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



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15 the air goes all white

16 the roaches in my kitchen

17 tremble

18 and somebody will have to throw

19 my clean and dirty underwear

20 away.


[Page 129]
Bukowski, Charles:Christmas eve, alone [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 Christmas eve, alone,

2 in a motel room

3 down the coast

4 near the Pacific---

5 hear it?

6 they've tried to do this place up

7 Spanish, there's

8 tapestry and lamps, and

9 the toilet's clean, there are

10 tiny bars of pink

11 soap.

12 they won't find us

13 here:

14 the barracudas or the ladies or

15 the idol

16 worshippers.

17 back in town

18 they're drunk and panicked

19 running red lights

20 breaking their heads open

21 in honor of Christ's

22 birthday. that's nice.

23 soon I'll finish this 5th of

24 Puerto Rican rum.

25 in the morning I'll vomit and

26 shower, drive back

27 in, have a sandwich by 1 p.m.,

28 be back in my room by

29 2,

30 stretched on the bed,



31 waiting for the phone to ring,
[Page 130]
32 not answering,

33 my holiday is an

34 evasion, my reasoning

35 is not.

[Page 131]
Bukowski, Charles:there once was a woman who put her head into an oven [from

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

1 terror finally becomes almost

2 bearable

3 but never quite

4 terror creeps like a cat

5 crawls like a cat

6 across my mind

7 I can hear the laughter of the masses

8 they are strong

9 they will survive

10 like the roach

11 never take your eyes off the roach

12 you'll never see it again.


13 the masses are everywhere

14 they know how to do things:

15 they have sane and deadly angers

16 for sane and deadly

17 things.

18 I wish I were driving a blue 1952 Buick

19 or a dark blue 1942 Buick

20 or a blue 1932 Buick

21 over a cliff of hell and into the

22 sea.

[Page 132]


Bukowski, Charles:beds, toilets, you and me--- [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 think of the beds

2 used again and again

3 to fuck in

4 to die in.

5 in this land

6 some of us fuck more than

7 we die

8 but most of us die

9 better than we

10 fuck,

11 and we die

12 piece by piece too---

13 in parks

14 eating ice cream, or

15 in igloos

16 of dementia,

17 or on straw mats

18 or upon disembarked

19 loves

20 or


21 or.

22 :beds beds beds

23 :toilets toilets toilets

24 the human sewage system

25 is the world's greatest

26 invention.

27 and you invented me

28 and I invented you

29 and that's why we don't

30 get along


[Page 133]
31 on this bed

32 any longer.

33 you were the world's

34 greatest invention

35 until you

36 flushed me

37 away.

38 now it's your turn

39 to wait for the touch

40 of the handle.

41 somebody will do it

42 to you,

43 bitch,

44 and if they don't

45 you will---

46 mixed with your own

47 green or yellow or white

48 or blue

49 or lavender

50 goodbye.

[Page 134]
Bukowski, Charles:this then--- [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 it's the same as before

2 or the other time

3 or the time before that.

4 here's a cock

5 and here's a cunt

6 and here's trouble.

7 only each time

8 you think

9 well now I've learned:

10 I'll let her do that

11 and I'll do this,

12 I no longer want it all,

13 just some comfort

14 and some sex

15 and only a minor

16 love.

17 now I'm waiting again

18 and the years run thin.

19 I have my radio

20 and the kitchen walls

21 are yellow.

22 I keep dumping bottles

23 and listening

24 for footsteps.

25 I hope that death contains

26 less than this.

[Page 135]
Bukowski, Charles:imagination and reality [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 there are many single women in the world

2 with one or two or three children

3 and one wonders where the husbands

4 have gone or where the lovers have

5 gone

6 leaving behind

7 all those hands and eyes and feet

8 and voices.

9 as I pass through their homes

10 I like opening cupboards and

11 looking in

12 or under the sink

13 or in a closet---

14 I expect to find the husband

15 or lover and he'll tell me:

16 "hey, buddy, didn't you notice her

17 stretch-marks, she's got stretch-marks

18 and floppy tits and she eats

19 onions all the time and farts ... but

20 I'm a handy man. I can fix things,

21 I know how to use a turret-lathe and

22 I make my own oil changes. I can shoot

23 pool, bowl, and I can finish 5th or

24 6th in any cross-country marathon

25 anywhere. I've got a set of golf

26 clubs, can shoot in the 80's. I know

27 where the clit is and what to do about

28 it. I've got a cowboy hat with the brim

29 turned straight up at the sides.

30 I'm good with the lasso and the dukes

31 and I know all the latest dance steps."

32 and I'll say, "look, I was just leaving."

33 and I will leave before he can challenge me

34 to arm-wrestling


[Page 136]
35 or tell a dirty joke

36 or show me the dancing tattoo on his

37 right bicep.

38 but really

39 all I find in the cupboards are

40 coffee cups and large cracked brown plates

41 and under the sink a stack of hardened

42 rags, and in the closet---more coathangers

43 than clothes, and it's not until she shows

44 me the photo album and the photos of him---

45 nice enough like a shoehorn, or a cart in

46 the supermarket whose wheels aren't stuck---

47 that the self-doubt leaves, and the

48 pages turn and there's one child on a

49 swing wearing a red outfit and there's

50 the other one

51 chasing a seagull in Santa Monica.

52 and life becomes sad and not dangerous

53 and therefore good enough:

54 to have her bring you a cup of coffee in

55 one of those coffee cups without him

56 jumping out.

[Page 137]
Bukowski, Charles:stolen [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977),

Black Sparrow Press]

1 I keep thinking it will be outside

2 now


3 waiting for me

4 blue


5 front bumper twisted

6 Maltese cross hanging

7 from the mirror.

8 rubber floormat

9 twisted under the pedals.

10 20 m.p.g.

11 good old TRV 491

12 the faithful love of a man,

13 the way I put her into second

14 while taking a corner

15 the way she could dig from a signal

16 with any other around.

17 the way we conquered large and

18 small spaces

19 rain

20 sun


21 smog

22 hostility

23 the crush of things.

24 I came out of last Thursday night's

25 fights at the Olympic

26 and my 1967 Volks was gone

27 with another lover

28 to another place.

29 the fights had been good.

30 I called a cab at a Standard station

31 and sat eating a jelly doughnut

32 with coffee in a cafe and

33 waited,
[Page 138]
34 and I knew that if I found

35 the man who stole her

36 I would kill him.

37 the cab came. I waved to the

38 driver, paid for the coffee and

39 doughnut, got out into the night,

40 got in, and told him, "Hollywood

41 and Western," and that particular

42 night was just about over.

[Page 139]


Bukowski, Charles:the meek have inherited [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 if I suffer at this

2 typewriter

3 think how I'd feel

4 among the lettuce-

5 pickers of Salinas?

6 I think of the men

7 I've known in

8 factories

9 with no way to

10 get out---

11 choking while living

12 choking while laughing

13 at Bob Hope or Lucille

14 Ball while

15 2 or 3 children beat

16 tennis balls against

17 the walls.

18 some suicides are never

19 recorded.

[Page 140]


Bukowski, Charles:the insane always loved me [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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


1 and the subnormal.

2 all through grammar school

3 junior high

4 high school

5 junior college

6 the unwanted would attach

7 themselves to

8 me.


9 guys with one arm

10 guys with twitches

11 guys with speech defects

12 guys with white film

13 over one eye,

14 cowards

15 misanthropes

16 killers

17 peep-freaks

18 and thieves.

19 and all through the

20 factories and on the

21 bum

22 I always drew the

23 unwanted. they found me

24 right off and attached

25 themselves. they

26 still do.

27 in this neighborhood now

28 there's one who's

29 found me.

30 he pushes around a

31 shopping cart

32 filled with trash:

33 broken canes, shoelaces,

34 empty potato chip bags,


[Page 141]
35 milk cartons, newspapers, penholders ...

36 "hey, buddy, how ya doin'?"

37 I stop and we talk a

38 while.

39 then I say goodbye

40 but he still follows

41 me

42 past the beer



43 parlours and the

44 love parlours ...

45 "keep me informed,

46 buddy, keep me informed,

47 I want to know what's

48 going on."

49 he's my new one.

50 I've never seen him

51 talk to anybody

52 else.

53 the cart rattles

54 along a little bit

55 behind me

56 then something

57 falls out.

58 he stops to pick

59 it up.

60 as he does I

61 walk through the

62 front door of the

63 green hotel on the

64 corner

65 pass down through

66 the hall

67 come out the back

68 door and

69 there's a cat

70 shitting there in

71 absolute delight,

72 he grins at

73 me.

[Page 142]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 in junior high school

2 Big Max was a problem.

3 we'd be sitting during lunch hour

4 eating our peanut butter sandwiches

5 and potato chips.

6 he was hairy of nostril

7 and of eyebrow, his lips

8 glistened with spittle.

9 he already wore size ten and a half

10 shoes. his shirts stretched across a

11 massive chest. his wrists looked like

12 two by fours. and he walked up

13 through the shadows behind the gym

14 where we sat, my friend Eli and I.

15 "you guys," he stood there, "you guys

16 sit with your shoulders slumped!

17 you walk around with your shoulders

18 slumped! how are you ever going to

19 make it?"

20 we didn't answer.

21 then Max would look at me.

22 "stand up!"

23 I'd stand up and he'd walk around

24 behind me and say, "square your

25 shoulders like this!"

26 and he'd snap my shoulders back.

27 "there! doesn't that feel better?"

28 "yeah, Max."

29 then he'd walk off and I'd resume a

30 normal posture.


[Page 143]

31 Big Max was ready for the

32 world. it made us sick

33 to look at him.

[Page 144]
Bukowski, Charles:trapped [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 in the winter walking on my

2 ceiling my eyes the size of street-

3 lamps. I have 4 feet like a mouse but

4 wash my own underwear---bearded and

5 hungover and a hard-on and no lawyer. I

6 have a face like a washrag. I sing

7 love songs and carry steel.

8 I would rather die than cry. I can't

9 stand hounds can't live without them.

10 I hang my head against the white

11 refrigerator and want to scream like

12 the last weeping of life forever but

13 I am bigger than the mountains.

[Page 145]


Bukowski, Charles:it's the way you play the game [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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


1 call it love

2 stand it up in the failing

3 light

4 put it in a dress

5 pray sing beg cry laugh

6 turn off the lights

7 turn on the radio

8 add trimmings:

9 butter, raw eggs, yesterday's

10 newspaper;

11 one new shoelace, then add

12 paprika, sugar, salt, pepper,

13 phone your drunken aunt in

14 Calexico;

15 call it love, you

16 skewer it good, add

17 cabbage and applesauce,

18 then heat it from the

19 left side,

20 then heat it from the right

21 side,

22 put it in a box

23 give it away

24 leave it on a doorstep

25 vomiting as you go

26 into the

27 hydrangea.

[Page 146]


Bukowski, Charles:on the continent [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I'm soft. I

2 dream too.

3 I let myself dream. I dream of

4 being famous. I dream of

5 walking the streets of London and

6 Paris. I dream of

7 sitting in cafes

8 drinking fine wines and

9 taking a taxi back to a good

10 hotel.

11 I dream of

12 meeting beautiful ladies in the hall

13 and

14 turning them away because

15 I have a sonnet in mind that

16 I want to write

17 before sunrise. at sunrise

18 I will be asleep and there will be a

19 strange cat curled up on the

20 windowsill.

21 I think we all feel like this

22 now and then.

23 I'd even like to visit

24 Andernach, Germany, the place where

25 I began. then I'd like to

26 fly on to Moscow to check out

27 their mass transit system so

28 I'd have something faintly lewd to

29 whisper into the ear of the mayor of

30 Los Angeles upon my return to this

31 fucking place.

32 it could happen.

33 I'm ready.
[Page 147]

34 I've watched snails climb over

35 ten foot walls and

36 vanish.

37 you mustn't confuse this with

38 ambition.

39 I would be able to laugh at my

40 good turn of the cards---

41 and I won't forget you.

42 I'll send postcards and

43 snapshots, and the

44 finished sonnet.

[Page 148]
Bukowski, Charles:12:18 a.m. [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 beheaded in the middle of the

2 night

3 scratching my sides

4 I am covered with bites

5 kick my white legs out of the sheets

6 as the sirens scream

7 there is a gun blast.

8 I go to the kitchen

9 for a glass of water

10 destroy the reverie of a roach

11 destroy the roach.

12 a gale comes from the North

13 as the man in the apartment across

14 from me

15 inserts his penis into the rump of his

16 4 year old

17 daughter.

18 I hear the screams

19 light a cigar

20 stick it into the lips of my

21 beheaded head.

22 it is half a cigar

23 stale

24 a Medalist Naturбles, No. 7.

25 I walk back to the bedroom

26 with a spray can.

27 I press the button.

28 it hisses. I

29 gag,

30 think of ancient wars

31 loves dead.
[Page 149]

32 so much happens in the dark

33 yet tomorrow

34 the sun will move up and on,

35 you'll get a ticket if you park on the

36 south side of the street on

37 Thursday

38 or the north side on

39 Friday.

40 the efficiency of the sun and the

41 law

42 bulwarks sanity.

43 something bites me.

44 I madden

45 spray half my

46 bedsheets.

47 I turn

48 see the dark mirror---

49 the cigar

50 the loose belly

51 me

52 old.



53 I laugh.

54 it's good they don't

55 know.

56 I take my head

57 put it back on my

58 neck

59 get between the sheets and

60 can't sleep.

[Page 150]
Bukowski, Charles:yellow cab [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 the Mexican dancer shook her fans at

2 me and her ass at me, I

3 didn't ask her to and

4 my woman got mad and ran out of the cafe and

5 it began raining and you could hear it on the

6 roof and I didn't have a job and I had 13 days left

7 on the rent.

8 sometimes when a woman runs out on you like

9 that you wonder if it's not

10 economics, you can't blame them---

11 if I had to get fucked I'd rather get fucked

12 by somebody with money.

13 we're all scared but when you're ugly and you

14 don't have much left you get

15 strong, and I called the waiter over and I said,

16 I think I am going to turn this table over, I'm

17 bored, I'm insane, I need

18 action, call in your goon, I'll piss on his

19 collarbone.

20 I got

21 thrown out swiftly. it was

22 raining. I picked myself up in the rain and

23 walked down the empty street

24 cotton candy sweet

25 dumb shit for sale, all the little stores locked

26 with 67ў Woolworth locks.

27 I reached the end of the street in time

28 to see her get into the yellow cab with

29 another guy.

30 I fell down by a garbage can, stood up

31 and pissed against it, feeling sad and not

32 sad, knowing there was only so much they could do to


[Page 151]
33 you, piss sliding down the corrugated

34 tin, the philosophers must have had something to

35 say about this. women. their luck against your

36 destiny. winner take Barcelona. next

37 bar.

[Page 152]


Bukowski, Charles:how come you're not unlisted? [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 the men phone and ask me that.

2 are you really Charles Bukowski

3 the writer? they ask.

4 I'm a sometimes writer, I say,

5 most often I don't do anything.

6 listen, they ask, I like your

7 stuff---do you mind if I come

8 over and bring a couple of 6

9 packs?

10 you can bring them, I say

11 if you don't come in ...

12 when the women phone, I say,

13 o yes, I write, I'm a writer

14 only I'm not writing right now.

15 I feel foolish phoning you,

16 they say, and I was surprised

17 to find you listed in the phone book.

18 I have reasons, I say,

19 by the way why don't you come over

20 for a beer?

21 you wouldn't mind?

22 and they arrive

23 handsome women

24 good of mind and body and eye.


[Page 153]

25 often there isn't sex

26 but I'm used to that

27 yet it's good

28 very good just to look at them---

29 and some rare times

30 I have unexpected good luck

31 otherwise.

32 for a man of 55 who didn't get laid

33 until he was 23

34 and not very often until he was 50

35 I think that I should stay listed

36 via Pacific Telephone

37 until I get as much as

38 the average man has had.

39 of course, I'll have to keep

40 writing immortal poems

41 but the inspiration is there.

[Page 154]
Bukowski, Charles:weather report [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]


1 I suppose it's raining in some Spanish town

2 now


3 while I'm feeling bad

4 like this;

5 I'd like to think so

6 now.


7 let's go to a Mexican hamlet---

8 that sounds nice:

9 a Mexican hamlet

10 while I'm feeling bad

11 like this

12 the walls yellow with age---

13 that rain

14 out there,

15 a pig moving in his pen at night

16 disturbed by the rain,

17 little eyes like cigarette-ends,

18 and his damned tail:

19 see it?

20 I can't imagine the people.

21 it's hard for me to imagine the people.

22 maybe they are feeling bad like this,

23 almost as bad as this.

24 I wonder what they do when they feel

25 bad?

26 they probably don't mention it.

27 they say,

28 "look, it's raining."

29 that's the best way.

[Page 155]


Bukowski, Charles:clean old man [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 here I'll be

2 55 in a

3 week.

4 what will I

5 write about

6 when it no

7 longer stands

8 up in the morning?

9 my critics

10 will love it

11 when my playground

12 narrows down to

13 tortoises

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