The Birds - Gallows, 1959

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
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#3
It reminds me of the poem, "The Colored Birds"! His second wife? Perhaps it's not meant literally.
Thanks, Cirerita...
 
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cirerita

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#6
Bukfan:

I think it's pretty literal. In Post Office, there's a very funny chapter about Bukowski setting the birds (parakeets) free. Then Barbara comes back home and she really gets mad at him. He's basically saying the same thing in the poem.
 

Johannes

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#8
Very interesting. Thanks a lot, cirerita!

The big question is, though, why would B. afterwards never state that he was married to Jane? Referring to Barbara as his first wife in all his (other) poems, novels and columns? Why why why?
 

mjp

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#9
Nice to see. The first line is great, and the last stanza is okay, but the stuff in the middle is a bit...soft, like a lot of his early work. "the clamour of the mind"? Ugh.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Well-known member
#10
I think it's pretty literal.
I see! I was referring to Buk calling Frye his second wife. Perhaps he did'nt mean it literally. It's fairly normal to refer to a long time girlfriend (Jane) as your wife. So, if Jane was his first "wife", then Frye naturally becomes his second wife, although she really was his first lawfully wife.
Then again, perhaps Buk really was married to Jane, according to the FBI files, but if so, why did'nt he mention it in his letters? It's a bit of a mystery!
 
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Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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#11
Nice to see. The first line is great, and the last stanza is okay, but the stuff in the middle is a bit...soft, like a lot of his early work. "the clamour of the mind"? Ugh.
Have to agree with you on this one MJ.
But many thanks C!
(It just doesn't feel right to write "mjp" somehow. Why is that? The letters seem to have a textual feel/ring to them. They don't work verbally for me. MJ sounds better. Oh well Mikey... ;))
 

mjp

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#12
You can call me whatever you want, just make sure you put Michael Phillips on the checks.
 

cirerita

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#13
Looks like the poem was factual after all, and it was written shortly after the divorce:
[To E. V. Griffith]
July 9, 1958
I'm quite pleased with your selections. "The Birds," which I had just written, I like personally but I found others would not like this type of thing because of its philosophical oddity. Poem, by the way, is factual and not fictional.
 
#14
I see! I was referring to Buk calling Frye his second wife. Perhaps he did'nt mean it literally. It's fairly normal to refer to a long time girlfriend (Jane) as your wife. So, if Jane was his first "wife", then Frye naturally becomes his second wife, although she really was his first lawfully wife.
Then again, perhaps Buk really was married to Jane, according to the FBI files, but if so, why did'nt he mention it in his letters? It's a bit of a mystery!
I agree with you. whether or not Jane was really his first wife isn't proof positive- he may be referring to her figuratively. It was also his first consummated relationship (aside from the prostitute, reportedly- which isn't much of a relationship), right?

The difficulty with this poem is its paradoxical simplicity and complexity. It could be interpreted literally, but also very metaphorically. There are five characters:
Bukowski
The wife (Frye)
The Parrot
The yellow bird
The green bird

I think I'll re-read it a couple of times and try to discern whether the characters exist separately (in which case, the interpretation would be more literal), or whether they are layered, corresponding, or representative of one another.

One of the lines I'm having trouble with is "glittering over a feather."
 
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cirerita

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#15
I think B. is talking about the infamous parakeets he set free in Post Office. As he said to Griffith, the poem is factual, and he probably meant everything, including the parakeets and Fry as being his 2nd wife, was factual.
 

HenryChinaski

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#17
that is one powerful fucking poem. man, i'm truly sorry I took a break from these forums. although something good did come from said break. everything is brand new again!
 
#19
I think I'll re-read it a couple of times and try to discern whether the characters exist separately (in which case, the interpretation would be more literal), or whether they are layered, corresponding, or representative of one another.
Like he said " And as it's viewed again and again special meanings will be found in the lines and scenes that weren't intended by anyone."

Now back to my scotch. Simplicity.
 

Joseph K

Active member
#20
Not exactly uncollected. A version appears pp160-1 of Pleasures of the Damned. Not marked as "uncollected" there so presumably previously collected before then.

The final words in the Pleasures version are

she found me
glittering over a yellow feather
seeking out the music
which she,
oddly,
failed to
hear.