Home From a Room Below the Plains - 1960 [from Signature #1] (1 Viewer)


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Originally published in the famed Targets #4, aka Signature #1.

Garner, W.L., ed., Targets. Albuquerque, New Mexico, n° 4, 1960. [Also known as Charles Bukowski. A Signature ]

Another poem from the same publication can be found here:
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my personal recollection, as I recalled in a different thread:
I'll tell you a little story: when I was at the UCSB Special Collections Department I had the chance to copy all the Targets issues. They kept them in the "regular" Bukowski section. One day I was taking a look at Al Fogel's book and I noticed that the Targets mags where the most valuable Bukowski items.
I became a close friend of most people working there -you know, I spent 3-4 months there, and I went to that Department DAILY- and one day I told one of them -a real nice guy who also liked Bukowski's work- that those Target mags. were too valuable to be there, in the regular Bukowski section. I can't recall how many they had, but I would say there were 2-3 SIGNATURE #1 issues. Anyway, this friend of mine talked to the head of the department and the following day ALL the Targets issues were moved to the Vaults. You need a special permission to take a look at the material held there.
So there!

as Jason pointed out, there's some controversy as to whether A Signature was a separated publication or not.
My recolection (I haven't read it in some time) is that there was some conjecture about the Signature and whether or not Targets created it as a separated publication or not.

There's a chapbook by Nicky Drumbolis which discusses this issue; unfortunately, it's not a widely known item and it's really pricey.
A Signature of Poetry.
BUKOWSKI, Charles.
[Canada: Letters, 1987]. Pamphlet. First edition. Limited to 67 numbered copies. Prints material that originally appeared in Targets a Quarterly of Poetry. Fine.

You can read Jason's comments here:

Finally, I'll tell you another little story regarding Signature #1.

When I was at the UCSB researching into B's poetry, as I said, I read in Al Fogel's book that the Signatures were the most valuable B items. I told that to the staff working there and they moved them to the Vaults, as you already know. But before I told them that, I made a SURPRISING discovery. They had 2 copies of Signature #1 and they only had one of them listed. They had a comprehensive catalogue of B's items, which I used to consult both online or using the paper catalogue. In both places they had something like this:
Signature #1, Quantity 1.

You know, I felt the evil temptation of keeping one of them in my backpack -by then they thought I was a "cool" guy and didn't watch closely what I read or copied; they just handed me stuff and then went back to whatever they were doing-. It would have been VERY EASY to put it in the backpack and quietly walk away and they wouldn't have even raised an eye.

But I didn't do it. I told them they had an "extra" Signature #1, and they said something like: "oh, thanks, we'll correct that in the catalogue", as if it were an ordinary chapbook :D
David Barker's book Charles Bukowski: A Bibliographic Price Guide
[(Salem: Barker, 1983). First edition. One of 200 numbered copies. Stapled printed wrappers. Signed by Author.] discusses the Signature issue as well...
Off hand, I don't recall more that what's noted above: I'd have to go back and reread the sources to elaborate. Give me the weekend to take a look.
cirerita said:
You know, I felt the evil temptation of keeping one of them in my backpack...But I didn't do it.
Well, you're a better man than I. ;)

Kind of amazing that two copies of something so ridiculously scarce ended up in one place.

cirerita said:
Originally published in the famed Targets #4, aka Signature #1.
So these are one in the same then?

Home from a Room Below the Plains
A Signature of Charles Bukowski Poetry - 1960

Home From A Room Below The Plains
Targets 4 - pg. 17 - 1960

Yet another thing to fix in the new db. Gah!


brooks, roads, grease, manholes, levers
all manners of traps and wet violets

wanting kisses and bacon as you fall your shoes
and your coat is dead

When you're reading this older, pre-narrative kind of off-the-wall stuff, you can sometimes glaze over, like, "What the fuck is he talking about now?" But then he'll throw some lines at you man, and you just have to stop and laugh because they're so damn out there and good.
mjp said:
So these are one in the same then?

Jason will confirm this as soon as he can. I can't remember that. In my notes I wrote what you can see in the first post of this thread.

Targets #4, also known as Charles Bukowski. A Signature.

I'm not sure if they can be considered a single publication or different publications.
ok, according to Barker "fraudulent copies of both Targets offprints must also exist". Marvin Malone told him the same happened to his Grip the Wall chapbook.
[Targets]:"According to Malone, there were NO separate publications: a few copies of each chapbook were made up for Bukowski's personal use by disbounding copies of the magazine, discarding the other contents and stapling the center sections back into the original covers of the mags."

However, "Al Fogel believes that at least some (but not certainly all) copies of the two Targets offprints are authentic".

John Martin also believes there are a few authentic offprints, probably those 6 copies listed everywhere.
Hello: Buk gave away to friends, poets & critics ALL copies of the 2 Target Offprints. When I was corresponding with him in the early 1980s (I ended up with about 30 letters from the Buk from 1980-82) he informed me he had none of the Targets offprints left. None--also--of any of his early rare chapbooks which friends (friends??) stole, filched when he was smashed.

When I purchased my copy of Signature 2 from Corrington, I also purchased from Corrington Longshot Pomes For Broke Players, first ISSUE with the Blank Pages & the only known extant copy (about 6 were printed this way before the error was discovered & corrected). Corrington also told me that FLOWER FIST was NOT Buk's first book & that HE HAD IN HIS POSSESSION BUKS TRUE FIRST BOOK & IT WAS NOT FOR SALE!!! I can't corroborate this.

However, I tried LIKE HELL to purchase Corringtons 80 PRIMO EARLY (1960s) LETTERS FROM BUKOWSKI, but he kept telling me to call back. After 6 months of long-distance calling (LD was not CHEAP in those days) I stopped calling. That was 1981. (I believe Corrington has since passed away..I'm wondering where his Bukowski private correspondence/items went??).

But of all the NEAR BUKOWSKI MISSES, the folowing one still haunts me to this day!!! In the late 1970s with a growing Bukowski collection, I was furnished the phone number of the former editor of EPOS Mag (and publisher of Buks rare 2nd booklet "Poems & Drawings"--an entire issue of her mag). She lived in Crescent City , Florida (only a few hours drive) and when her husband (co-editor) recently passed away, she wanted to dispose of her remaining mags & chapbooks...(including 2 copies of FLOWER FIST, multiple copies of EPOS SPECIAL BUK ISSUE "Poems & Drawings" , a COMPLETE RUN OF HER LONG-STANDING EPOS MAG , (102 Issues!), HUNDREDS of other small press mags (including Targets, Harlequin!!!!!, etc.). She practically GAVE THEM AWAY ($50 for everything!!!!!) so I made arrangements to visit her wilderness retreat & after spending a pleasant afternoon in her company recounting numerous stories of Bukowski misadventures, I departed with all those goodies. (I felt HIGHER THAN A KITE with all those treasures in my hands!)

But then it happened: I should NEVER HAVE ASKED!! As I was heading towards the door, I turned to her & inquired, "By the way, Evelyn..I forgot to ask..do you happen to have any Bukowski Letters or original typescript poems by him from your mags" "Oh My", she rejoined, just last week I must have thrown away 20 letters & 40 typed poems...all the poems from our special issue devoted to him--"Poems & Drawings"--" OH MY GOD!! SHE TRASHED THE ORIGINAL MSS OF BUKOWSKI'S SECOND BOOK!!!! (even at the time it was probably worth $10,000..today? $50,000?? $100,000??). "Did it have any value?" she inquired. "No...Evelyn..not much.."I lied & departed feeling depressed. One Week too late. ONE WEEK!!! Well, that's the ups & down of a book collector..oops, sorry..I mean a BUK COLLECTOR!!! Al
Al, as in Fogel? Hi Al ... long time. Good to have you here. That's a great, tragic story. Shit like that happens. The average person's instincts are all wrong when it comes to rare books, art, manuscripts, what's valuable, what's not, what to save, what to toss. But those letters! What a loss! It's painful to even think about. More stories, please.
Thanks all for the kind greetings! Thanks to Crierita who informed me about this great Buk info site. From time to time, I'll try to rack my brain for more stories by or about the Buk to recount & post. I wish I had made copies of my manny letters from the Buk before I sold them to Joe The Pro in 1982! They were AWESOME! Funny, sad..detailed..some as well-written as his stories! (altho a few became progressively disoriented & disjointed as he became more inebriated at the trailoff of his last few paragraphs). But I felt honored that he responded at all! At the time, he was somewhat of a legend & was receiving over 200 letters a week. But I guess he liked the fact that I was a horse-player (like himself) & most of our correspondence centered around the Race Track & Handicapping. He HATED to correspond about Lit ("A most disgusting subject" as he vented in one of his letters to me) so I usually kept the content about "how to beat the Horses". By the way, thanks to Bill at Bosspress Press, who published the chapbook spoof "The Switch" which gives some idea about Buks interest in the Race Track & Handicapping. I do have a few copies left which if anybody wants a signed copy for $15 postpaid, please e-mail me at "[email protected]" & I'll make arrangements to send. Al
Al: I was floored when I heard that you'd sold your fine Buk collection and then later tried buying it back. I thought I was the only one to make that particular mistake. Of course, my collection was nothing like yours. I had some cool rare early things, but not like what you had. Now, it's all gotten very expensive and all I have are reading copies and a few nicer items I managed somehow to hang onto. Anyway, I want to track down someday a later edition of your biblio and read that intro where you talk about dumping your collection. I wonder if your motives for selling were the same as mine. I felt at the time that I'd grown beyond Buk (dumb. I had grown, but not beyond enjoying and learning from his work). Plus, I needed the cash -- that never changes. Bad reasons to sell. Emminent starvation might be a better reason. One last thought: the only copy I have now of your biblio is a handwritten manuscript copy made by my mother. Weird, huh? She dabbled in rare books, and was notoriously cheap. She borrowed my copy of your biblio and handcopied it to save on the cost of xeroxing. I found it among her effects after she died. Thought you might get a kick out of knowing that; it's so medieval.
[...] like, "What the fuck is he talking about now?" [...]
Right. That poem sounds like a delirium tremens to me.
The reason seems to be that he's been terribly hungover when that happened. He later wrote in a letter to Corrington (October 1962):

"... It might amuse you to know that “Home from a Room Below the Plains” was written out of an experience I had when I was a mailman one time. Terrible hangover, stupor. I had some letters for this church. Was new on route. Couldn’t find mailbox. Wandered into church and down some steps. Dark. I saw a switch on the wall, one of those handle things by a black box. All the lights in the church came on and probably some of the candles too. And there was the priest’s cassock and stuff laid out on the table. Very holy looking. I threw the switch back off and wandered around some more. Found a can and took a crap. And almost took a shower. All this time I have this mail sack, dragging it around. Finally came out of there and found the mailbox in the parish house next door ..."

so, this cryptic poem is broaching the same incident that we knew from 'Post Office'.

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