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



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39 times when maybe I should have

40 helped her more

41 for she is the mother of my only

42 child

43 and we were once great lovers,

44 but she has come through

45 like I said

46 she has hurt fewer people than

47 anybody I know,

48 and if you look at it like that,

49 well,

50 she has created a better world.

51 she has won.

52 Frances, this poem is for

53 you.


[Page 67]
Bukowski, Charles:communion [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 horses running

2 with her miles away

3 laughing with a

4 fool


5 Bach and the hydrogen bomb

6 and her miles away

7 laughing with a

8 fool


9 the banking system

10 bumper jacks

11 gondolas in Venice

12 and her miles away

13 laughing with a

14 fool

15 you've never quite

16 seen a stairway before

17 (each step looking at you

18 separately)

19 and outside

20 the newsboy looking

21 immortal

22 as the cars go by

23 under a sun

24 like an enemy

25 and you wonder

26 why it's so hard

27 to go crazy---

28 if you're not already

29 crazy

30 until now

31 you've never seen a
[Page 68]
32 stairway that looked like

33 a stairway

34 a doorknob that looked like

35 a doorknob

36 and sounds like these sounds

37 and when the spider comes out

38 and looks at you

39 finally

40 you don't hate it

41 finally

42 with her miles away

43 laughing with a

44 fool.

[Page 69]


Bukowski, Charles:trying to get even: [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 we'd had any number of joints and some

2 beer and I was on the bed stretched out

3 and she said, "look, I've had 3 abortions

4 in a row, real fast, and I'm sick of

5 abortions, I don't want you to stick that

6 thing in me!"

7 it was sticking up there and we were both

8 looking at it.

9 "ah, come on," I said, "my girlfriend fucked

10 2 different guys this week and I'm trying to

11 get even."

12 "don't get me involved in your domestic

13 horseshit! now what I want you to do is

14 to BEAT that thing OFF while I WATCH!

15 I want to WATCH while you beat that thing

16 OFF! I want to see it shoot JUICE!"

17 "o.k. get your face closer."

18 she got it closer and I spit on my palm

19 and began working.

20 it got bigger. just before I was ready I

21 stopped, I held it at the bottom

22 stretching it,

23 the head throbbed

24 purple and shiny.

25 "oooh," she said.

26 she ducked her mouth over it, sucked at

27 it and

28 pulled away.

29 "finish it off," I said.
[Page 70]

30 "no!"

31 I whacked away and then stopped again

32 at the last moment and held it at the

33 bottom and waved it all around the

34 bedroom.

35 she eyed it

36 fell upon it again

37 sucked

38 and pulled away.

39 we alternated the process

40 back and forth

41 again and again.

42 finally I just pulled her off

43 the chair

44 onto the bed

45 rolled on top of her

46 stuck it in

47 worked it

48 worked it

49 and came.

50 when she walked back out of

51 the bathroom she said,

52 "you son of a bitch, I love you,

53 I've loved you for a long time.

54 when I get back to Santa Barbara

55 I'm going to write you. I'm

56 living with this guy but I hate

57 him, I don't even know what I'm

58 doing with him."

59 "o.k.," I said, "but you're up

60 now. can you get me a glass of

61 water? I'm dry."
[Page 71]

62 she walked into the kitchen and

63 I heard her remark that

64 all my drinking glasses were

65 dirty.

66 I told her to use a

67 coffee cup. I

68 heard the water running and I

69 thought, one more fuck

70 I'll be even

71 and I can be in love with my girlfriend again---

72 that is

73 if she hasn't slipped in an

74 extra

75 and she probably

76 has.


[Page 72]
Bukowski, Charles:Chicago [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 "I've made it," she said, "I've come

2 through." she had on new boots, pants

3 and a white sweater. "I know what I

4 want now." she was from Chicago and

5 had settled in L.A.'s Fairfax district.

6 "you promised me champagne,"

7 she said.

8 "I was drunk when I phoned. how about

9 a beer?"

10 "no, pass me your joint."

11 she inhaled, let it out:

12 "this isn't very good stuff."

13 she handed it back.

14 "there's a difference," I said, "between

15 making it and simply becoming hard."

16 "you like my boots?"

17 "yes, very nice."

18 "listen, I've got to go. can I use

19 your bathroom?"

20 "sure."

21 when she came out she had on a

22 large lipstick mouth. I hadn't seen

23 one of those since I was a boy.

24 I kissed her in the doorway

25 feeling the lipstick rub off on my

26 lips.

27 "goodbye," she said.

28 "goodbye," I said.

29 she went up the walk toward her car.

30 I closed the door.


[Page 73]

31 she knew what she wanted and it wasn't

32 me.

33 I know more women like that than any

34 other kind.

[Page 74]


Bukowski, Charles:quiet clean girls in gingham dresses ... [from Love is a Dog

from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 all I've ever known are whores, ex-prostitutes,

2 madwomen. I see men with quiet,

3 gentle women---I see them in the supermarkets,

4 I see them walking down the streets together,

5 I see them in their apartments: people at

6 peace, living together. I know that their

7 peace is only partial, but there is

8 peace, often hours and days of peace.

9 all I've ever known are pill freaks, alcoholics,

10 whores, ex-prostitutes, madwomen.

11 when one leaves

12 another arrives

13 worse than her predecessor.

14 I see so many men with quiet clean girls in

15 gingham dresses

16 girls with faces that are not wolverine or

17 predatory.

18 "don't ever bring a whore around," I tell my

19 few friends, "I'll fall in love with her."

20 "you couldn't stand a good woman, Bukowski."

21 I need a good woman. I need a good woman

22 more than I need this typewriter, more than

23 I need my automobile, more than I need

24 Mozart; I need a good woman so badly that I

25 can taste her in the air, I can feel her

26 at my fingertips, I can see sidewalks built

27 for her feet to walk upon,

28 I can see pillows for her head,

29 I can feel my waiting laughter,
[Page 75]
30 I can see her petting a cat,

31 I can see her sleeping,

32 I can see her slippers on the floor.

33 I know that she exists

34 but where is she upon this earth

35 as the whores keep finding me?

[Page 76]
Bukowski, Charles:we will taste the islands and the sea [from Love is a Dog from

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

1 I know that some night

2 in some bedroom

3 soon

4 my fingers will

5 rift

6 through

7 soft clean

8 hair


9 songs such as no radio

10 plays

11 all sadness, grinning

12 into flow.

[Page 77]

2


me, and

that old woman:

sorrow

[Page 79]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

[1] this poet he'

d been drink

ing 2 or 3 da

ys and he wa

lked out on t

he stage and

looked at th

at audience

and he just k

new he was

going to do i

t. there was

a grand pian

o on stage a

nd he walke

d over and li

fted the lid a

nd vomited i

nside the pia

no. then he c

losed the lid

and gave his

reading.

[2] they had to r

emove the st

rings from t

he piano and

wash out the

insides and r

estring it.

[3] I can unders
[Page 80]
tand why th

ey never invi

ted him bac

k. but to pas

s the word o

n to other un

iversities tha

t he was a

poet who lik

ed to vomit i

nto grand pi

anos was un

fair.

[4] they never c



onsidered th

e quality of

his reading.

I know this

poet: he's ju

st like the re

st of us: he'l

I vomit anyw

here for mon

ey.

[Page 81]
Bukowski, Charles:winter [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 big sloppy wounded dog

2 hit by a car and walking

3 toward the curbing

4 making enormous

5 sounds

6 your body curled

7 red blowing out of

8 ass and mouth.

9 I stare at him and

10 drive on

11 for how would it look

12 for me to be holding

13 a dying dog on a

14 curbing in Arcadia,

15 blood seeping into my

16 shirt and pants and

17 shorts and socks and

18 shoes? it would just

19 look dumb.

20 besides, I figure the 2

21 horse in the first race

22 and I wanted to hook

23 him with the 9

24 in the second. I

25 figured the daily to

26 pay around $140

27 so I had to let that

28 dog die alone there

29 just across from the

30 shopping center

31 with the ladies look-

32 ing for bargains

33 as the first bit of

34 snow fell upon the

35 Sierra Madre.

[Page 82]


Bukowski, Charles:what they want [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]


1 Vallejo writing about

2 loneliness while starving to

3 death;

4 Van Gogh's ear rejected by a

5 whore;

6 Rimbaud running off to Africa

7 to look for gold and finding

8 an incurable case of syphilis;

9 Beethoven gone deaf;

10 Pound dragged through the streets

11 in a cage;

12 Chatterton taking rat poison;

13 Hemingway's brains dropping into

14 the orange juice;

15 Pascal cutting his wrists

16 in the bathtub;

17 Artaud locked up with the mad;

18 Dostoevsky stood up against a wall;

19 Crane jumping into a boat propeller;

20 Lorca shot in the road by Spanish

21 troops;

22 Berryman jumping off a bridge;

23 Burroughs shooting his wife;

24 Mailer knifing his.

25 ---that's what they want:

26 a God damned show

27 a lit billboard

28 in the middle of hell.

29 that's what they want,

30 that bunch of

31 dull

32 inarticulate

33 safe

34 dreary

35 admirers of

36 carnivals.

[Page 83]
Bukowski, Charles:Iron Mike [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 we talk about this film:

2 Cagney fed this broad

3 grapefruit

4 faster than she could

5 eat it and

6 then she

7 loved him.

8 "that won't always

9 work," I told Iron

10 Mike.

11 he grinned and said,

12 "yeh."

13 then he reached down

14 and touched his belt.

15 32 female scalps

16 dangled there.

17 "me and my big Jewish

18 cock," he said.

19 then he raised his hands

20 to indicate the

21 size.

22 "o, yeh, well,"

23 I said.

24 "they come around," he

25 said, "I fuck 'em, they

26 hang around, I tell 'em,

27 'it's time to leave.'"
[Page 84]

28 "you've got guts,

29 Mike."

30 "this one wouldn't leave

31 so I just got up and

32 slapped her ... she

33 left."

34 "I don't have your nerve,

35 Mike. they hang around

36 washing dishes, rubbing

37 the shit-stains out of the

38 crapper, throwing out the

39 old Racing Forms ..."

40 "they'll never get me,"

41 he said,

42 "I'm invincible."

43 look, Mike, no man is

44 invincible.

45 some day

46 you'll be sent mad by

47 eyes like a child's crayon

48 drawing. you won't be

49 able to drink a glass of

50 water or walk across a

51 room. there will be the

52 walls and the sound of

53 the streets outside, and

54 you'll hear machineguns

55 and mortar shells. that'll

56 be when you want it and

57 can't have it.

58 the teeth

59 are never finally the

60 teeth of love.

[Page 85]
Bukowski, Charles:guru [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 big black beard

2 tells me

3 that I don't feel

4 terror

5 I look at him

6 my gut rattles

7 gravel

8 I see his eyes

9 look upward

10 he's strong

11 has dirty fingernails

12 and upon the walls:

13 scabbards.

14 he knows things:

15 books

16 the odds

17 the best road

18 home

19 I like him

20 but I think he

21 lies

22 (I'm not sure

23 he lies)

24 his wife sits

25 in a dark
[Page 86]
26 corner

27 when I first met

28 her she was the

29 most beautiful

30 woman

31 I had ever

32 seen

33 now she has

34 become

35 his twin

36 perhaps not his

37 fault:

38 perhaps the thing

39 does us all

40 like that

41 yet after I leave

42 their house

43 I feel terror

44 the moon looks

45 diseased

46 my hands slip

47 on the

48 steering wheel

49 I get my car

50 out

51 and down the

52 hill

53 almost crash it

54 into a

55 blue-green

56 parked car
[Page 87]

57 clod me forever,

58 Beatrice

59 wavering poet, ha

60 haha

61 dinky dog of

62 terror.

[Page 88]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 sitting with the professors

2 we talk about Allen Tate

3 and John Crow Ransom

4 the rugs are clean and

5 the coffeetables shine

6 and there is talk of

7 budgets and works in

8 progress

9 and there is a

10 fireplace.

11 the kitchen floor is

12 well-waxed

13 and I have just eaten

14 dinner

15 after drinking until

16 3 a.m.

17 after reading

18 the night before

19 now I'm to read again

20 at a nearby college.

21 I'm in Arkansas in

22 January

23 somebody even mentions

24 Faulkner

25 I go to the bathroom

26 and vomit up the

27 dinner

28 when I come out

29 they are all in their

30 coats and overcoats

31 waiting in the

32 kitchen.

33 I'm to read in

34 15 minutes.


[Page 89]
35 there'll be a

36 good crowd

37 they tell me.

[Page 90]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 don't worry about rejections, pard,

2 I've been rejected

3 before.

4 sometimes you make a mistake, taking

5 the wrong poem

6 more often I make the mistake, writing

7 it.

8 but I like a mount in every race



9 even though the man

10 who puts up the morning line

11 tabs it 30 to one.

12 I get to thinking about death more and

13 more

14 senility

15 crutches

16 armchairs

17 writing purple poetry with a

18 dripping pen

19 when the young girls with mouths

20 like barracudas

21 bodies like lemon trees

22 bodies like clouds

23 bodies like flashes of lightning

24 stop knocking on my door.

25 don't worry about rejections, pard.
[Page 91]

26 I have smoked 25 cigarettes tonight

27 and you know about the beer.

28 the phone has only rung once:

29 wrong number.

[Page 92]


Bukowski, Charles:how to be a great writer [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 you've got to fuck a great many women

2 beautiful women

3 and write a few decent love poems.

4 and don't worry about age

5 and/or freshly-arrived talents.

6 just drink more beer

7 more and more beer

8 and attend the racetrack at least once a

9 week

10 and win

11 if possible.

12 learning to win is hard---

13 any slob can be a good loser.

14 and don't forget your Brahms

15 and your Bach and your

16 beer.

17 don't overexercise.

18 sleep until noon.

19 avoid credit cards

20 or paying for anything on

21 time.

22 remember that there isn't a piece of ass

23 in this world worth over $50

24 (in 1977).


[Page 93]

25 and if you have the ability to love

26 love yourself first

27 but always be aware of the possibility of

28 total defeat

29 whether the reason for that defeat

30 seems right or wrong---

31 an early taste of death is not necessarily

32 a bad thing.

33 stay out of churches and bars and museums,

34 and like the spider be

35 patient---

36 time is everybody's cross,

37 plus

38 exile

39 defeat

40 treachery

41 all that dross.

42 stay with the beer.

43 beer is continous blood.

44 a continuous lover.

45 get a large typewriter

46 and as the footsteps go up and down

47 outside your window

48 hit that thing

49 hit it hard

50 make it a heavyweight fight

51 make it the bull when he first charges in

52 and remember the old dogs

53 who fought so well:

54 Hemingway, Celine, Dostoevsky, Hamsun.
[Page 94]

55 if you think they didn't go crazy

56 in tiny rooms

57 just like you're doing now

58 without women

59 without food

60 without hope

61 then you're not ready.

62 drink more beer.

63 there's time.

64 and if there's not

65 that's all right

66 too.

[Page 95]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 drinking 15 dollar champagne---

2 Cordon Rouge---with the hookers.

3 one is named Georgia and she

4 doesn't like pantyhose:

5 I keep helping her pull up

6 her long dark stockings.

7 the other is Pam---prettier

8 but not much soul, and

9 we smoke and talk and I

10 play with their legs and

11 stick my bare foot into

12 Georgia's open purse.

13 it's filled with

14 bottles of pills. I

15 take some of the pills.

16 "listen," I say, "one of

17 you has soul, the other

18 looks. can't I combine

19 the 2 of you? take the soul

20 and stick it into the looks?"

21 "you want me," says Pam, "it

22 will cost you a hundred."

23 we drink some more and Georgia

24 falls to the floor and can't

25 get up.

26 I tell Pam that I like her

27 earrings very much. her

28 hair is long and a natural

29 red.
[Page 96]

30 "I was only kidding about the

31 hundred," she says.

32 "oh," I say, "what will it cost

33 me?"

34 she lights her cigarette with

35 my lighter and looks at me

36 through the flame:

37 her eyes tell me.

38 "look," I say, "I don't think I

39 can ever pay that price again."

40 she crosses her legs

41 inhales on her cigarette

42 as she exhales she smiles

43 and says, "sure you can."

[Page 97]


Bukowski, Charles:alone with everybody [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 the flesh covers the bone

2 and they put a mind

3 in there and

4 sometimes a soul,

5 and the women break

6 vases against the walls

7 and the men drink too

8 much


9 and nobody finds the

10 one


11 but they keep

12 looking

13 crawling in and out

14 of beds.

15 flesh covers

16 the bone and the

17 flesh searches

18 for more than

19 flesh.

20 there's no chance

21 at all:

22 we are all trapped

23 by a singular

24 fate.

25 nobody ever finds

26 the one.

27 the city dumps fill

28 the junkyards fill

29 the madhouses fill

30 the hospitals fill

31 the graveyards fill
[Page 98]
32 nothing else

33 fills.

[Page 99]
Bukowski, Charles:the 2nd novel [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

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