StreetLegalPlay by Kyle Thomas Smith

Bukowski from My Couch

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on March 28, 2010

I didn’t feel like doing any work this afternoon (if you can call what I do “work”), so I watched a documentary I rented called Bukowski: Born Into This.

Charles Bukowski is a guilty pleasure for me. He’s crass and horrendously misogynist, but I like his direct, laconic writing style a lot.

But what a drunk! It didn’t look like he was ever without cheap booze.

I’ve often thought Bukowski’s hatred of women mirrored his own low self-esteem, which his authoritarian German dad set in motion, although muscatel greased the wheels from there.

He didn’t lose his virginity until he was 24! Bukowski credited this to all the boils and warts on his face. He also says his first time was with a 300-pound prostitute. He said they’d broke the bed in two at some flophouse. A couple hours later, her snoring woke him up and he accused her of stealing his wallet. He called her “cunt” and all sorts of other degrading names that he hadn’t used before but soon got used to using all the time in his books. She ran back to the bar where he’d met her as he tried putting the bed back together. As he wound some rope around one of the collapsed bed legs, he saw his wallet under the carpet. He uncharacteristically went back to the bar to apologize to her but, by the time he got there, the bartender had heard the whole story and said he couldn’t serve riff-raff like him anymore.

Later he got together with a bare-knuckles Irishwoman and they stayed together for years, getting kicked out of bars and cold-water flats from one end of L.A. to the other, in a haze of drunkenness, unemployment and domestic violence.

But man did he work at his writing! It always makes me feel guilty when I watch documentaries like this. I mean, I write every day too but I don’t grind out five short stories a week like he did.

But I don’t want to do things like he did. I don’t want to live like he did. Yeah, he made a name for himself but he was so unpleasant, just like his alcoholic life.

The documentary was good, though. Without it, I might have even opted for watching Sarah Palin addressing all sorts of hypocrites on Medicare, protesting big government near Harry Reid’s house in Nevada on CNN. It’s only when I talk about Sarah Palin that people mistake me for Bukowski.