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

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4 Marie, in the French Quarter

5 and I got very sick.

6 while she was at work

7 I got down on my knees

8 in the kitchen

9 that afternoon and

10 prayed. I was not a

11 religious man

12 but it was a very dark afternoon

13 and I prayed:

14 "Dear God: if you will let me live,

15 I promise You I'll never take

16 another drink."

17 I kneeled there and it was just like

18 a movie---

19 as I finished praying

20 the clouds parted and the sun came

21 through the curtains

22 and fell upon me.

23 then I got up and took a crap.

24 there was a big spider in Marie's bathroom

25 but I crapped anyhow.

26 an hour later I began feeling much

27 better. I took a walk around the Quarter

28 and smiled at people.

29 I stopped at the grocery and got a couple of

30 6 packs for Marie.

31 I began feeling so good that an hour later

32 I sat in the kitchen and opened

33 one of the beers.

34 I drank that and then another one

35 and then I went in and
[Page 42]
36 killed the spider.

37 when Marie got home from work

38 I gave her a big kiss,

39 then sat in the kitchen and talked

40 as she cooked dinner.

41 she asked me what had happened that day

42 and I told her I had killed the

43 spider. she didn't get

44 angry. she was a good

45 sort.

[Page 43]
Bukowski, Charles:the end of a short affair [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 I tried it standing up

2 this time.

3 it doesn't usually

4 work.

5 this time it seemed

6 to ...

7 she kept saying

8 "o my God, you've got

9 beautiful legs!"

10 it was all right

11 until she took her feet

12 off the ground

13 and wrapped her legs

14 around my middle.

15 "o my God, you've got

16 beautiful legs!"

17 she weighed about 138

18 pounds and hung there as I

19 worked.

20 it was when I climaxed

21 that I felt the pain

22 fly straight up my

23 spine.

24 I dropped her on the

25 couch and walked around

26 the room.

27 the pain remained.

28 "look," I told her,

29 "you better go. I've got
[Page 44]
30 to develop some film

31 in my dark room."

32 she dressed and left

33 and I walked into the

34 kitchen for a glass of

35 water. I got a glass full

36 in my left hand.

37 the pain ran up behind my

38 ears and

39 I dropped the glass

40 which broke on the floor.

41 I got into a tub full of

42 hot water and epsom salts.

43 I just got stretched out

44 when the phone rang.

45 as I tried to straighten

46 my back

47 the pain extended to my

48 neck and arms.

49 I flopped about

50 gripped the sides of the tub

51 got out

52 with shots of green and yellow

53 and red light

54 flashing in my head.

55 the phone kept ringing.

56 I picked it up.

57 "hello?"

58 "I LOVE YOU!" she said.

59 "thanks," I said.

60 "is that all you've got

61 to say?"

[Page 45]

62 "yes."

63 "eat shit!" she said and

64 hung up.

65 love dries up, I thought

66 as I walked back to the

67 bathroom, even faster

68 than sperm.

[Page 46]
Bukowski, Charles:moaning and groaning [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she writes: you'll

2 be moaning and groan-

3 ing in your poems

4 about how I fucked

5 those 2 guys last week.

6 I know you.

7 she writes on to

8 say that my vibe

9 machine was right---

10 she had just fucked

11 a third guy

12 but she knows I don't

13 want to hear who, why

14 or how. she closes her

15 letter, "Love."

16 rats and roaches

17 have triumphed again.

18 here it comes running

19 with a slug in its

20 mouth, it's singing

21 old love songs.

22 close the windows

23 moan

24 close the doors

25 groan.

[Page 47]

Bukowski, Charles:an almost made up poem [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny

2 blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny

3 they are small, and the fountain is in France

4 where you wrote me that last letter and

5 I answered and never heard from you again.

6 you used to write insane poems about

7 ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you

8 knew famous artists and most of them

9 were your lovers, and I wrote back, it's all right,

10 go ahead, enter their lives, I'm not jealous

11 because we've never met. we got close once in

12 New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never

13 touched. so you went with the famous and wrote

14 about the famous, and, of course, what you found out

15 is that the famous are worried about

16 their fame---not the beautiful young girl in bed

17 with them, who gives them that, and then awakens

18 in the morning to write upper case poems about

19 ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they've told

20 us, but listening to you I wasn't sure. maybe

21 it was the upper case. you were one of the

22 best female poets and I told the publishers,

23 editors, "print her, print her, she's mad but she's

24 magic. there's no lie in her fire." I loved you

25 like a man loves a woman he never touches, only

26 writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have

27 loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a

28 cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,

29 but that didn't happen. your letters got sadder.

30 your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all

31 lovers betray. it didn't help. you said

32 you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and

33 the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying

34 bench every night and wept for the lovers who had

35 hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
[Page 48]
36 heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide

37 3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you

38 I would probably have been unfair to you or you

39 to me. it was best like this.

[Page 49]
Bukowski, Charles:blue cheese and chili peppers [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 these women are supposed to come

2 and see me

3 but they never

4 do.

5 there's the one with the long scar along her

6 belly.

7 there's the other who writes poems

8 and phones at 3 a.m., saying,

9 "I love you."

10 there's the one who dances with a

11 boa constrictor

12 and writes every four

13 weeks, she'll

14 come, she says.

15 and the 4th who claims she sleeps

16 always

17 with my latest book

18 under her

19 pillow.

20 I whack-off in the heat

21 and listen to Brahms and eat

22 blue cheese with chili

23 peppers.

24 these are women of good mind and

25 body, excellent in or out of bed,

26 dangerous and deadly, of

27 course---

28 but why do they all have to live

29 up north?

30 I know that someday they'll

31 arrive, but two or three

32 on the same day, and

[Page 50]
33 we'll sit around and talk

34 and then they'll all leave

35 together.

36 somebody else will have them

37 and I will walk about

38 in my floppy shorts

39 smoking too many cigarettes

40 and trying to make drama

41 out of

42 no damned progress

43 at all.

[Page 51]

Bukowski, Charles:problems about the other woman [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 I had worked my charms on her

2 for a couple of nights in a bar---

3 not that we were new lovers,

4 I had loved her for 16 months

5 but she didn't want to come to my place

6 "because that other woman has been there,"

7 and I said, "all right, all right, what will we do?"

8 she had come in from the north and was looking for a

9 place to stay

10 meanwhile rooming with her girlfriend,

11 and she went to her rent-a-trailer

12 and got out some blankets and said,

13 "let's go to the park."

14 I told her she was crazy

15 the cops would get us

16 but she said, "no, it's nice and foggy,"

17 so we went to the park

18 spread out the equipment and began

19 working and here came headlights---

20 a squad car---

21 she said, "hurry, get your pants on! I've got mine

22 on!"

23 I said, "I can't. they're all twisted-up."

24 and they came with flashlights

25 and asked what we were doing and she said,

26 "kissing!" one of the cops looked at me and

27 said, "I don't blame you," and after some small

28 talk they left us alone.

29 but she still didn't want the bed where that woman

30 had been,

31 so we ended up in a dark hot motel room

32 sweating and kissing and working

33 but we made it all right; but I mean,

34 after all that suffering ...

[Page 52]

35 we were at my place finally

36 that next afternoon

37 doing the same thing.

38 those weren't bad cops though

39 that night in the park---

40 and it's the first time I ever said that

41 about cops,

42 and,

43 I hope,

44 the last time I ever have

45 to.

[Page 53]
Bukowski, Charles:T.M. [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 she lived in Galveston and was into

2 T.M.

3 and I went down to visit her and we made love

4 continually even though it was very warm

5 weather

6 and we took mescalin

7 and we took the ferry to the island

8 and drove 200 miles to the nearest

9 racetrack.

10 we both won and sat in a redneck bar---

11 disliked and distrusted by the natives---

12 and then we went to a redneck motel

13 and came back a day or two later

14 and I stayed another week

15 painted her a couple of good paintings---

16 one of a man being hanged

17 and another of a woman being fucked by a wolf.

18 I awakened one night and she wasn't in bed

19 and I got up and walked around saying,

20 "Gloria, Gloria, where are you?"

21 it was a large place and I walked around

22 opening door after door,

23 and then I opened what looked like a closet door

24 and there she was on her knees

25 surrounded by photographs of

26 7 or 8 men

27 heads shaved

28 most of them wearing rimless spectacles.

29 there was a small candle burning

30 and I said, "oh, I'm sorry."

31 Gloria was dressed in a kimono with flying

32 eagles on the back of it.

33 I closed the door and went back to bed.

34 she came out in 15 minutes.

35 we began kissing,

36 her large tongue sliding in and out of my

[Page 54]
37 mouth.

38 she was a large healthy Texas girl.

39 "listen, Gloria," I finally managed to say,

40 "I need a night off."

41 the next day she drove me to the airport.

42 I promised to write. she promised to write.

43 neither of us has written.

[Page 55]

Bukowski, Charles:Bee's 5th [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I heard it first while screwing a blonde

2 who had the biggest box in

3 Scranton.

4 I listened to it again as I wrote a letter

5 to my mother

6 asking for 5,000 dollars

7 and she mailed back

8 3 bottletops and

9 the stems of grandpop's

10 forefingers.

11 The 5th will kill you

12 in the grass or at the track,

13 the kitten said,

14 walking across the popinjay

15 rug.

16 if the 5th don't kill you

17 the tenth will,

18 said the Caliente hooker.

19 as they ran up the

20 beautiful catsup red flag

21 93 thieves wept in the

22 purple dust.

23 the 5th is like an

24 ant in a breakfastnook full of

25 swaggersticks and

26 june bugs

27 sucking

28 dawn's orange juice coming.

29 and I took the 3 bottletops from my

30 mother and

[Page 56]
31 ate them

32 wrapped in pages from

33 Cosmopolitan

34 magazine.

35 but I am tired of the

36 5th

37 and I told this to a woman in

38 Ohio once, I

39 had just packed coal up 3 flights

40 of stairs

41 I was drunk and

42 dizzy, and she said:

43 how can you say you don't care

44 for something greater than you'll

45 ever be?

46 and I said:

47 that's easy.

48 and she sat in a green chair and

49 I sat in a red chair

50 and after that

51 we never made love

52 again.

[Page 57]
Bukowski, Charles:103 degrees [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she cut my toenails the night before,

2 and in the morning she said, "I think I'll

3 just lay here all day."

4 which meant she wasn't going to work.

5 she was at my apartment---which meant another

6 day and another night.

7 she was a good person

8 but she had just told me that she wanted to

9 have a child, wanted marriage, and

10 it was 103 degrees outside.

11 when I thought of another child and

12 another marriage

13 I really began to feel bad.

14 I had resigned myself to dying alone

15 in a small room---

16 now she was trying to reshape my master plan.

17 besides she always slammed my car door too loud

18 and ate with her head too close to the table.

19 this day we had gone to the post office, a department

20 store and then to a sandwich place for lunch.

21 I already felt married. driving back in I almost

22 ran into a Cadillac.

23 "let's get drunk," I said.

24 "no, no," she answered, "it's too early."

25 and then she slammed the car door.

26 it was still 103 degrees.

27 when I opened my mail I found my auto insurance

28 company wanted $76 more.

29 suddenly she ran into the room and screamed, "LOOK, I'M


31 "take a bath," I told her.

32 I dialed the insurance company long distance and

33 demanded to know why.

34 she began screaming and moaning from the

35 bathtub and I couldn't hear and I said, "just a
[Page 58]
36 moment, please!"

37 I covered the phone and screamed at her in the bathtub:


39 SAKE!"

40 the insurance people still maintained that I owed them

41 $76 and would send me a letter explaining why.

42 I hung up and stretched out on the bed.

43 I was already married, I felt married.

44 she came out of the bathroom and said, "can I stretch out

45 beside you?"

46 and I said, "o.k."

47 in ten minutes her color was normal.

48 it was because she had taken a niacin tablet.

49 she remembered that it happened every time.

50 we stretched out there sweating:

51 nerves. nobody has soul enough to overcome nerves.

52 but I couldn't tell her that.

53 she wanted her baby.

54 what the fuck.

[Page 59]

Bukowski, Charles:pacific telephone [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 you go for these wenches, she said,

2 you go for these whores,

3 I'll bore you.

4 I don't want to be shit on anymore,

5 I said,

6 relax.

7 when I drink, she said, it hurts my

8 bladder, it burns.

9 I'll do the drinking, I said.

10 you're waiting for the phone to ring,

11 she said,

12 you keep looking at the phone.

13 if one of those wenches phones you'll

14 run right out of here.

15 I can't promise you anything, I said.

16 then---just like that---the phone rang.

17 this is Madge, said the phone. I've

18 got to see you right away.

19 oh, I said.

20 I'm in a jam, she continued, I need ten

21 bucks---fast.

22 I'll be right over, I said, and

23 hung up.

24 she looked at me. it was a wench,

25 she said, your whole face lit up.
[Page 60]

26 what the hell's the matter with

27 you?

28 listen, I said, I've got to leave.

29 you stay here. I'll be right back.

30 I'm going, she said. I love you but you're

31 crazy, you're doomed.

32 she got her purse and slammed the door.

33 it's probably some deeply-rooted childhood fuckup

34 that makes me vulnerable, I thought.

35 then I left my place and got into my volks.

36 I drove north up Western with the radio on.

37 there were whores walking up and down

38 both sides of the street and Madge looked

39 more vicious than any of them.

[Page 61]

Bukowski, Charles:225 pounds [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 we were in bed and

2 she started to fight:

3 "you son of a bitch! you just wait a minute,

4 I'll get you!"

5 I began laughing:

6 "what's the matter? what's the matter?"

7 "you son of a bitch!" she screamed.

8 I held her hands as she squirmed.

9 she was a couple of decades younger than I

10 a health food freak.

11 she was very strong.

12 "you son of a bitch! I'll get you!"

13 she screamed.

14 I rolled on top of her with my 225 pounds and

15 just layed it there on her.

16 "uugg, oooo, my God, that's not fair, oooo, my

17 God!"

18 I rolled off and walked into the other room and

19 sat on the couch.

20 "I'll get you, bastard," she said, "you just

21 wait!"

22 "just don't bite it off," I said, "or you'll make

23 a half dozen women very unhappy."

24 she climbed up on the headboard of my bed

25 (it did have a flat though narrow surface)
[Page 62]
26 and sat perched there watching the news on

27 tv.

28 the tv faced the bedroom and it illuminated

29 her as she sat up there on the

30 headboard.

31 "I thought you were sane," I said, "but you're

32 just as crazy as the rest of them."

33 "be quiet," she said, "I want to watch the

34 news!"

35 "look," I said, "I'll ..."

36 "SHUSH!" she said.

37 and there she was up on the headboard of my bed

38 really watching the news. I accepted her that

39 way.

[Page 63]
Bukowski, Charles:turnabout [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she drives into the parking lot while

2 I am leaning up against the fender of my car.

3 she's drunk and her eyes are wet with tears:

4 "you son of a bitch, you fucked me when you

5 didn't want to. you told me to keep phoning

6 you, you told me to move closer into town,

7 then you told me to leave you alone."

8 it's all quite dramatic and I enjoy it.

9 "sure, well, what do you want?"

10 "I want to talk to you, I want to go to your

11 place and talk to you ..."

12 "I'm with somebody now. she's in getting a

13 sandwich."

14 "I want to talk to you ... it takes a while

15 to get over things. I need more time."

16 "sure. wait until she comes out. we're not

17 inhuman. we'll all have a drink together."

18 "shit," she says, "oh shit!"

19 she jumps into her car and drives off.

20 the other one comes out: "who was that?"

21 "an ex-friend."

22 now she's gone and I'm sitting here drunk

23 and my eyes seem wet with tears.
[Page 64]

24 it's very quiet and I feel like I have a spear

25 rammed into the center of my gut.

26 I walk to the bathroom and puke.

27 mercy, I think, doesn't the human race know anything

28 about mercy?

[Page 65]
Bukowski, Charles:one for old snaggle-tooth [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 I know a woman

2 who keeps buying puzzles

3 chinese

4 puzzles

5 blocks

6 wires

7 pieces that finally fit

8 into some order.

9 she works it out

10 mathematically

11 she solves all her

12 puzzles

13 lives down by the sea

14 puts sugar out for the ants

15 and believes

16 ultimately

17 in a better world.

18 her hair is white

19 she seldom combs it

20 her teeth are snaggled

21 and she wears loose shapeless

22 coveralls over a body most

23 women would wish they had.

24 for many years she irritated me

25 with what I considered her

26 eccentricities---

27 like soaking eggshells in water

28 (to feed the plants so that

29 they'd get calcium).

30 but finally when I think of her

31 life

32 and compare it to other lives

33 more dazzling, original

34 and beautiful

35 I realize that she has hurt fewer
[Page 66]
36 people than anybody I know

37 (and by hurt I simply mean hurt).

38 she has had some terrible times,

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