Poems: The Light of Jesus / A Northern Acquaintance - Wormwood #43, 1971 (1 Viewer)

Two poems that appear to be otherwise uncollected.

I absolutely love this one:

The Light of Jesus

brothers, he said,
I'm going to show
you something
you're not going
believe --

and he pulled this

it ruined my life.
sin after
sin. wrecked
homes. drinking,

I was coming to a
no good
end. I was at the
mercy of the

then one morning
sick and
the Light of
Jesus, o yes! the
Light of Jesus
fell upon me and I

all right, said somebody in the
back, quit
bragging: put that thing

we sang, then had beans and

Next up: a poem that, curiously, might be about Al Purdy??? Given what he wrote in the Buk/Purdy Letters, I'm not sure (or is this another example of two sides to his writing??), so anyone else know?

A Northern Acquaintance

there is one writer --
among others --
I never cared much
for, but we wrote
letters a while.
he lived in Canada
and made his own

and was always
Grants. also, his
wife worked.
there were always
photos of him
in an undershirt
pecking down
with big hands
at a delicate machine
down between
his knees.
and there was the
cigarette, of

we are all literary
hustlers, I wrote

I'm not sure he

I don't know
what has happened
to him
lately. sometimes the
Grants stop
and the wives

I suppose he's still at it
though --
winning the Governor's Prize
writing about
eskimos and whales.

although the best thing
he ever did was
make his own

From Wormwood #43, 1971
Thanks, PS! All uncollected Buk poems are most welcome.
Btw, you can hear Buk read them on the CD, "Bukowski - King of Poets".
Well, I'm taking a typing class, and there's this super vixen in there, and I need to get up to 25 wpm with only 3 mistakes so we can go to the Carnegie Deli for coffee and cheesecake.

Anyway, yr welcome Bukfan (signed, Sherri Martinelli)/

And thanks, hooch. Interesting that this poem was from 1971, while the material for Buk/Purdy was still in flux.
I remember both these from somewhere ... possibly Wormwood. Anyway, both good ones. So purplestickpin: how's that work? If you don't hit 25 wpm with 3 mistakes, no coffee and cheesecake, you stay in class with the dullards? No vixen? That is hardcore motivation.
the correspondence between Buk and Purdy was pretty heavy between 1964 and '68. then nothing until '74, when Purdy wrote to say he thought Mockingbird Wish Me Luck was very strong. something between '68 and '71 pissed Buk off. my guess (only a guess) is that Buk was miffed that Purdy was so celebrated in his own country, while Buk was still an underground writer. the 2 poets mined the same sort of material, even though Buk was a consistently stronger writer during this period (and I'm a Purdy fan, also. I read him before Buk). but like I said, just a guess.
The first poem is really cool :)

I always wanted to catch the B.-Purdy correspondence, but remember somebody stating (mjp I think it was) that he was disappointed after reading.

I too remember several praises for Purdys "Songs for all the Annettes" by B., even writing somewhere that he "cried all the way through the book".
Of course, I'm married, don't drink coffee and really don't care much for cheesecake. So a ;) was in order.

Thanks, hooch, for the info on the Buk/Purdy interaction.
Bukowski's take on Purdy circa 1976/77, At Marsport Drugstore, by Al Purdy, Paget Press 1977.

purdy appreciation by bukowski 1976.JPG
Nice. Thanks.
Notice how he uses the exact same facts as in the poem.
And honestly, Buk did say similar things about his own poems, f.ex. when he said that he'd rather be the worlds best pool player or plumber rather than a poet.
So the line about Purdy's wine making isn't that harsh in my opinion.
Somebody found a recording of Buk reading The Light of Jesus . Not sure how I feel about the sock puppet...

Then there's this animation of Purdy's .

I'm sure somebody has already posted Gord Downie's version of , but I'll post it again anyway because I think it's pretty damn good.

The Quinte, by the way, is still there but all gentrified to hell. You can still see the ghost sign.
In Tales of Ordinary Madness, the story "BEER AND POETS AND TALK" has this passage:
"god damn, he wrote a book of poems once called 'Song for all the Annettes' and I almost cried all the way through the book reading it."

I have "Annettes" here but it's in a box under a bunch of stuff. So rather than wake up the neighbours at 3 a.m. you'll have to give me a day or two or three. (Seems like I'm supposed to be doing something else as well....)

Fuck, why do I have Layton and Cohen out but not Purdy? Poor anticipation. That bookcase had to be moved so the wall could be accessed for re-piping five years ago. And different things got put back when the bookcase got put back.

You know?
Yes, this is the quote I mean, Digney. Thanks.

I always wanted to read "Annettes", but hard to get here. Would appreciate your opinion very much.
Here's two poems from Poems for all the Annettes. My copy is the third edition, Anansi 1973. Originally came out in 1962, Contact Press, so I don't think Quinte Hotel was in that original as it's dated 1964.

Poem For One of the Annettes by Al Purdy

(from Poems for all the Annettes, Contact Press 1962, Anansi 1968, 1973)

Which one of you? - oh now
I recognize that tear-stained pro-
Semitic nose shaped wonderfully for
your man Murray's kisses but
he left didn't he?
Oh Annette
cry like hell
for Columbus Ohio and Taos New Mexico
where he is and you're not
As if
the world had ended and
it has -

Or the Anita with undressed hips that
could break a man in half in bed and
big unpainted Rubens breasts affixed to
a living woman
swinging high over Montreal
As if
the whole damn town was a whorehouse full
of literally inclined millionaires with a yen
for your kind of dirty-story book-love and
it is -

Or Janine from Poland who's
a citizen of Canada knocked up
in Montreal by a Yank from
Columbus Ohio and
abandoned and
the abortion took place in the Town of
Mount Royal and the foetus had
no name -

Cry for your own bad judgment in
loving him with good tears that
will not
but stay
in the blue beginning of every evening when
factory watchmen are coming on duty and
silent lover are visible as moths hovering on
in eccentric silver orbit
as permanent as any in
Maisonneuve's cynical metropolis -

Cry the common sickness with ordinary tears
As if
they would flood the whole quasi-romantic town of
Montreal with the light of your darkness and
follow the gutters and sewers glowing down
thru sewage disposal plants by the river and
into the industrial waste of your dreams to
the sea
the shapeless mothering one-celled sea -

Oh Anita, they do.

-- 1961


I am drinking
I am drinking beer with yellow flowers
in underground sunlight
and you can see that I am a sensitive man
And I notice the bartender is a sensitive man too
so I tell him about his beer
I tell him the beer he draws
is half fart and half yellow horse piss
and all wonderful yellow flowers
but the bartender is not quite
so sensitive as I supposed he was
the way he looks at me now
and does not appreciate my exquisite analogy
Over in the corner two guys
are quietly making love
in the brief prelude to infinity
Opposite them a peculiar fight
enables drinkers to lay aside
their comic books and watch with interest
as I watch with interest
A wiry little man slugs another guy
then tracks him bleeding into the toilet
and slugs him to the floor again
with ugly red flowers on the tile
three minutes later he roosters over
to the table where his drunk friend sits
with another friend and slugs both
of em ass-over-electric-kettle
so I have to walk around
on my way for a piss
Now I am a sensitive man
so I say to him mildly as hell
"You shouldn'ta knocked over that good beer
with them beautiful flowers in it"
So he says to me "Come on"
So I Come On
like a rabbit with weak kidneys I guess
like a yellow streak charging
on flower power I suppose
& knock the shit outa him & sit on him
(he is a little guy)
and say reprovingly
"Violence will get you nowhere this time chum
Now you take me
I am a sensitive man
and would you believe I write poems?"
But I could see the doubt in his upside down face
in fact in all the faces
"What kind of poems?"
"Flower poems"
"So tell us a poem"
I got off the little guy reluctantly
for he was comfortable
and told them this poem
They crowded around me with tears
in their eyes and wrung my hands feelingly
for my pockets for
it was a heart-warming moment for Literature
and moved by the demonstrable effect
of great Art and the brotherhood of people I remarked
"-the poem oughta be worth some beer"
It was a mistake of terminology
for the silence came
and it was brought home to me in the tavern
that poems will not really buy beers or flowers
or a goddam thing
and I was sad
for I am a sensitive man
- Al Purdy
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Thanks, Digney, you are the man!

I knew the second one, read it online somewhere and liked it, it's funny. But I didn't know that it was from that book. Wow. No wonder B. cried all the way through, it must have been like reading himself to an extent :) ...

Gerard, you nailed it. Nothing to add.

Interesting, though: who influenced who?
Perhaps I could start a thread about Al Purdy and someone will post some uncollected poems by Buk. ;)

Seriously, it's good to see folks take the thread where it goes. It's not "off-topic" if that's where the conversation leads. Good stuff, Digney.
Now again, this is really something! Thanks for all the poems and links posted. I like the Purdy, and hope to track down the 'Annettes'. Good stuff all around! CRB:)
I am damn sure glad I dropped that $100 on that rare book which kicked off this nice discussion. It was nice for me to see Mr. Purple Stickpin making a few posts. I haven't seen nor heard from the man in a while. The other 3 books of letters were much more fun that this here Buk / Purdy but I'm still glad I bought it.
Yo Purple,
I can dig what you are sayin. I do snow removal as a professional gig. I have 2 snow blowers and a high quality shovel. I watch a lot of Weather Channel all winter long every winter. I've been doing snow removal since 1996. Old man Winter often kicks my ass. I know what's been going on up there in New England. I feel bad for you guys. I've seen the pictures and video. I'm sure you've got snow fatigue.

On another note...I've just read "Post Office" from an old copy I found. Now I know where you're Purple Stickpin comes from. You had told me before what your name meant but it was fun to read it, to see it there in print.

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