Which Bukowski poem seizes you with recognition? (1 Viewer)

While in the backseat of the family car on the way back from Las Vegas, at night, I opened up the copy of "The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills" that I checked out from the Valencia library in the Santa Clarita Valley. I got to a poem called "The Screw-Game" on page 68 and read this line:

"in ten million places in America
it is the same---
stale lives propped against each
other
and no place to
go."

I was stunned, and looked up at my dad driving, and my mom in the passenger seat in the front. That described them exactly. Lives lived more in the past than the present (though my mom has acknowledged recently that it would not be possible to go back to Orlando because of how much it's probably changed. She hates living in Southern California), and a tumultuous marriage over 26 years where I can't even tell if they love each other. I'm sure in some respect, they might, but those lines caused all the years I've been with them to flash through my mind. I remember the seemingly thousands of fights I've witnessed, and believe that the New York, New York casino must be cursed for us because during last year's trip to Vegas, they fought in our parked car in the parking garage there, and this year, they fought in the casino. Not enough to gather a crowd, but enough to make me observe that they're the only two that can turn a good time in Las Vegas into poison.

Bukowski got it right.

Now I ask you: Which of Bukowski's poems causes the same thing in you? Which one(s) do you read and think, "That's me," or "I've been through that," or "I know that feeling intimately"?
 

Johannes

Founding member
The first poem I ever read from Bukowski was "those sons of bitches" from "Mockingbird Wish Me Luck" in German translation, very long ago. After a very depressing workday I just stumbled over it, never having heard or read the name "Bukowski" or anything else.

The lines started running through my brain:

"the dead come running sideways
holding toothpaste ads,
the dead are drunk on New Year's eve
satisfied at Christmas
thankful on Thanksgiving
bored on the 4th of July
loafing on Labor Day
confused at Easter
cloudy at funerals
clowning at hospitals
nervous at birth;
the dead shop for stockings and shorts
and belts and rugs and vases and
coffeetables,
the dead dance with the dead
the dead sleep with the dead
the dead eat with the dead"

... and as they did, my fellow workers rose before my inner eye, cruel, mad, insane, viciously bitching and ranting the whole day against each other and how each one of them was the GREATEST, having fucked the most, knowing everything, asslicking every person above them and with the greatest of pleasures kicking at the ones beneath. Really, even the sight of them was hard enough to take, but having to hear them talk 8 or 9 hours each day almost drove me insane.

When I came to the closing lines:

"those sons of bitches


this graveyard above the ground


one tombstone for the mess,
I say:
humanity, you never had it
from the beginning"

... I felt goosepumps running all over my body. I leant back in my seat, breathed and then started to search for every word the man has ever written, which continues until today. The world has never been the same since then.
 
wow, great thread Rory. there are prolly a dozen poems that have hit me like that, but here's one that really meant something to me after going through numerous health issues...

the_way_it_is_1990.jpg
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Well, everyone one of you picked some good lines and that's why Bukowski is a genius. He has found the core of our spirit. I can relate to most of his writing. I have not been to the hells he has lived through but I get his point. We all have our own hell and suffering. He has some heaven in there in places as well, but not much.
His poem Bluebird is one of my favorites which explains quite a bit. He is a genius.
 
... I can relate to most of his writing. I have not been to the hells he has lived through but I get his point. We all have our own hell and suffering...

very right.
i couldn't chose only one, or only a dozen. maybe a hundred, but i doubt that.

my first thought was the same as Johannes' with this wonderful paragraph about the graveyard and humanity never had it from the biginning.

but since he also brought up the idea to talk about the FIRST time a poem of Buk stroke you:


i had a german collection titled 'Eintritt Frei' [(='Free Entry'), it now is part of a bigger book named 'Western Avenue]. This collection gathered several poems from 'It catches', 'Crucifix' and 'Terror Street'.

Flipping through it, the first piece, where I found myself was 'DON'T COME ROUND BUT IF YOU DO'.
(german: 'Lass dich hier nicht blicken!')

I was 17 then, xeroxed it - and pinned it on the outside of the door of my room.
of course, nobody understood.
 

Johannes

Founding member
Flipping through it, the first piece, where I found myself was 'DON'T COME ROUND BUT IF YOU DO'.
(german: 'Lass dich hier nicht blicken!')

I was 17 then, xeroxed it - and pinned it on the outside of the door of my room.
of course, nobody understood.

Don't come round but if you do was also one of my early favorites. Those lines really slammed it home for me.
 
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"The Secret Of My Endurance" does it or me! This was after I had listen to him recite it on cd. That I went looking for it. His way of life there in words.
 
"The Singular Self" from "burning in water drowning in flame" or "Shoelace" from "Mockingbird.." come to mind immediately . when i read them first they really struck a chord with me. It was like they were saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time . I won't go in to why but they really just put things in perspective. "Palm Leaves" and "Bluebird" as well. really there is to many to name that hold some relevance or importance to me. Well, I guess thats why Bukowski's my favorite poet.Also, "i met genius" never fails to cheer me up
 
The poem Cancer in Septuagenarian Stew. I could relate to it and it made me have to tell my mother how much I loved her right then and there. It made me cry on the spot. That was the first time I have read something that made me cry.
 

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