Bukowski, Loneliness, Poetry (audio)

Hello out there, how are you doing? I am wishing you well, I am hoping you are safe and hanging in there wherever you are across the globe. I thought since we, well, many of us are spending more time perhaps alone that I would record this little something for us today. It feels a little bit more intimate, doesn’t it? Closer? To hear my voice in addition to the words? I feel so, I hope so. In any case, I was sitting with some wine last evening, or whatever evening whatever day in whatever month, and it was sunset and the light was fading out over the rooftops and the trees and I was just making a few notes here and there in some things I was reading, I’m reading some cultural texts, some books about current events and yadda ya all that madness. And my head was spinning in all of the mayhem, right, wishing things were different and knowing that it will be a long time before we crawl out from under the weight of what we are going through with coronavirus and grief and pain and the anger and the frustration and the fear and all these things. But all of a sudden my eye caught the reflection of just this small radiance, this shimmer of light reflecting through just some little houseplant in the corner of my writing room, and I remembered this poem I love, its a fairly popular poem by Charles Bukowski, called The Crunch, from his collection – I think there are multiple versions but the version I think of is the version from Love Is a Dog From Hell. You may know it, but it is a poem about loneliness, crushing loneliness and the state of a world full of neglected people, forgotten worn down souls.

So tragic but also, I am afraid so very real, right. And I think I will read it for you, first, and then I have a poem of my own I will share, the reason being is because it has been ages, ages, it feels like to me, since I have written a proper poem. I have been heavy with the prose and the non fiction and the story weaving, story telling, which I just adore, and I am so grateful that you are here with me for all of it, you hearten me very much out there. But poetry, poetry is where I come from, poetry is in my blood, it is a way of living and dreaming and breathing and being, a way of interpreting the world, outside and inside of myself. I couldn’t live without it. It has done more to transform and awaken me, enlighten me, than any other form of writing or art or expression. So I wanted to spend some time with poetry today.

So here is Charles Bukowski’s poem, The Crunch:

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or
tears

haters
lovers

strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving wine bottles
bayoneting and fucking
virgins.

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
mutilated
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners.

it hasn’t told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don’t ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about
it.

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
stems
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we have not yet
thought of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says that there is a chance.

it will not say
“no.”

Mmm. That poem murders me, it kills me with its terrible truth. But somehow, sometimes, when the truth hurts so badly we just want to hear someone say it. Out loud. We are not good to each other. Anguish in the form of poetry.

And I think about some poetry I have written, and one poem came to my mind to share with you today, it is titled “Remember Me” from my book Luminae. I wanted to read it for you in the hopes that for a little while it keeps you company, whatever you are doing.

Here is Remember Me:

Has this been the hurt inside of you
these cuts on my hands
the crush of broken promises.
Your static mouth a shrieking fog

buzzing in my head, humming –
you like grains of sand
scratching a desert
in my throat.

Remember me a grapefruit moon

hanging in your rear view mirror
love in the back seat
melon. sunset. smoke.
love

took a back seat.

Now the morning rolls down her sheets
silicone heat waves sweat across my tongue.
I listen for you but all that moves nails along the wall
are reflections of an empty afternoon.

(my arms reach
for three corners from this corner)

The windows are swallowing sunlight
the sunlight is dangling through trees
traces of a dim lit landscape
you used to speak of

in dreams.

And so with this I leave you for now. Please take the best care of yourself that you possibly can. Please be safe and well. And thank you, always, for spending some time with me. Until the next time. Cheers.

17 Replies to “Bukowski, Loneliness, Poetry (audio)”

    1. Hello there my kind friend, thank you beyond. Your care and sweet message made my day. I am okay, just going through some personal shit, plus my country is breaking my heart on the daily… But I will be back soon. Not being able to write is sort of crushing but I’m trying to remain hopeful. ❤ I send you love and hope you are well. Thank you again. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So sorry to hear you are going through tough times, wondrous spirit. Insanity grows slowly each day in the world. It’s exposing us all as society… showing us who we are deep inside. So many truly selfish humans who care little or at all for anyone else but themselves. It nevertheless warms my heart and soul to know you are around. Sending you positive and loving vibes. Hoping that light finds a way through the darkness… Much love and care. ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Streetlight Manifesto’s verse comes to my mind that perhaps captures the current moment and feels the best: “And when we fall, we will fall together; no one will catch us so we’ll catch ourselves…” 🙏❤️🙏

            Liked by 1 person

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