Charles Bukowski

O, We Are The Outcasts

Ah, Christ, what a CREW: More poetry, always more P O E T R Y. If it doesn't come, coax it out with a laxative. Get your name in LIGHTS, Get it up there in 8 1/2 x 11 mimeo. Keep it coming like a miracle. Ah Christ, writers are the most sickening of all the louts! Yellow-toothed, slump-shouldered, Gutless, flea-bitten, and obvious... in tinker-toy rooms With their flabby hearts They tell us what's wrong with the world, As if we didn't know that a cop's club Can crack the head, And that war is a dirtier game than marriage... Or down in a basement bar Hiding from a wife who doesn't appreciate him And children he doesn't want, He tells us that his heart is drowning in vomit. Hell, all our hearts are drowning in vomit, In pork salt, in bad verse, in soggy love. But he thinks he's alone, and He thinks he's special, and he thinks he's Rimbaud, And he thinks he's Pound. And death! How about death? Did you know That we all have to die? Even Keats died, even Milton! And D. Thomas—THEY KILLED HIM, of course. Thomas didn't want all those free drinks, All that free pussy— They... FORCED IT ON HIM When they should have left him alone so he could Write write WRITE! Poets. And there's another Type. I've met them at their country Places (don't ask me what I was doing there because I don't know). They were born with money, and They don't have to dirty their hands in slaughterhouses or washing Dishes in grease joints or Driving cabs or pimping or selling pot. This gives them time to understand Life. They walk in with their cocktail glass Held about heart high, And when they drink, they just Sip. You are drinking green beer which you Brought with you Because you have found out through the years That rich bastards are tight— They use 5 cent stamps instead of airmail, They promise to have all sorts of goodies ready Upon your arrival From gallons of whiskey to 50 cent cigars. But it's never there. And they HIDE their women from you— Their wives, x-wives, daughters, maids, so forth, Because they've read your poems and Figure all you want to do is fuck everybody and Everything. Which once might have been true but is no longer quite true. And— He WRITES TOO. POETRY, of course. Everybody writes poetry. He has plenty of time and a post office box in town And he drives there 3 or 4 times a day Looking and hoping for accepted poems. He thinks that poverty is a weakness of the soul. He thinks your mind is ill because you are drunk all the time and have to work in a factory 10 or 12 hours a night. He brings his wife in, a beauty, stolen from a poorer rich man. He lets you gaze for 30 seconds, Then hustles her out. She has been crying for some reason. You've got 3 or 4 days to linger in the guesthouse, he says, "Come on over to dinner sometime." But he doesn't say when or where. And then you find out that you are not even IN HIS HOUSE. You are in ONE of his houses, but His house is somewhere else— You don't know where. He even has x-wives in some of his houses. His main concern is to keep his x-wives away from you. He doesn't want to give up a damn thing. And you can't blame him: His x-wives are all young, stolen, kept, talented, well-dressed, schooled, with varying French-German accents. And! They WRITE POETRY TOO. or PAINT. or fuck. But his big problem is to get down to that mail box in town to get back his rejected poems And to keep his eye on all the other mailboxes In all his other houses. Meanwhile, the starving Indians Sell beads and baskets in the streets of the small desert town. The Indians are not allowed in his houses Not so much because they are a fuck-threat But because they are dirty and ignorant. Dirty? I look down at my shirt With the beerstain on the front. Ignorant? I light a 6 cent cigar and Forget about it. He or they or somebody was supposed to meet me at the train station. Of course, they weren't there. "We'll be there to meet the great Poet!" Well, I looked around and didn't see any great poet. Besides, it was 7 a.m. and 40 degrees. Those things happen. The trouble was there were no bars open. Nothing open.

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