Sunday, July 27, 2014

You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski

Title: You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense
Author: Charles Bukowski
Original Publication Date: September 1, 1986
Publisher: Black Sparrow Press
Pages: 320
Genre/s: Poetry













Charles Bukowski

While the Beat Generation was making its headway in literature with the likes of On the Road and Howl, Bukowski was, in most instances, dead drunk. In the post-World War II lit movement where the Beat Generation found its threshold, Bukowski was in engaged in what was to be a ten-year alcohol induced stupor predicated on his failure to  initially break in the literary world. He actually wrote in a time after the Beat Generation, and this perhaps have brought contentions of whether he is actually a Beatnik himself. If the Beat Generation talks about bohemian hedonism advancing a firm denial of conformity through experimentation with drugs, repudiation of social constructs of gender and sexuality, negation of societal materialism, and most importantly, the depiction of human condition and emotion in its truest and most explicit state, then, this collection pretty much speaks for itself and saying that he really is part of the generation is not an unfounded conclusion.

In this collection, one will see that Bukowski is an honest man, a brutally honest man, whether that honesty is anchored on his drunkenness is something I have yet to read on. The topics are varied, from protitutes, antagonistic views on other writers, drinking, horse racing, hurling invectives, daily life observations, his cats, loneliness, and did I mention drinking?


beasts bounding through time

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
Dostoevsky 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 the 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
impossibly.

As the title would suggest, loneliness abound the poems, but underneath it, just beyond the listless landscape that define most of our lives, lives a triumphant man who seem to have come into terms with loneliness itself not by finding meaning in others but by remaining firm and steadfast, unyielding, choosing to live in loneliness itself.


how is your heart?

...what  matters most is
how well you
walk through the
fire.

Indeed Bukowski, indeed!
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