Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain

"The Poet Laureate of Skid Row", Charles Bukowski usually falls into one of three categories with people: Love him, hate him, and who the fuck is Charles Bukowski. If you fall into the third category, do me (and yourself) a favor, read this book and then pick one of the first two.

Released a decade or so after his death, this collection of poems, many of which were written near the end of his life, truly defines the author in the context of his own life. I became a fan in the late 80's after seeing Barfly with an ex-girlfriend and then reading a few compilations of his poetry.

Of all the poems that were great in this collections, and there were many, I chose to include one here that I thought might best exemplify my words thus far. The essence of this poem defines Bukowski for me and is the reason why I think he is so amazing at what he does.

feeling fairly good tonight

Thou shalt not fail as a writer
because the vultures are waiting in the wings ready
to swoop down and sign their
“I told you so’s.”

Thou shalt not fail as a writer
because the very act of writing is the best protection
from the madness of the

Thou shalt not fail as a writer
because it 's the finest form of self-entertainment

but Thou shall be finished as a writer
upon the hour or day of your

only to have thick new books of yours
appear for years afterwards compiled
from the stockpile of poems you
left behind for your

let it be so:
these wisps of magic
wrested from the clutch

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Wow. I haven't thought about Bukowski in years. :)