I’m Sorry, Mr. Bukowski

While walking around the lake again today, (yes, the lake that is in the town which I claim to hate so much. I cannot completely rationalize why I do not fix my car and get out of here instead of always walking around the lake, but I do know that it can be damn comforting sometimes, proving that maybe I don’t hate this place as much as I claim. But, yes, I do) I realized something that makes me somewhat sad: I cannot handle the work of Charles Bukowski. Yeah, I’m 23 and a dropout and a millennial, so I understand that, theoretically, he should be some sort of patron saint for me. Today I began listening to Ham on Rye and was almost immediately turned off. Bukowski begins the novel (which is pretty obviously just his real life) by recounting his first memories; the first is of his coming into consciousness underneath a table. The author recounts being entranced by the table and its cloth, but not by the humans in the room. Charles then remembers his parents fighting, and his grandmother being in the room, who he callously punches in the face. This is all objectively funny, but knowing that it thrust into existence a man who would quickly begin to loathe life and all that it has to offer is just too much for me at this time.

I’m depressed, sure. Socially anxious? Sign me up. But to suggest that even Bukowski was absolutely hopeless directly after birth is not only tragic beyond entertaining, it’s also just wrong.

On Writing was the first work I read by Bukowski, and in all honesty, all I can say I have finished by him. The book is a collection of mostly letters to editors and publishers and what some may consider friends. The book is endlessly funny, and I laughed while reading a book more than I can remember in the last few years.

 

Today at the park I walked passed someone who I had been in class with this semester. This was a class that I had dropped out of, and so I found the sight of him interesting. He is a late 20-something who ​was in the military, was injured, and was now looking for his next step in life. I really do wish this guy – I can’t remember his name at the moment – luck. Not because ‘the world is a hard place’ or anything like that, but because this guy has the most intimidating military in the world under his belt as a reference and is still not progressing much further than I am, it seems. I hate to say it, but I don’t think that Clement Park will in the future be regarded as a breeding ground for genius.

A note to the reader: I misspelled genius on the first try.

 

My attraction to Charles Bukowski is the same one that I have for many artists: the act of taking something mundane and making it interesting. It’s what all of my favorite artists can do so well – David Sedaris, Marc Maron, Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, Max Bemis, etc. The thing my personal favorites do, opposed to Bukowski, is pull themselves out of their darkest states. That is where the real comedy resides. I’m not trying to put a label on Bukowski, (not that it would ever matter) but the works he writes are closer to tragedy than anything else. To simply dismiss one’s potential as a life of misery is a truly foolish act. This makes my struggle with Bukowski one that is too close to home sometimes, as I too, can often feel hopeless. So the catch twenty-two becomes that I resonate with this hopelessness which makes me feel better, but then I know that I don’t want to feel hopeless because it makes me feel worse.

So, I am sorry to the late Mr. Charles Bukowski, and to the baby-boomers who based their ideals upon the Beats generation, and I am sorry to the countless college students my age who think that ‘YOLO’ might be a serious lifestyle, because that sucks. If I can walk around some stupid, old-person ridden, goose-shit strewn puddle and be constantly amazed at how transformative the act of going outside can be, I am positive that so many, like Mr. Bukowski, have sold themselves short.

People are meant to struggle, and to have things to deal with, and to not be okay all of the time. It’s so trite and kitsch, but if that shit didn’t happen life wouldn’t be worth living. It is often a struggle for me to not break down every day, but I know (and I’d argue that deep down Bukowski knew) that there is a reason behind the bullshit. And even if there isn’t, you hope that there is so that you can try and be a more empathetic, compassionate, understanding human being.

 

As I’m writing this, my roommate’s dog is letting out the most annoying fucking bark I swear to God you have ever heard.

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Kid up front

Round body. Not fat, not spherical. Just round. Head would probably look less small if body weren’t so round.

Pony tail. No glasses, why would there be glasses?

Dresses like 2001. Middle school 2001.

“25 is when the brain stops uh, producing. Just producing. Uh. And decays?”

Left hand on right side, right hand writing.

Notes are probably just own thoughts though.

Just own thoughts.

Maybe not, maybe they’re someone else’s thoughts.

Red shoes, green shirt, blue backpack. Still quantitative.

Bic pen. Bic? I think maybe the Bic says the most.

What an uncomfortable pen.

Cares about knowledge but not writing comfortability.

To each their own.

Savor

The air is calming. You’re with me, but also the people around me don’t make me as anxious as they do everywhere else. Things are moving a bit fast than usual, but slower than usual in an all-too carefully crafted together atmosphere. The lights are dim, but not dark, it makes the colors stand out more. You are there with me and then he is there. The music is perfect. The resonance, the energy, the skill, it’s more than could ever be expected. You smile and sway and I’m happy. There are more songs and more energy and it is loud and it is fantastic. You’re still smiling and I’m happy. They finish, we leave, we stop at a gas station for snacks and we’re tired, but I’m happy.

Savor

Roots

I wasn’t born next to you

but I didn’t really grow up next to anyone

I didn’t really grow at all

So it was easy

when you uprooted me

Built a bed with me

and planted yourself, again

with me