It was a Bukowski week.
‘Woke up this morning and it seemed to me.
That every nights turns out to be
A little more like Bukowski’ (Bukowski by Modest Mouse)
Cynicism has reigned, its critical finger pointing its way into my awareness .
I like Bukowski, he cuts through the crap.
His words excavate the layers of human pretense and get down to the heart of why we act the way we do. There’s no flowery imagery or complexly wound phrases, instead, he has left simple words that beat out their truth. They tell of living and of the days when it is hard to keep going. He shows how we are all embroiled in each other and trapped to an extent by what society and other people think of us.
When you’re having a bad week it is unlikely that Bukowski will lift your spirits but he will get why you’re in a bad mood and articulate your frustrations. He transcends that gaping gulf between writer and reader and I am reassured because I’m reading that somebody has felt the things I currently feel. Real writers make these connections and there is immeasurable power and comfort in these connections that are made through nothing more than whispers of sound, delicate syllables trembling and hung together by threads of cohesion on a well-thumbed page.
For Bukowski humanity is few and far between, most of us have become selfish, robots who go through life without really living at all, mindlessly existing for ourselves. I’d disagree there, as much as there is inhumanity there is humanity, but I get what he is saying, when you’re having a bad week and mostly need to be on your own then Bukowski’s words resonate, he bellows a certain kind of war-cry of survival and calls us to take it on in defiance against all that is superficial and in the way of real living.
I’ve been reading his ‘Bone Palace Ballet’ collection on the tube and this poem stood out because I’m a little bit of a ‘proclaimer’ at the moment. I proclaim I want to be this and that and proclaim that at some point in the future I will be a writer but have been failing to put the work and solid graft in to make that so. How can I ever hope to become a ‘writer’ if I rarely write?
Have you read any Bukowski? What did you think? What is your ‘go-to’ poetry (or music or art) when your feeling the blues?