Wings of Song (?) (1 Viewer)


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I remember B. mentioning two times a story about a "guy in a liquor store" who "read something in the LA-Times" about him and therefore would greet him by saying "WINGS OF SONG!", whenever he entered that liquor-store:

1. The Hackford-documentation. There B. says something like:

"I think the gods have been kinda good to me. Kept me where I belong. Just kept me where I belong. Not too much. Just right. I can walk down the street nobody knows me. Except the guys in the liquor store, they read something in the LA Times, something came out. I go in for a beer, you know, buy some beer, this guy says: WINGS OF SONG! He knows me."

2. A story I can't remember. I've read it in german translation only and think it was called "Mensch Meier" or something, probably from "Pittsburgh Phil & Co." which would be "South of No Nord". (Maybe roni knows better? The original title?)

Anyway, that leads to two questions:

1. Which Article in the LA Times was that? Any ideas anybody?

2. And, why "Wings of Song?" Is it from a B.-poem?

Googling the term there is a 1979 science fiction novel called like that ( which can't be the source.

Then there is a collection of songs by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy called "On Wings Of Song" ( which seems more likely and has its name obviously from a poem from german poet Heinrich Heine (

Does anybody know more about this?
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there's a story in Hot Water Music called "Scream When You Burn" that mentions "Wings of Song."
pg. 21. of my copy.
Well, if the liquor store guy was calling him that in 1972, 1973, when Hackford's piece was filmed, according to the Los Angeles Times archives, these are the only mentions of "Charles "Bukowski" between 1963 and 1970 (the next hit was 1973 which would have been too late):

ROBERT R KIRSCH; Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Apr 15, 1963; C11;
Literary magazines are having their troubles in Southern California. One in particular which is trying to stay alive is an independent avant garde publication called Coastlines, the only quarterly of its kind in...

Poetry in Paperback
JACK HIRSCHMAN; Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jun 23, 1963; B15;
The most important, i.e., necessary, volume of poetry to appear in America by an American poet during the past year is Robert Creeley's "For Love" (Scribners). The beauty of it lies in the fact that, whatever the kultur-mongering, the poetry speaks through.

Calendar of" Events
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); May 7, 1964; G4;
The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 7500 DeSoto Ave., will welcome new members at the 8 and 11 a.m. services Sunday, May 10. Sermon topic will be "First in Outer Space" by...

3 Volumes of Poetry From the Pen of Charles Bukowski
BEN PLEASANTS; Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Nov 29, 1970; R70;
For 10 years Charles Bukowski has been hiding out in the back alleys of the American avant-garde king of the mimeo presses, a squatter on the poetic

It pretty much would have had to have been Pleasants piece that the liquor store owner read. Though I would like to read the other two stories from 1963, but it would be $10.95 to pull all three of those from the LAT archive (or just $3.95 for the Pleasants article). Or they could be in a binder somewhere.

I wonder what he did to be listed in the "calendar of events" in 1964? An early, pre-Bridge reading? Or a different Charles Bukowski...
Okay, well, no answer there.


Could the evil and notorious Dr. Pleasants be the source? Sadly, no.


The liquor store guy is misquoting something.
Or maybe it was in this LA Times piece from 1972:
"Bukowski in Jet Stream of Words" by DON STRACHAN, in Los Angeles Times Nov 5, 1972.

Alas, this one is not in my binders, but maybe you can get it via Pro Quest.
The Strachan piece seem to be at the Times. If you make a pre 1985 search, it's item 116:
Bukowski in Jet Stream of Words

Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: Nov 5, 1972
Start Page: S64
Pages: 1
Text Word Count: 382

Abstract (Document Summary)

"I find that when the pain gets bad enough there are only three things to do--get drunk, kill yourself or laugh. I usually get drunk and laugh," writes Bukowski in one of the opening...
there's a story in Hot Water Music called "Scream When You Burn" that mentions "Wings of Song."
pg. 21. of my copy.
That's it. Exactly. Thanks hoochmonkey9

Yes, so obviously it wasn't the LA Times (if it's not the Strachan text) but maybe some other (weekly) paper. Although B. mentions this twice and twice in the LA-Times-context.

Interesting finds, though, thank you very much, mjp.

" ... a surrealistic postman in suicide pajamas"? :)

If the term really comes from Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, it would be kind of funny to recapitulate its way, you know, coming from Heinrich Heine via Mendelssohn-Bartholdy via B. via the LA Times to some liquor store guy.

The power of the written word!
Maybe here's something?

"some guy over other night to interview me for the L.A. Times magazine West. I was very drunk and think I insulted the guy on principle. He wouldn't even phone me for further details on article but phoned Frances. If this ever comes out in about a month or a month and a half they are really gong to try to rip the meat from me down at the bastille."

- Screams From The Balcony, p. 295

This would put it in `67+ if it ever came out. Probably there isn't a L.A. Times-magazine called "West" anymore? Ah, I just googled, there seems to be something:


But maybe/probably the content of it was never included in the archives?
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I recently re-read the John Thomas interview from 1967 and B. mentions a few times that it's the third interview that year. He self-interviewed for In New York and that came out in 1967, but I haven't been able to find the 3rd interview. Maybe it's the one you just mentioned, Johannes, the one from West.
re-watching that passage in the Hackford-Docu last night, it feels to me, that this article he's talking about, can't be Very long ago. (unlikely that Buk used the same liquor store over so many years - he always claimed, he was changing from time to time. and even if he kept it so long, would they make this joke for more than, say one or two years?)

that would put it closer to the early 70s.

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