“Dirty journalism” is the phrase some people use to describe Bukowski’s writing. Some of it borders on pornography (let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be reading his novel Women on an airplane and have your neighbor glance down at the words). Calling it misogynistic and crude is to put his prose mildly. According to Poeticus.com, Bukowski’s writing is “marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work.”
His poetry, however, is quite beautiful. Here are the opening lines from bang bang, a poem from his book Mockingbird Wish Me Luck:
|Green Hills Memorial Park, Palos Los Verdes, California|
|Lucky clover growing on pine cone near Bukowski's grave|
|"Don't Try," ... do!|
Which reminds me of a blonde joke. But this really happened:
I was at work about ten years ago when two saleswomen came in to the department. One of my coworkers sat at a workbench just outside my office. I heard people talking so I went out to see who they were. One woman was blonde, the other brunette. The brunette pointed to my coworker and said to the blonde, “Doesn’t he remind you of Ernest Hemingway?” The blonde said, “The writer?” There’s a reason stereotypes exist.
|Green Hills worker helping me find Bukowski's grave|
In 1986, Time magazine called Bukowski the "laureate of American lowlife." After visiting his grave, I celebrated this by stopping for beer and ribs under a tent in a nearby Pep Boys parking lot. As I was eating dinner out of a Styrofoam container in my rental car I started thinking bizarre thoughts. You cannot help but think them when you’re contemplating Bukowski – dive bars in L.A., alcoholism, mortality and death - all in the warm California sun.
|Moyamensing Prison, Philadelphia (ref)|
Reference and Further Reading:
Charles Bukowski bio on Poeticous.com