Bukowski's writings do this by sharing the rawness of life and painful moments. He said he had the face of a ravaged lion. It was so infected in his teens that he wrapped his head in toilet paper, poked holes for his eyes to peer out, and watched his fellow students attend his high school prom; outside from a distance, boil-bleeding into his face wrapping.

The excellent documentary Bukowski: Born this Way feels more autobiographical than simply a film about him. In it, William Pakcer, publisher for the New York Quarterly, comments that one thing Sigmund Freud could not have foreseen in the 20th century (and beyond) is the Walt Disney approach to making everything cute and nice, and that Bukowski was devoted to the de-dignification of all of us and to kicking Mickey Mouse out of our heads. Similarly, Bukowski said that if your parents begin to like your work, it is getting bad, but if the cops are around than something good must be happening.

Bukowski was the working man's writer and since he was originally a prose writer, when he got around to writing poems, they came out as stories and as narratives, free of metaphor and previously established structures. That being said, when he was asked about love he said it was like a fog that burns away with the first daylight of reality.

Bukowski spent a lot of time at the horse races in Los Angeles. One reason he went was because he could see many faces there, all with a dream followed by disappointment.