Lost girlfriend, beat up old car (1 Viewer)

Hi guys, new poster here.

I'm bothered by the tantalizing half-memory of a Bukowski poem...he's describing a woman he loses, and then driving around, looking for her in a beat up old car. The thing's lights are playing up and it's almost falling to bits. Had an almost surreal edge, if I recall correctly. Or did I dream it?

While it's nice as a tantalizing half memory, perhaps the time has come to see if it's actually real or not...

Does anybody have any ideas which of the great man's poems this could be?

Thanks for any suggestions...
 
Thanks, roni.

Mr Waits is a big Bukowski fan, as I'm sure the faithful here are aware. He's done a couple of great spoken word pieces of Buk's work...'Nirvana' springs to mind

 
Maybe (I'm not 100% sure, here) there is also a note that the girlfriend leaves? Or he comes home and she's just gone, and he goes out looking for her in the old car?

Damn, it's so frustrating. I'd be relieved if someone can help me with this...
 
Thanks d grey...that's a great poem and I really enjoyed it...but it's not the one I'm looking for.

You're right, there are real similarities, though.

I'm sure the poem I'm after ended on a note of desperation as he was cruising around the streets, trying to find this woman, in this clapped out old car with the indicators/lights playing up, etc.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
The woman in the poem you're looking for is probably Pamela Woods (Tammie aka Cupcakes in "Women").
 
Thanks, Ponder...could well be her. I've read 'Women' some years back, but there were so many different women in it, I'll have to refresh my memory by dipping into the book again.

Overall, I preferred 'Post Office' and especially 'Factotum' over 'Women.' I dunno, maybe I sympathized more with Buk when he was the downtrodden underdog...
 
Cast my vote for Factotum. Surprised to see I'm outvoted, and that most of you preferred 'Women'!

Embarrased to admit I haven't read enough of Buk's work from the other categories to give an informed opinion...still, the poll results give me a good idea of where to start reading!
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
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Bukowski wrote about an old car (which cost him just $35 USD) which had bad wiring; the lights would only come on if he hit a bump in the road. This car is mentioned in at least two poems ('I didn’t want to' - Dangling... and 'transport' - The Last Night...) and also in Factotum (Chapter 41).

Could that be what you're thinking of?
 
Thanks for taking the time, Hank. Maybe I'm getting closer to it with your information. I suppose it is likely to be the $35 car you mention...but it isn't any of the three poems/extracts you kindly listed for me.

Um...as I said, in my memory the poem seemed to have an almost surreal edge. Did Buk compare the car to something to make it seem huge, or odd...I dunno, something like a battleship, cruising through the streets at night?

He sounded pretty distraught that this woman had left him...full of regret, searching in vain for her...
 
...and especially 'Factotum' over 'Women.'...
Good, good , good. Factotum is, by a wide margin, my favorite of his novels.

And I'm like a god-damned expert, or something. :?:

Um...as I said, in my memory the poem seemed to have an almost surreal edge. Did Buk compare the car to something to make it seem huge, or odd...I dunno, something like a battleship, cruising through the streets at night?

He sounded pretty distraught that this woman had left him...full of regret, searching in vain for her...

Unfortunately, there are many episodes of distraught over a shack-job, so it's hard to pin down. But I'm guessing either Pammy or Linda King. So, focus on Love is Dog..., Play the Piano..., or Dangling.... Or perhaps one of the posthumous abortions. Glad I could narrow his down for you. :eek:

I'm thinking that the car must be the '62 Volks. Maybe you figure this out by tomorrow, but I've some time to dig through the books this weekend. But if HankSolo can't help, then we are in dire straights indeed (just don't listen to dire straights; shudder).
 
Thanks for the thoughts, 5.28am and Purple Stickpin (what the six inch Buk slew the wicked witch with, right?)

Yeah, Factotum for me, all the way. A cracking read. I'm a struggling artist and (unpublished) writer, but my life - mercifully - has been nowhere near as tough the one Buk lived. But he took me there with Factotum, and I saw it all through his eyes. It's also the book I recommend and buy for friends to start them off with, if I think they'll enjoy Buk. Garnered a couple of converts with it, at any rate.

One of my mates is trying to get his nice middle class wife to set Factotum for her nice, middle class ladies reading group. That's a meeting I'd like to sit in on...

Hm. I'm only just realizing how formidable a task, finding this poem could be. I didn't know how prolific Buk was with his poetry. THOUSANDS of poems...Christ. It isn't from a book in my library, so the words "needle" and "haystack" come to mind...

But thanks for everyones thoughts, and if anyone stumbles upon it, please do let me know...
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Did Buk compare the car to something to make it seem huge, or odd...I dunno, something like a battleship, cruising through the streets at night?

He sounded pretty distraught that this woman had left him...full of regret, searching in vain for her...
Bukowski referred to Cupcake's old car as a blood-wine battleship:

I made a mistake
[...]
I keep searching the streets for that
blood-wine battleship she drives
with a weak battery, and the doors
hanging from broken hinges.
I drive around the streets
an inch away from weeping,
ashamed of my sentimentality and
possible love.
[...]
from Love is a Dog from Hell

I think there's a good chance that this is the poem you meant. He was pretty torn up over Cupcakes.
 
YES!! You genius, Hank...the needle in the haystack has been found! I was beginning to think I'd imagined the poem, if nobody here could ID it for me.
Several of you were closing in on it...Ponder figuring out who the woman was, Stickpin narrowing down which book it was likely to be in...

And now I've got it! I'd mis-remembered that it was Buk's beaten up old car, rather than his girlfriend's that featured in the poem, so that made finding it more difficult.

"that blood-wine battleship she drives with a weak battery, and the doors hanging from broken hinges" what an image! Fortunately part of that seared itself into my memory, and into Hank's too...

I guess it isn't one of Buk's best known poems, but I think it's a gorgeous piece. I'm not the expert that you guys are, but Buk sounds really heartbroken over Cupcakes, here...leaving notes, and crosses and poems for her. It's great to be reunited with this poem again.

Thanks to Hank Solo and to everyone else who helped me in solving this mystery.
 
And d grey did very well too, finding a poem that almost perfectly fitted my misremembered description! That was a feat in itself...

I suppose I was getting my memory of reading about Buk's beaten-up $35 car with the dodgy lights mixed up with Cupcake's "blood-wine battleship [with] doors hanging from broken hinges".

Thanks again, guys!
 
You sure did, d! (Oh, and apologies for mis-spelling your name twice, already)

I'm really pleased to have this poem again. I think it's got genuine power; seeing such sentiment bleeding out from someone as hard edged as Buk. I read it years ago, and it's been nagging away at the back of my mind, especially in recent weeks, for some reason.

Looks like a great community here. I'll see if I can stick around, and actually contribute something of use elsewhere on the forums.
 

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