Was Bukowski bisexual?

cirerita

Founding member
I know, I know, this is a very controversial issue for some people, so please don't flame me!

When I interviewed Harold Norse at his place back in 2001 he was absolutely convinced B was bisexual, and he explained to me that story -the one he also published somewhere- where B would show him his pecker and asked Norse to show his in return.

Then we have the infamous Notes of a Dirty Old Man story where he screws a man in the ass thinking he's a woman.

so, what's your take?
 

mjp

Founding member
Hasn't Cherkovski also suggested as much?

My take on it is if Bukowski was bisexual, he probably didn't act on it. At least not out in the open, once he was more well known.

He didn't hold much back in the writing, so I can't see him really hiding too much. But on the other hand, he built and maintained the IMAGE. And I'm sure that to him, any kind of frisky behavior with another dude was probably way, way outside the image.

Who knows.
 

Charlie

Founding member
There was that one time, recounted somewhere in Notes of a Dirty Old Man, that he accidentally fucked a guy. To be honest, he didn't seem that shook up about it. Then again, he admitted this outright, so if he did it again, especially if he did it on purpose this time, there probably would have been some mention of it.

One other thing - that picture of him with that gay writer. Someone put it up here recently. What was that about?
 

mjp

Founding member
If some guy came in here and said, "Bukowski went down on me every day during the Summer of 1956!" You'd probably think, "Um hm, whatever." So really, it's all speculation.

Unless that guy has pictures...

Or unless Linda B. or Linda K. or another very close female friend is sitting on some info (no pun intended) they eventually share. Even that would only be hearsay, so we're back to speculation...
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
UH OH...this makes me question some things. In the laughing with the gods interview, Buk tells Fernanda about a guy who wanted to make a tv show about him. In one of the episodes they were gonna talk about his "homosexual experience" and Buk didn't like this idea. he said "what homosexual experience? I Never had one!"
DUH DUH DUH...
so...nobody knows

maybe this should be in the dispelling bukowski myths thread?
 

purdy bluebird

Founding member
my take is. like the martin mull song. 'and as far as that time in the bus station goes, i'm everything that he was'.

(i'm everyone i've ever loved is the song title)
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
well in Notes Of A Dirty Old Man, he seemed pissed off about the whole deal but the fact that he wrote about it and I'm assuming even had it published in Open City, makes me think that if it in fact did happen, it was an honest mistake. also maybe he wasnt too ashamed of it. but I don't think that he ever was...bisexual and besides that, the book Women says it all.
 

cirerita

Founding member
of course he wasn't bisexual on a REGULAR basis, but what Norse and Cherkovski -and others I can't recall now- suggested was that B probably felt the desire to be so but he was too "puritan" to admit it.
 

mjp

Founding member
Maybe HenryChinaski doesn't like to think about the possibility of Bukowski partaking in any man-on-man action. Heh.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
ahahhahahahahah nah not really. it doesnt really bother me. this whole discussion seems a bit pointless though because he's dead now. when he died he had a wife. and as far as anybody knows...he never had any man on man action other than the story in Notes of a...
 

mjp

Founding member
Yep.

I suppose I could ask Linda next time I see her at the grocery store.

"Hi, sorry to bother you, but was Hank bisexual? Some of us were wondering."

Ha ha ha.
 
This topic intrigued me no end...I have speculated about this issue once or twice...but largely because I am bisexual and Bukowski appealed to me so much yet he was very much a masculine man, a no bullshit, tough boy. (I am no pansy, nor am I some macho man).

If we must resort to category then undoubtedly Bukowski was heterosexual. Did he have any homoerotic experience? Undoubtedly. But in the final analysis this is just scandalous gossiping...with no real conclusion.

I suppose Bukowski wasn't the most vocal on issues of sexuality...I have found some interesting lines in his prose poems that point to supposed 'views' in sexuality and homosexuality:

Refrences to sexuality and homosexuality in: 'the days run away like wild horses over the hills')

*what a man I was (page 15)
-'...not a boy there looked like he'd turn
into a man
90% homosexuals, the lot of them...'


*did i ever tell you?page98
(this entire poem reads from a female perspective on gay men, like a fag hag, or a device buk uses to distance himself from the subjetc matter so he can write about the subject. a truly bizzare prose poem. not like anything buk wrote, largely because of the gay theme. would love to know more about it. afterall, it goes on for 9 pages. featuring such suggestive lines as....

'...And the tall one who
became a forest ranger
and left a note with Roger
confessing he was queer
(but roger already knew)...'


or

'...And Jerry was just like a horse-
if I looked him in the eye
he couldn't
kiss me.
(He just pretended he was gay
but he wasn't.)
(I call tell. Oh, I can always tell.)'


*fag,fag,fag (page110)

Very revealing lines on the issue of homosexuality:

'I have nothing against 2 men sleeping together
so long as i am not one of those 2
men.

I didn't infer which one was the
fag.'


In Factotum near the end Bukowski is working in a Paint shop and one of the guys he works with is a fag (yet he has a girlfriend) and he invites Buk home and Buk goes to his house the guy wants to fuck on his 'machine' but buk just doesn't bother and says: 'I can't do it Paul. I'm straight.' and Paul replies: 'Well if you want fuck me. I'll fuck myself.'

----

Forgive me bring this thread back from history but I was just searching and for personal reasons this thread took an interest in me and I thought I would add my observatiosn and findings. In the end, Buk knew homosexuality existed, he wrote about it without any more or less deprecation than anything else...f his tone embraces all the 'anomalies of life'.
 

ClassIntellectual

Founding member
Didn't he also always refer to Allen Ginsberg as "that faaaaaaaaaagggggg"?
Not sure if that was meant as an insult, or somehow just an identifying feature.
 
Of course it doesn't matter but since the post existed and it had some relevance to me and I had found a couple of passages from Bukowski relevant to the topic I thought I would share my thoughts.

does it really matter
if it mattered
for a mintue?

haha!

As I said previously: Forgive me bring this thread back from history but I was just searching and for personal reasons this thread took an interest in me, and I thought I would add my observatiosn and findings. In the end, Buk knew homosexuality existed, he wrote about it without any more or less deprecation than anything else...his general overall tone, of dour and mute cynicism, embraces all the 'anomalies of life'.
 

cirerita

Founding member
it's ok, Olaf, you don't have to justify your position. to some people it doesn't matter at all, to others, just a tiny little bit and there are people who think this is an interesting topic.
 

SamDusky

Founding member
I think a lot of folks feel that it doesn't fit his persona, and what they want to think about him"”the quintessential macho figure of the century. But, from my study of his opinions, feelings and philosophy, he certainly had no problem with any lifestyle and embraced the whole of humankind. He also liked to tweak (no pun int.) everyone's preconceptions and toss off a phrase about someone (like Ginsberg) just to get a rise out of the world. In the end (this is fraught with possible unintendeds), he was about waking up a sleeping humanity to who they were, and letting them laugh at themselves and the curious fate and predicament of being alive.

SD
 
This BB is an anomaly in a number of ways. I've noted it before in a different regard, but there is no policy on reviving old threads (which I am pleased with). If you have something to add I believe you should join the discussion. There's no natural law prohibiting a topic of discussion from being revived.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
cirerita said:
of course he wasn't bisexual on a REGULAR basis, but what Norse and Cherkovski -and others I can't recall now- suggested was that B probably felt the desire to be so but he was too "puritan" to admit it.

We must remember that Norse and Cherkovski are both homosexuals.
Maybe they had their own agenda in claiming this. On the other hand one could argue that they should "know" or feel it , if Buk was bisexual.
Frankly I don?t give a damn one way or the other...
 
What does it matter, aren't we all really slightly bi?

This is slightly unrelated, but as I am sure everyone is done with this thread anyway, it does not matter. At an old job of mine I worked with this gay guy. His name was Gayb. When a buddy and me would talk to him we would always say "Hey Gaayyyyyyyyyb" "What are you doing Gaayyyyyyyyyb?"
Gayb did not care. Or at least he did not act like he cared. It was funny. That's all.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
I doubt Buk was bi. But who knows. He was a great artist and artists come from all walks of life.

No big deal to discuss and explore the evidence, though. You know - macho guys who brag about scoring and start tavern brawls are maybe a LITTLE TOO MANLY ? Hmmm ???

:>)
 

mjp

Founding member
Brandon g said:
His name was Gayb. ...we would always say "Hey Gaayyyyyyyyyb" Gayb did not care.
If you name yourself Gayb (I'm assuming he did that himself, but that could just be an English-centric assumption on my part), you kind of have to not care when people mock you.
 
Maybe he had homosexual tendencies which he didnt act on.A lot of alcoholics and drug addicts are hetrosexual men who cant handle their homosexual feelings. But as far as him askin Chinaski to show him his pecker and buk would show him his.This I think is harmless fun.I,ve seen this go on with drunk people before.Curiosity killed the cat
 
number6horse said:
I doubt Buk was bi. But who knows. He was a great artist and artists come from all walks of life.

No big deal to discuss and explore the evidence, though. You know - macho guys who brag about scoring and start tavern brawls are maybe a LITTLE TOO MANLY ? Hmmm ???

:>)
I agree. I doubt whether Buk was BI, but he certainly exagerrated his sexual encounters with women,fights and athletic prowess. Buk eventually became the quintessential macho caricature of himself through the merging of fact and fiction in his poems, novels and even letters.
A nameless woman told me Buk found it difficult to get and maintain an erection which seems perfectly reasonable given his drinking.I am merely conjecturing but I believe Buk often drank because of his shyness around women. Then he was faced with having to live up to his writings about his prodigious sexual appetite with the same women. The more I read his descriptions of fights at work and at bars, they appear strained. No doubt, he fought other men, but I doubt the quantity and kind of fights he writes about, especially with African-American co-workers so as to be accepted on the job. There is one particular poem he writes about setting a long jump record at Los Angeles High after being provoked by the Phys Ed teacher and ,then never joining the school team. I doubt it.He was more comfortable as a military cadet than in sports. But really, I don't give a shit. I like Buk's writing whether largely fact or fiction.
 
hey
i could care a great deal less than most what bukowski's sexual orientation was...i have posted my opinion prior - i do not research a poet's sexual orientation prior to appreciating his/her works!
anyone here ill at ease with his/her attractions to others?
if so - i hereby post a rainbow...for you who may not raise your heads above the sands - fuck off! you'll not view prisim of color!

rrat
 

SamDusky

Founding member
And I say, Huzzah! river rat, huzzah. It sounds good to me. I'm not quite sure what it means (you'll not view prism of color!), but it sounds damn good to me. And I doubt that there's too many (or any) bigoted people on this site. They wouldn?t be able to stand the heat. From what I know of Buk, he accepted virtually everyone of every stripe; it was just humanity that he had a problem with (a sentiment that I share, on the whole?collectively, people can be an unconscionable lot, unfortunately [present company excepted, of course.]) If people could just wake up and smell the......okay, don?t get me started; I just wanted to say I agreed with you.

SD
 
I hope for your own sakes, that at some point in the near future,some of you good people can find a way of extricating your heads out of your arses for once and for all. What a load of bollocks! I am now going to give you all some top secret, classified information specifically designed to assist you in this process; Charles Bukowski WAS NOT A GAY NAZI. Now, GET A LIFE! Tune in next week to find out if Dear Old Hank was really Charlie Manson with a big belly......
 
Crazy in the ass

There was that one time, recounted somewhere in Notes of a Dirty Old Man, that he accidentally fucked a guy. To be honest, he didn't seem that shook up about it. Then again, he admitted this outright, so if he did it again, especially if he did it on purpose this time, there probably would have been some mention of it.

One other thing - that picture of him with that gay writer. Someone put it up here recently. What was that about?

I remember that piece in Notes... as being mostly sardonic, funny, with some of his wicked observations about matters-sexual. I mean, imagine the Great Lover Bukowski waking up in bed with someone after this wild all-night party"”people stoned and out of their minds"”and he assumes it's a woman without knowing for sure. Then his antics"”Bukowski being Bukowski"”go on from there, like going ahead in his attempt to ream "her" without making sure of the bedmate's gender. I find that hilarious and I think Bukowski meant it to be.

He also makes some funny comments like, well, he once imagined that fucking someone in the ass might be the answer to all of life's problems, or at least to his. That can be a guy thing and not a gay thing. Like, what's it like?"”and then you imagine it as one more unknown in life to expunge by finally having the experience so you no longer have to obsess about it. After all, how many guys haven't obsessed about wanting to buttfukk their girl friends, and did? In the story it seems like he actually went ahead and did it, or gave the funny impression that he did. It was part of his little exposition on his obsession with anal sex as the solution to the riddle of life. I thought it was a funny story at the time, and the point of it, what made it work, at least to me, was that he wasn't a homosexual but here he was, through this unlikely set of circumstances, trying to fuck this guy in the ass! That's what made it funny. I still think it's funny. Maybe he did.

As to his alleged bi-sexuality, I would only go so far to say that Bukowski came in contact with people of all sexual persuasions, including some homosexual writers with odd sexual proclivities and eccentricities, and these people made for good stories, especially because Bukowski felt superior to all of them, or so it seems. He wrote about them as he did with everything else in life and he accepted it all, as it was going on, as fodder for his typer. But that doesn't mean he was getting reamed in the ass or was actively seeking it, though there may have been some minor experimentation (I'm guessing) or curiosity.

I'd go back and reread this piece myself for more of the details but my library was a casualty of my move from CA to AZ years ago. (It's okay because I felt that I'd absorbed most of the beauty and savagery of his writings anyway.) Nevertheless, someone should find this piece and share what he says and look up some of the exact quotes I'm referring to. And of course, he sometimes exaggerated events for humorous effects because he was a poet and not a proctologist.
 
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i laughed hard at that piece, great writing, but myself never got the feeling that he really did buttfuck that guy, i still don't, i mean, calling his mother or whatever he did doesn't really seem likely (am i still at the same story?). more like he found a sleeping naked man in his bed after a night of drinking and made up the story from there. oh well, if he did it would be even funnier
 
Bukowski wasn't gay but his boyfriend was.

I'm bisexual, if I want sex I have to buy it.

My wife is bi-sexual. She says if I buy her something she'll get sexual.

That's all the jokes for now.
 
G

grayxray

I would be suprised if Buk was bi. I would have a hard time believing it as Buk was true to himself, what you saw was what you got. If he was bi then at least one of his lovers would have spilled the beans by now. Secrets like that just don't keep very well when you are doing it with famous people.

Now this is just my opinion.
 

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