Wednesday, August 16, 2017

All Thanks to an Ugly Horse, or: Born 97 Years Ago Today

Bukowski born 97 years ago today. The traditional Egoslavian Bukowski birthday post.


a 340 dollar horse and a 100 dollar whore

Charles Bukowski

don’t ever get the idea I am a poet; you can see me
at the racetrack any day half drunk
betting quarters, sidewheelers and straight thoroughs,
but let me tell you, there are some women there
who go where the money goes, and sometimes when you
look at these whores these onehundreddollar whores
you wonder sometimes if nature isn’t playing a joke
dealing out so much breast and ass and the way
it’s all hung together, you look and you look and
you look and you can’t believe it; there are ordinary women
and then there is something else that wants to make you
tear up paintings and break albums of Beethoven
across the back of the john; anyhow, the season
was dragging and the big boys were getting busted,
all the non-pros, the producers, the cameraman,
the pushers of Mary, the fur salesman, the owners
themselves, and Saint Louie was running this day:
a sidewheeler that broke when he got in close;
he ran with his head down and was mean and ugly
and 35 to 1, and I put a ten down on him.
the driver broke him wide
took him out by the fence where he’d be alone
even if he had to travel four times as far,
and that’s the way he went it
all the way by the outer fence
traveling two miles in one
and he won like he was mad as hell
and he wasn’t even tired,
and the biggest blonde of all
all ass and breast, hardly anything else
went to the payoff window with me.

that night I couldn’t destroy her
although the springs shot sparks
and they pounded on the walls.
later she sat there in her slip
drinking Old Grandad
and she said
what’s a guy like you doing
living in a dump like this?
and I said
I’m a poet

and she threw back her beautiful head and laughed.

you? you . . . a poet?

I guess you’re right, I said, I guess you’re right.

but still she looked good to me, she still looked good,
and all thanks to an ugly horse
who wrote this poem.





1 comment:

  1. Probably apocryphal, my only Bukowski story (and at third hand): Lawrence Ferlinghetti invited Bukowski to San Francisco when he was publishing his poetry through City Lights, offering Bukowski use of an apartment in a building he owned on Francisco Street in North Beach (I lived less than a block away, at roughly the same time as these incidents took place).

    Bukowski did show up, but after getting the keys to the flat, Ferlinghetti never saw him. Whenever he dropped by to visit, Bukowski would tell him (through a closed door) that he was busy and to drop by later.

    Finally, Ferlinghetti used his own keys to get into the flat and found Bukowski gone, paper bags of empty beer cans and pillowcases full of liquor bottles everywhere; the toilet broken; burns on the carpet, etc. Ferlinghetti questioned the other tenant in the building about Bukowski; the tenant is supposed to have replied they had seen Bukowski weeks before, "taking some teenaged girl in there [the apartment], but not since."

    As I say, probably apocryphal, but mildly amusing.