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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Charles Bukowski and Me

Once again, I offer up a poem against all copyright laws. But I can’t help myself. Here’s a poem from Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way, by Charles Bukowski. His words are rough and I love them. My response to his poem and then the revision to my response (just posted today - 3/28) appears after.

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in

there is no other way.

and there never was.


And from me – after reading CB:

empty status

entrails ooze out slowly.
i stare from the great distance between my guts and brain.

the booze bottle is empty and still
i am tortured.

words on a page.
words in the air.

there is no repressing them.

they demand a full hearing.
no matter how deadening,
how dull.
no matter how empty.
like the booze bottle
with just the faint scent of gin.
and a few, stale drops lingering at the bottom.

and the revision:

i stare at the great distance between guts and brain

the booze bottle is empty and still
i am tortured

words on a page
in the air
in my head
floundering on my tongue and
the tips of my fingers

there is no repressing them

they demand a full hearing
no matter how deadening
how dull
no matter how empty

like the booze bottle
with just the faint scent of gin
and a few stale drops lingering at the bottom


Blogger Riki D said...

Do you think Mr. Bukowski confused craft with repression?

March 28, 2008 12:12 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Bukowski is on to something, indeed.

It also helps explain why there has been a dearth of postings from the Tern-in-flight. Or, that could be the results of too many empty gin bottles. tee hee

Writing shouldn't be forced. A prime example for me is Jonathan Liviingston Seagull. According to Bach, it came pouring forth when the time was right.

Gin may be the wrong stimulus for writing. Erato doesn't visit often enough, but patience is a virtue. When the time is right she will be there, and she won't have to beat you about the head and shoulders to write.

It is good to see your efforts. I envy your poetic abilities.

March 28, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

rd: bukowski might not, but maybe i do?

jack: nice to see you. the dearth is simply attributal to ... writing and not posting what i've written (perhaps CB should have added another line to his poem: if you have to post it on your blog, don't do it - hahaha!)

been pretty busy with teaching, writing, coordinating a conference, and enjoying city life. (not to mention yelling at the tv screen at the heads over the now damnable dem primary).

March 28, 2008 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She asks me why... I'm just a hairy guy
I'm hairy noon and night; Hair that's a fright.
I'm hairy high and low,
Don't ask me why; don't know!
It's not for lack of bread
Like the Grateful Dead; darling

oh wait, that was Claude Hooper Bukowski

Claude Hooper Bukowski
Finds that it's groovy to hide in a movie

¤ ¤ ¤


March 28, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

poor claude. hid out on broadway before the movies and died in 'nam. poor soul. but he had wildly beautiful hair.

March 28, 2008 9:19 AM  
Blogger boneman said...


I mean, and I'll be glad to turn off the caps lock, if I do what I do from the heart,and for way less than living wages, too, I might add, how does that get women into my bed?

Or, is there a corelation there, anyway? Maybe not, although from the sounds of it, Picasso and Modigliani had no problem with it. Lautrec lived among the French whores and dancers of his time, and I'm sure he got the things he needed....
But, that was then, ands this is now, and I was wondering....
....about these women in my bed...

March 28, 2008 12:27 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

why boney, HOW MANY women in your bed do you wonder about?

do not wonder- if they are in your bed, just enjoy. unless of course they are hogging the blankets - or each other - then you gotta kick 'em out.

and yes, i believe there is a direct correlation between the amount of artistic talent plus inner demons plus outward badboy/girl-ishness to the amount of women (or men) in one's bed.

you need: artistic talent
inner turmoil, and a dangerous attitude.

maybe... anyway -anybody else got a better theory?

March 28, 2008 12:57 PM  
Blogger Riki D said...

Flesh or plastic? Imaginary or tangible? And all at one time, or just one at a time?

March 28, 2008 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

flesh and plastic
all at one time first
one at a time

March 28, 2008 9:53 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

...see? THAT might be the problem right there...
just one.
I'm the most monogamous person I know. Perhaps I should look into the idea that MANY would be OK....

nah. Just ain't me, y'know?
Reckon I'll just have to sleep alone.
Well, 'cept for Gninski, who cuddles behind my legs in the Winter. 'Course, Summer? Ha! She's all about outside!

March 29, 2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

How perculiar.
I was just saying to 'he who must be obeyed' that I have quit writing.
I thought, I thought, I thought I would be ok at it.
But my 'friends' let me know, I was too too too...too...honest?

So it used to flow, fly, pour, spew out of me..

Now I have taken on another task, to quieten the need to write...

I am researching ancestry...and it is meditative to the point of blandness...but every now again, a story comes up and I wish, how I wish, O how I wish I could write.

Thanks for this post, Birdy.

You somehow knew it was time.

March 29, 2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger she said...

i liked all the poems. go bird. but but,,,,,gin??? er, ive got a nice pine needle pie for ya.

opening weekend was cold and wet. i did not win the tickets to opening day. one of the engineers did. bastard!

yay baseball

March 31, 2008 3:09 PM  
Blogger CONNELL said...

I have a picture fer ya.
I didn't paint it, but, if I understand this correctly, you can download it (or just make it big and press "print screen" and you're wondering why?


It's a picture of three gals sitting (after lunch or whatever) and one of them has told a joke and the other two are laughing so hard hat, well,...
OK, when I look at the picture for a while, it makes me laugh, too.

Download it somehow and when yer feeling like gin might do the trick fer ya, just look at the picture.
You get as many laugHs but way less headaches. No hang overs, no wondering who IS that in bed with ya. No wandering into the livingroom the morning after and finding the latest tests from your students all burnt to ashes in the fireplace.....

And, how are you goping to get your underwear out of that tree out front? My goodness that thing must reach 80 feet into the air!
And there wave your finest, sexiest black lace panties....20 feet shy of the top.

the picture is a WHOLE lot better.

March 31, 2008 5:32 PM  
Blogger CONNELL said...

(did he really say your panties were in a tree out front?)


March 31, 2008 5:33 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

why- the thought of shuffling out of my bed of a late morning, and stumbling into my living room to find the latest batch of student essays burnt to cinders in the fireplace is absolutely delightful! now i know what to tell them tomorrow - when i do NOT return their essays!

she: yeah - yay baseball! i watched the Giants v. Dodgers game...oh it shall be a dismal season. things are indeed hopeless, hopeless, but not serious!

April 01, 2008 7:33 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

Special one-off Bogsblog post now up… nope, this is not an April Fools thing!

April 01, 2008 3:23 PM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

a writer? throw a rock in here and you'll hit a writer... do me a favor - throw it HARD!

April 01, 2008 6:21 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Tweet? Tweet tweet?

Bird, is ya' flappin'

Poerty is yore love, but:

"teaching, writing, coordinating a conference, and enjoying city life. (not to mention yelling at the tv screen at the heads over the now damnable dem primary). "

Whew, Birdy, thas' wearin' me out.

Happy to see ya's happy.

April 01, 2008 7:06 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

oh, an the gin thang? Always puts me in mind of
Of Human Bondage

April 01, 2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

¡¡¡ʎɐp s,ןooɟ ןıɹdɐ happy

Look what /t and Foam helped me do...

April 01, 2008 8:31 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

y'know, it just struck me that you are pretty feather sure that you're not getting graded on prompt, fresh new blog posts, are you?
(I'm of the mind that you work really hard for what you have there, but, your lack of fresh blog posts almost make me think we are an imposition to you.
Well, don't think about THAT at all.
We'll just wait here in the dark for the next post....

is it in, yet? No?
OK, I'll continue waiting....



April 02, 2008 9:07 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

ok, first off, you DO know I'm just kiddin', right?

And second off...just take a picture of those papers burning would ya? Post that....

April 02, 2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger boneman said...


Take your camera to school with you, get it on ready, tell your class the essays they worked on for weeks got "accidently" tossed in the fireplace....
Take THAT picture.

Dropped jaws, disbelief, utter shock!

It'll be GREAT!

April 03, 2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

by the way....
keep that camera handy.
You'll need it for the tag.
"What tag?" you might ask....
(and, yes you may ask)

Yes, tagged by boneman, but, do not depair, for it is easy.
Just six words that equal your memoirs.....
and a picture.....

Sure, maybe you thought you were done with these, thought you had gotten the govt. shot/vaccination for them, but, no.

Good news is it's easy.
bad news is I'm still trying to get it all together with said links.
(usually I have to trouble with links....I have a couple of eggs and some hash browns or grits with them)

You can get the jist of it at m'blog or at Auntie's blog (she's the one who tagged me) and, I dunno, there's a good chance that you'll be done before me.....

April 04, 2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

....or, maybe not.
This very afternoon I learned to link things on my page.

Still can't do links from the comment box, but, hey, what do I care? I don't always trust links, anyway. I prefer, if you must know, sausage patties, not links.

April 04, 2008 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boneman, you are crackin' me up.

not to mention - that pic keeps changing....


April 04, 2008 9:45 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

That be my Gni Gni.

She's in the latest video and photo at m'blog.

Ain't she a sweetheart?
You know why she's staring so hard, don't you?

Someone nearby has FOOD!

April 05, 2008 12:56 PM  

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