Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Driving by Charles Bukowski, poet.

A poet new to me: Charles Bukowski. He had Sun in Leo His natal chart is at astro-databank HERE. Wow! Look at all those aspects zooming in on Uranus, planet of the unexpected, and the rebel.

A 2004 article by William Booth in the Washington Post, Charles Bukowski, Bard of Booze
A Filmmaker Toasts the L.A. Writer Who Poured Over His Work
begins like this:
LOS ANGELES -- One of his old haunts still stands, a cement hangover in the smoggy sunshine, the courtyard apartment with dead plants on De Longpre Avenue in East Hollywood where Charles Bukowski lived and wrote and drank and wrote some more. He was literature's most prolific boozer.

The self-styled "dirty old man," besotted and beatific, lived his life in Los Angeles, the poet laureate of sour alleys and dark bars, of racetracks and long shots. "LA was the end of a dead culture crawled west to get away from itself," he once wrote. "LA knew it was rotten and laughed at it."

Bukowski wrote about men and women as beaten down as a crunched beer can, about endurance, rage, longing, sex and, mostly, about himself. He was a bestseller in Brazil; his poetry is taught to high school students in France; in the United States, in his day, he was a symbol of rebellion, but is probably best known for the 1987 film "Barfly," where he was portrayed by Mickey Rourke (alongside Faye Dunaway), the screenplay written by Bukowski himself for a movie he didn't really like very much.

Today, Bukowski remains a cult favorite, though the critics aren't exactly sure whether to consider him a modern Walt Whitman or a minor misogynistic poet in the post-Beat tradition.....

Two of Charles Bukowski's poems, plus a few more of his words:

The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Beasts Bounding Through Time
by Charles Bukowski

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

“For each Joan of Arc there is a Hitler perched at the other end of the teeter-totter.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

“We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes”


R J Adams said...

I love the way these plonkers talk: "...though the critics aren't exactly sure whether to consider him a modern Walt Whitman or a minor misogynistic poet in the post-Beat tradition....." What the ...!

He seemed a dark character, though motivated by realism. I write in the past tense as I assume, him being a consumer of hard liquor by the gallon, that's he's probably dead.

Twilight said...

RJ Adam ~ He died of leukemia in March 1994 (forgot to include that in the post) :-)

Yep, those WaPo plonkers (lol!) love to churn out stuff that sounds clever but means very little.

A little of his poetry goes a long way, but when one is in the right mood, it's great stuff!

Twilight said...

RECEIVED from "JD" via e-mail

Very interesting post about Bukowski. Thank's for that.
Like you, I hadn't heard of him before but I see he was one of the 'beat' poets (so called because they felt beaten down by life, not 'beat' as in cool jazzers or hipsters)

Nowhere near as good as Whitman in my view not least because Whitman was gloriously positive amid all the madness. But one of Bukowski's quotes reminded me of Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" so I looked it up and this came up-
That's interesting. :)

Overall, the general drift of Bukowski's thinking was probably better expressed by Terence McKenna;
"We have gone sick by following a path of untrammelled rationalism, male dominance, attention to the visible surface of things, practicality, bottom-line-ism. We have gone very, very sick. And the body politic, like any body, when it feels itself to be sick, it begins to produce antibodies, or strategies for overcoming the condition of disease. And the 20th century is an enormous effort at self-healing. Phenomena as diverse as surrealism, body piercing, psychedelic drug use, sexual permissiveness, jazz, experimental dance, rave culture, tattooing, the list is endless."

And a much better analysis of our current state and how we got here is set out in Iain MacDonald's introductory essay in his book about the Beatles. I've mentioned that book before and I was reading the essay again the other night.
When I googled it, this came up-
which is a very good review of the book.

Funny how things link together in unexpected ways :)

Twilight said...

JD ~ Many thanks for this and for the interesting links and thoughts therein. :-)
The Beatles song, A Day in the Life" mentioned in your last link is my all-time favourite of theirs.

Yeats' "The Second Coming" is a favourite poem, too - and one that comes to mind often in these days of political madness.

Terence McKenna's words fit the 21st century (so far) too! :-(

I'm often struck by the way random things link together - it's synchronicity - or something! :-)

mike said...

His astrology is indeed interesting, knowing how he played-out his life. He has two final dispositors: Sun and Mars, with the Sun dispositing all of the planets except Mars. Mars, the male-force of action, squares his Sun, the life-force. He has a telling yod formed by the Moon sextile Mercury, with Uranus at the apex, which reflects his writing of semi-autobiographical tales of abuse, social outlaw, non-conformism, and lowlife on the edge. As you point-out, that Uranus takes a hit and with a Piscean emphasis.

Bukowski is one of a number of nihilist, self-referential writers that exposed their own turpitude at a time when conformity and proper morals were integral toward social acceptance and being a good American. Anything less was considered anti-American and risked institutionalization. It took tremendous fortitude to expose oneself, particularly if deficient in the pure-and-principled departments.

Interesting that so many TV series nowadays are of the same genre Bukowski, et al, stylized: Shameless, Californication, Weeds, etc. We currently have a fascination with the rogue.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, his natal chart is fascinating. Coincidentally, the other day, after binge-watching "Poldark" I looked for the chart of author of the Poldark set of novels Winston Graham:


His chart has a milder version of the arrow-like convergence on Uranus. :-)

I suppose Bukowski's boozy ways helped him ignore strait-laced critics - gave him what I, as a Scotch only drinker, call "celtic courage".

I haven't seen any of the TV series you names, but I get what you mean, about the fascination with rogue. "Breaking Bad" was of that ilk too, we did see all of that one.