Thumbing through Bukowski’s last poems


I take the wistfulness of the last stanza to be genuine.


  1. Lots of folk live on their wits:
    Lecturers, lispers,
    Losels, loblolly-men, louts —
    They don’t end as paupers

    [emphasis added]

  2. For reading: ‘Death Is Not the End’, at Grand Street Magazine

    For listening: ‘Death Is Not the End’, read by the author

    First one hundred forty-five words:

    The 56-year-old American poet, a Nobel Laureate, a poet known in American literary circles as “the poet’s poet” or sometimes simply “the Poet,” lay outside on the deck, bare-chested, moderately overweight, in a partially reclined deck chair, in the sun, reading, half supine, moderately but not severely overweight, winner of two National Book Awards, an American Book Critics’ Circle Award, a Lament Prize, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Prix de Rome, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Medal, and a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, a president emeritus of PEN, a poet two separate American generations have hailed as the voice of their generation, now 56, lying in an unwet XL Speedo-brand swimsuit in an incrementally reclinable canvas deck chair on the tile deck beside the home’s pool […]

  3. Poetophobia and Critogeny

    I don’t understand.
    I don’t comprehend.
    I don’t get it.
    Get it?

    How does one stand under the substance of this thing?
    First, scrape the beer scum from under the bar,
    Then the nicotine-ladened gum from under the rostrum…

    O, the barroom baedekers bellowed out by Bukowski the balladeer…
    Did he not, did he not, did he not do
    His lecturing at a bar with his drinking?
    So we do not, do we not, do we not, do
    Our drinking at a conference with our lecturing?
    O, lecturehall lilting of lacivious larnyxes!

    It’s really a matter of environment, isn’t it?
    It’s really a matter of nuturing the sauce.
    It’s really a matter of naturing the kidney.
    It’s really a matter of nursing that last and doom-cracked drink until closing time…
    It’s really a matter of the company one offends, isn’t it?

    jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk
    A decade of jerks on a string…

    Am I sounding strident?
    Very well then, I am strident-sounding!
    My speedo is large!
    I contain egotudes!
    I compose!
    I drink!
    I lecture you all about both!


  4. Interesting. Thanks Jonathan.

Speak Your Mind