Charles Bukowski Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977)



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11 impossible thing

12 and urinate and

13 defecate

14 while in the bed

15 next to yours

16 a family of 5 brings good cheer

17 to an incurable

18 heart-case

19 cancer-case

20 or a case of general rot.

21 the bedpan is a merciless rock

22 a horrible mockery

23 because nobody wants to drag your failing body

24 to the crapper and back.

25 you'd drag it

26 but they've got the bars up:

27 you're in your crib

28 your tiny death-crib

29 and when the nurse comes back

30 an hour and a half later


[Page 270]
31 and there's nothing in the bedpan

32 she gives you a most

33 intemperate look

34 as if when nearing death

35 one should be able to do

36 the common common things

37 again and again.

38 but if you think that's bad

39 just relax

40 and let it go

41 all of it

42 into the sheets

43 then you'll hear it

44 not only from the nurse

45 but from

46 all the other patients ...


47 the hardest part of dying

48 is that they expect you

49 to go out

50 like a rocket shot into the

51 night sky.

52 sometimes that can be done

53 but when you need the bullet and the gun

54 you'll look up

55 and find

56 that the wires above your head

57 connected to the button

58 years ago

59 have been cut

60 snipped

61 eliminated

62 been
[Page 271]
63 made

64 useless as

65 the bedpan.

[Page 272]


Bukowski, Charles:the good loser [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 red face

2 Texas

3 and age

4 he's at an L.A.

5 racetrack

6 been talking to

7 a group of folks.

8 it's the 4th race

9 and he's ready to

10 leave:

11 "well, goodbye,

12 folks and God bless,

13 see you around

14 tomorrow ..."

15 "nice fellow."

16 "yeh."

17 he's going to the

18 parking lot to

19 get into a 12 year

20 old car

21 from there he'll

22 drive to a roominghouse

23 his room will neither

24 have a toilet nor a

25 bath

26 his room will have

27 one window with a

28 torn paper shade

29 and outside will be
[Page 273]
30 a crumbling cement wall

31 spray-can graffiti courtesy

32 of a Chicano youth gang

33 he'll take off his

34 shoes and

35 get on the bed

36 it will be dark

37 but he won't turn

38 on the light

39 he's got nothing

40 to do.

[Page 274]


Bukowski, Charles:an art [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 all the way from Mexico

2 straight from the fields

3 to 14 wins

4 13 by k.o.

5 he was ranked #3

6 and in a tune-up fight

7 he was k.o'd by an unranked

8 black fighter who hadn't fought

9 in 2 years.

10 all the way from Mexico

11 straight from the fields

12 the drink and the women had gotten

13 to him.

14 in the rematch he was k.o'd again

15 and suspended for 6 months.

16 all that way

17 for the bottle and 2 cases of

18 v.d.

19 he came back in a year

20 swearing he was clean, he'd

21 learned.

22 and he earned a draw with the

23 9th ranked in his division.

24 he came back for the rematch

25 and the fight was stopped in

26 the 3rd round because he

27 couldn't protect

28 himself.

29 and he went all the way back

30 to Mexico

31 straight to the fields.
[Page 275]

32 it takes a damned good poet

33 like me

34 to handle drink and women

35 evade v.d.

36 write about failures

37 like him

38 and hold my ranking in the

39 top 10:

40 all the way from Germany

41 straight from the factories

42 among beerbottles

43 and the ringing of the

44 phone.

[Page 276]
Bukowski, Charles:the girls at the green hotel [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

Poems, 1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 are more beautiful than

2 movie stars

3 and they lounge on the

4 lawn


5 sunbathing

6 and one sits in a short

7 dress and high

8 heels, legs crossed

9 exposing miraculous

10 thighs.

11 she has a bandanna

12 on her head

13 and smokes a

14 long cigarette.

15 traffic slows

16 almost stops.

17 the girls ignore

18 the traffic.

19 they are half

20 asleep in the afternoon

21 they are whores

22 they are whores without

23 souls

24 and they are magic

25 because they lie

26 about nothing.

27 I get in my car

28 wait for traffic to

29 clear,

30 drive across the street

31 to the green hotel

32 to my favorite:


[Page 277]

33 she is

34 sun-bathing on the

35 lawn nearest the

36 curb.

37 "hello," I say.

38 she turns eyes like

39 imitation diamonds

40 up at me.

41 her face has no

42 expression.

43 I drop my latest

44 book of poems

45 out the car

46 window.

47 it falls

48 by her side.

49 I shift into

50 low,

51 drive off.

52 there'll be some

53 laughs

54 tonight.

[Page 278]


Bukowski, Charles:a good one [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I get too many

2 phone calls.

3 they seek the

4 creature out.

5 they shouldn't.

6 I never phoned

7 Knut Hamsun or

8 Ernie or

9 Celine.

10 I never phoned

11 Salinger

12 I never phoned

13 Neruda.

14 tonight I got

15 a call:

16 "hello. you

17 Charles Bukowski?"

18 "yes."

19 "well, I got a

20 house."

21 "yes?"

22 "a bordello."

23 "I understand."

24 "I've read your

25 books. I've got a
[Page 279]
26 houseboat in

27 Sausalito."

28 "all right."

29 "I want to give you

30 my phone number. you

31 ever come to San Francisco

32 I'll buy you a drink."

33 "o.k. give me the

34 number."

35 I took it down.

36 "we run a class joint. we're

37 after lawyers and state senators,

38 upper class citizens, muggers,

39 pimps, the like."

40 "I'll phone you when I

41 get up there."

42 "lots of the girls

43 read your books. they

44 love you."

45 "yeah?"

46 "yeah."

47 we said goodbye.

48 I liked that

49 phone call.

[Page 280]
Bukowski, Charles:shit time [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]


1 half drunk

2 I left her place

3 her warm blankets

4 and I was hungover

5 didn't even know what town

6 it was.

7 I walked along and

8 I couldn't find my car.

9 but I knew it was somewhere.

10 and then I was lost

11 too.

12 I walked around. it was a

13 Wednesday morning and I could

14 see the ocean to the south.

15 but all that drinking:

16 the shit was about to pour

17 out of me.

18 I walked towards the

19 sea.

20 I saw a brown brick

21 structure at the edge

22 of the sea.

23 I walked in. there was an

24 old guy groaning on one of

25 the pots.

26 "hi, buddy," he said.

27 "hi," I said.

28 "it's hell out there,

29 isn't it?" the old guy

30 asked.

31 "it is," I answered.

32 "need a drink?"

33 "never before noon."

34 "what time you got?"

35 "11:58."

36 "we got two minutes."


[Page 281]
37 I wiped, flushed, pulled up my

38 pants and walked over.

39 the old man was still on his pot,

40 groaning.

41 he pointed to a bottle of wine

42 at his feet

43 it was almost done

44 and I picked it up and took about

45 half what remained.

46 I handed him a very old and wrinkled

47 dollar

48 then walked outside on the lawn

49 and puked it up.

50 I looked at the ocean and the

51 ocean looked good, full of blues and

52 greens and sharks.

53 I walked back out of there

54 and down the street

55 determined to find my automobile.

56 it took me one hour and 15 minutes

57 and when I found it

58 I got in and drove off

59 pretending that I knew just as much

60 as the next

61 man.

[Page 282]


Bukowski, Charles:madness [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I don't beat the walls with my fists

2 I just sit

3 but it rushes in

4 a tide of it.

5 the woman in the court behind me howls,

6 weeps every night.

7 sometimes the county comes

8 and takes her away for a day or two.

9 I believed she was suffering the loss

10 of a great love

11 until one day she came over and told me about

12 it---

13 she had lost 8 apartment houses

14 to a gigolo who had swindled her out

15 of them.

16 she was howling and weeping over loss of property.

17 she began weeping as she told me

18 then with a mouth lined with stale lipstick

19 and smelling of garlic and onions

20 she kissed me and told me:

21 "Hank, nobody loves you if you don't have money."

22 she's old, almost as old as I am.

23 she left, still weeping ...

24 the other morning at 7:30 a.m. two black

25 attendants came with their stretcher,

26 only they knocked on my door.

27 "come on, man," said the tallest

28 one.


[Page 283]

29 "wait," I said, "there's a mistake."

30 I was terribly hungover

31 standing in my torn bathrobe

32 hair hanging down over my eyes.

33 "this is the address they gave us, man,

34 this is 5437 and 2/5's isn't it?"

35 "yes."

36 "come on, man, don't give us no shit."

37 "the lady you want is in the back there."

38 they both walked around back.

39 "this door here?"

40 "no, no, that's my back door. look go up those steps behind

41 you there. it's the door to the east, the one with the mailbox

42 hanging loose."

43 they went up and banged on the door. I watched them take her

44 away. they didn't use the stretcher. she walked between them.

45 and the thought occurred to me that they were taking the wrong

46 one but I wasn't sure.

[Page 284]


Bukowski, Charles:a 56 year old poem [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I went with two ladies

2 down to Venice

3 to look for antique furniture.

4 I parked in back of the store

5 and went in with them.

6 $125 for a clock, $700 for 6 chairs.

7 I stopped looking.

8 the ladies moved around

9 looking at everything.

10 the ladies had class.

11 I waved goodbye to one of the ladies

12 and walked out.

13 it was Sunday and the bar

14 wasn't much better,

15 everybody was nervous and young

16 and blonde and pale.

17 I finished my drink, got 4 beers

18 at the liquor store

19 and sat in my car drinking them.

20 finishing the 4th beer

21 the ladies came out.

22 they asked me if I was all right.

23 I told them that every experience

24 meant something

25 and that they had pulled me out of

26 my usual murky

27 current.

28 the one I knew best had bought a table

29 with a marble top for $100.

30 she owned her own business and was a

31 civilized person.
[Page 285]

32 she was civilized enough to know a neighbor

33 who had a van

34 and while I sat in her apartment drinking

35 1974 Zeller Schwarze Katz

36 they went down and got the table.

37 later she wanted to know what I thought about

38 the table and I said I thought it was all right,

39 sometimes I lost one hundred dollars at the

40 racetrack. we watched tv in bed and later

41 that night I couldn't come. I think it was

42 because I was thinking about that marble table.

43 I'm sure it was. I don't have any antique marble

44 tables at my place, I almost never have any sex trouble at

45 my place. sometimes but

46 very seldom.

47 I don't understand the whole antique

48 business

49 I'm sure it's a giant

50 con.


[Page 286]
Bukowski, Charles:the beautiful young girl walking past the graveyard--- [from

Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I stop my car at the signal

2 I see her walking past the graveyard---

3 as she walks past the iron fence

4 I can see through the iron fence

5 and I see the headstones

6 and the green lawn.

7 her body moves in front of the iron fence

8 the headstones do not move.

9 I think,

10 doesn't anybody else see this?

11 I think,

12 does she see those headstones?

13 if she does

14 she has wisdom that I don't have

15 for she appears to ignore them.

16 her body moving in its

17 magic fluid

18 and her long hair is lighted

19 by the 3 p.m. sun.

20 the signal changes

21 she crosses the street to the west

22 I drive west.

23 I drive my car down to the ocean

24 get out

25 and run up and down

26 in front of the sea for 35 minutes


[Page 287]
27 seeing people here and there

28 with eyes and ears and toes

29 and various other parts.

30 nobody seems to care.

[Page 288]
Bukowski, Charles:beer [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 I don't know how many bottles of beer

2 I have consumed while waiting for things

3 to get better.

4 I don't know how much wine and whiskey

5 and beer

6 mostly beer

7 I have consumed after

8 splits with women---

9 waiting for the phone to ring

10 waiting for the sound of footsteps,

11 and the phone never rings

12 until much later

13 and the footsteps never arrive

14 until much later.

15 when my stomach is coming up

16 out of my mouth

17 they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:

18 "what the hell have you done to yourself?

19 it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!"

20 the female is durable

21 she lives seven and one half years longer

22 than the male, and she drinks very little beer

23 because she knows it's bad for the

24 figure.

25 while we are going mad

26 they are out

27 dancing and laughing

28 with horny cowboys.

29 well, there's beer

30 sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles

31 and when you pick one up

32 the bottles fall through the wet bottom


[Page 289]
33 of the paper sack

34 rolling

35 clanking

36 spilling grey wet ash

37 and stale beer,

38 or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.

39 in the morning

40 making the only sound in your life.

41 beer

42 rivers and seas of beer

43 beer beer beer

44 the radio singing love songs

45 as the phone remains silent

46 and the walls stand

47 straight up and down

48 and beer is all there is.

[Page 290]
Bukowski, Charles:artist [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 all of a sudden I'm a painter.

2 a girl from Galveston gives me

3 $50 for a painting of a man

4 holding a candycane while

5 floating in a darkened sky.

6 than a young man with a black beard

7 comes over

8 and I sell him three for $80.

9 he likes rugged stuff

10 where I write across the painting---

11 "shoot shit" or "GRATE ART IS

12 HORSESHIT, BUY TACOS."

13 I can do a painting in 5 minutes.

14 I use acrylics, paint right out of

15 the tube.

16 I do the left side of the painting

17 first with my left hand and then

18 finish the right side with my

19 right hand.

20 now the man with the black beard

21 comes back with a friend whose hair

22 sticks out and they have a young blonde

23 girl with them.

24 black beard is still a sucker:

25 I sell him a hunk of shit---

26 an orange dog with the word

27 "DOG" written on his side.

28 stick-out hair wants 3 paintings

29 for which I ask $70.

30 he doesn't have the money.


[Page 291]

31 I keep the paintings but

32 he promises to send me a

33 girl called Judy

34 in garter belt and high heels.

35 he's already told her about me:

36 "a world-renowned writer," he said

37 and she said, "oh no!" and pulled

38 her dress up over her head.

39 "I want that," I told him.

40 then we haggled over terms

41 I wanted to fuck her first

42 then get head later.

43 "how about head first and

44 fuck later?" he asked.

45 "that doesn't work," I

46 said.

47 so we agreed:

48 Judy will come by and

49 afterwards

50 I will hand her the

51 3 paintings.

52 so there we are:

53 back to the barter system,

54 the only way to beat

55 inflation.

56 never the less,

57 I'd like to

58 start the Men's Liberation Movement:

59 I want a woman to hand me 3 of her

60 paintings after I have

61 made love to her,

62 and if she can't paint

63 she can leave me

64 a couple of golden earrings

65 or maybe a slice of ear

66 in memory of one who

67 could.

[Page 292]
Bukowski, Charles:my old man [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 16 years old

2 during the depression

3 I'd come home drunk

4 and all my clothing---

5 shorts, shirts, stockings---

6 suitcase, and pages of

7 short stories

8 would be thrown out on the

9 front lawn and about the

10 street.

11 my mother would be

12 waiting behind a tree:

13 "Henry, Henry, don't

14 go in ... he'll

15 kill you, he's read

16 your stories ..."

17 "I can whip his

18 ass ..."

19 "Henry, please take

20 this ... and

21 find yourself a room."

22 but it worried him

23 that I might not

24 finish high school

25 so I'd be back

26 again.

27 one evening he walked in

28 with the pages of

29 one of my short stories

30 (which I had never submitted


[Page 293]
31 to him)

32 and he said, "this is

33 a great short story."

34 I said, "o.k.,"

35 and he handed it to me

36 and I read it.

37 it was a story about

38 a rich man

39 who had a fight with

40 his wife and had

41 gone out into the night

42 for a cup of coffee

43 and had observed

44 the waitress and the spoons

45 and forks and the

46 salt and pepper shakers

47 and the neon sign

48 in the window

49 and then had gone back

50 to his stable

51 to see and touch his

52 favorite horse

53 who then

54 kicked him in the head

55 and killed him.

56 somehow

57 the story held

58 meaning for him

59 though

60 when I had written it

61 I had no idea

62 of what I was

63 writing about.

64 so I told him,

65 "o.k., old man, you can

66 have it."


[Page 294]

67 and he took it

68 and walked out

69 and closed the door.

70 I guess that's

71 as close

72 as we ever got.

[Page 295]


Bukowski, Charles:fear [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 he walks up to my Volks

2 after I have parked

3 and rocks it back and

4 forth

5 grinning around his

6 cigar.

7 "hey, Hank, I notice

8 all the women around your

9 place lately ... good looking

10 stuff; you're doing all

11 right."

12 "Sam," I say, "that's not

13 true; I am one of God's most

14 lonely men."

15 "we got some nice girls at

16 the parlor, you oughta try

17 some of them."

18 "I'm afraid of those places,

19 Sam, I can't walk into them."

20 "I'll send you a girl then,

21 real nice stuff."

22 "Sam, don't send me a whore,

23 I always fall in love with

24 whores."

25 "o.k., friend," he says,

26 "let me know if you change

27 your mind."
[Page 296]

28 I watch him walk away.

29 some men are always on

30 top of their game.

31 I am mostly always

32 confused.

33 he can break a man

34 in half

35 and doesn't know who

36 Mozart is.

37 who wants to listen

38 to music

39 anyhow

40 on a rainy Wednesday

41 night?

[Page 297]

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