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

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57 thinking about the redhead all the time.

58 I think the Chicano won

59 but I'm not sure.

[Page 186]
Bukowski, Charles:liberty [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she was sitting in the window

2 of room 1010 at the Chelsea

3 in New York,

4 Janis Joplin's old room.

5 it was 104 degrees

6 and she was on speed

7 and had one leg over

8 the sill,

9 and she leaned out and said,

10 "God, this is great!"

11 and then she slipped

12 and almost went out,

13 just catching herself.

14 it was very close.

15 she pulled herself in

16 walked over and stretched

17 on the bed.

18 I've lost a lot of women

19 in a lot of different ways

20 but that would have been

21 the first time

22 that way.

23 then she rolled off the bed

24 landed on her back

25 and when I walked over

26 she was asleep.

27 all day she had been wanting

28 to see the Statue of Liberty.

29 now she wouldn't worry me about that

30 for a while.

[Page 187]
Bukowski, Charles:don't touch the girls [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she's up seeing my doctor

2 trying to get some diet pills;

3 she's not fat, she needs the speed.

4 I go down to the nearest bar and wait.

5 at 3:30 in the afternoon of a tuesday.

6 they have a dancer.

7 there's only one other man in the bar.

8 she works out

9 looking at herself in the mirror.

10 she's like a monkey

11 dark

12 Korean.

13 she's not very good,

14 skinny and obvious

15 and she sticks her tongue out at me

16 then at the other man.

17 times must be truly hard, I think.

18 I have a few more beers then get up to leave.

19 she waves me over.

20 "you go?" she asks.

21 "yes," I say, "my wife has cancer."

22 I shake her hand.

23 she points to a sign behind her:


25 she points to the sign and says,

26 "the sign says, 'DON'T TOUCH THE GIRLS'."

[Page 188]

27 I go back to the parking lot and wait.

28 she comes out.

29 "did you get the pills?" I ask.

30 "yes," she says.

31 "then it's been a successful day."

32 I think of the dancer walking across my

33 kitchen. I can't visualize it. I am going

34 to die alone

35 just the way I live.

36 "take me to my place," she says,

37 "I've got to get ready for night school."

38 "sure," I say and drive her on in.

[Page 189]

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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I never wear dark shades

2 but this red head went to get

3 a prescription filled on Hollywood Blvd.

4 and she kept haggling and working at

5 me, snapping and snarling.

6 I left her at the prescription counter

7 and walked around and got a large tube of

8 Crest and a giant bottle of Joy.

9 then I walked up to

10 the dark shade display rack and bought

11 the most vicious pair of shades

12 I could find.

13 we paid for our things

14 walked down to a Mexican place

15 and she ordered a taco she couldn't eat

16 and sat there

17 haggling and snapping and snarling at me

18 and after eating I ordered 3 beers

19 drank them down

20 then put on my shades.

21 "o my God," she said, "o my God shit!"

22 and I ripped her up both sides

23 most excellent riposte

24 snarling stinking marmalade shots

25 shit blows

26 farts from hell,

27 then I got up

28 paid

29 she following me out

30 both of us in shades

31 and the sidewalks split.

32 we found her car

33 got in and drove off

34 me sitting there

35 pushing the shades back against my nose
[Page 190]
36 ripping out her backbone

37 and waving it out the window

38 like a broken Confederate flagpole ...

39 dark and vicious shades help.

40 "o my God shit!" she said,

41 and the sun was up

42 and I didn't know it.

43 they were a bargain for $4.25

44 even though I had left the Crest

45 and the Joy behind

46 at the taco place.

[Page 191]

Bukowski, Charles:prayer in bad weather [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 by God, I don't know what to

2 do.

3 they're so nice to have around.

4 they have a way of playing with

5 the balls

6 and looking at the cock very

7 seriously

8 turning it

9 tweeking it

10 examining each part

11 as their long hair falls on

12 your belly.

13 it's not the fucking and sucking

14 alone that reaches into a man

15 and softens him, it's the extras,

16 it's all the extras.

17 now it's raining tonight

18 and there's nobody

19 they are elsewhere

20 examining things

21 in new bedrooms

22 in new moods

23 or maybe in old

24 bedrooms.

25 anyhow, it's raining tonight,

26 one hell of a dashing, pouring

27 rain....

28 very little to do.

29 I've read the newspaper

30 paid the gas bill

31 the electric co.

32 the phone bill.

[Page 192]

33 it keeps raining.

34 they soften a man

35 and then let him swim

36 in his own juice.

37 I need an old-fashioned whore

38 at the door tonight

39 closing her green umbrella,

40 drops of moonlit rain on her

41 purse, saying, "shit, man,

42 can't you get better music

43 than that on your radio?

44 and turn up the heat ..."

45 it's always when a man's swollen

46 with love and everything

47 else

48 that it keeps raining

49 splattering

50 flooding

51 rain

52 good for the trees and the

53 grass and the air ...

54 good for things that

55 live alone.

56 I would give anything

57 for a female's hand on me

58 tonight.

59 they soften a man and

60 then leave him

61 listening to the rain.

[Page 193]
Bukowski, Charles:melancholia [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 the history of melancholia

2 includes all of us.

3 me, I writhe in dirty sheets

4 while staring at blue walls

5 and nothing.

6 I have gotten so used to melancholia

7 that

8 I greet it like an old

9 friend.

10 I will now do 15 minutes of grieving

11 for the lost redhead,

12 I tell the gods.

13 I do it and feel quite bad

14 quite sad,

15 then I rise


17 even though nothing is

18 solved.

19 that's what I get for kicking

20 religion in the ass.

21 I should have kicked the redhead

22 in the ass

23 where her brains and her bread and

24 butter are

25 at ...

26 but, no, I've felt sad

27 about everything:
[Page 194]

28 the lost redhead was just another

29 smash in a lifelong

30 loss ...

31 I listen to drums on the radio now

32 and grin.

33 there is something wrong with me

34 besides

35 melancholia.

[Page 195]

Bukowski, Charles:a stethoscope case [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 my doctor has just come into his office

2 from surgery.

3 he meets me in the men's john.

4 "God damn," he says to me,

5 "where did you find her? oh, I just like

6 to look at girls like that!"

7 I tell him: "it's my specialty: cement

8 hearts and beautiful bodies. If you can find

9 a heart-beat, let me know."

10 "I'll take good care of her," he says.

11 "yes, and please remember all the ethical

12 codes of your honorable profession," I tell

13 him.

14 he zips up first then washes.

15 "how's your health?" he asks.

16 "physically I'm sound as a tic. mentally I'm

17 wasted, doomed, on my tiny cross, all that

18 crap."

19 "I'll take good care of her."

20 "yes. and let me know about the heart-beat."

21 he walks out.

22 I finish, zip up and also walk out.

23 only I don't wash up.

24 I'm far beyond all that.

[Page 196]
Bukowski, Charles:eat your heart out [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I've come by, she says, to tell you

2 that this is it. I'm not kidding, it's

3 over. this is it.

4 I sit on the couch watching her arrange

5 her long red hair before my bedroom

6 mirror.

7 she pulls her hair up and

8 piles it on top of her head---

9 she lets her eyes look at

10 my eyes---

11 then she drops the hair and

12 lets it fall down in front of her face.

13 we go to bed and I hold her

14 speechlessly from the back

15 my arm around her neck

16 I touch her wrists and hands

17 feel up to

18 her elbows

19 no further.

20 she gets up.

21 this is it, she says,

22 eat your heart out. you

23 got any rubber bands?

24 I don't know.

25 here's one, she says,

26 this will do. well,

27 I'm going.

28 I get up and walk her

29 to the door
[Page 197]

30 just as she leaves

31 she says,

32 I want you to buy me

33 some high-heeled shoes

34 with tall thin spikes,

35 black high-heeled shoes.

36 no, I want them

37 red.

38 I watch her walk down the cement walk

39 under the trees

40 she walks all right and

41 as the poinsettas drip in the sun

42 I close the door.

[Page 198]
Bukowski, Charles:the retreat [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 this time has finished me.

2 I feel like the German troops

3 whipped by snow and the communists

4 walking bent

5 with newspapers stuffed into

6 worn boots.

7 my plight is just as terrible.

8 maybe more so.

9 victory was so close

10 victory was there.

11 as she stood before my mirror

12 younger and more beautiful than

13 any woman I had ever known

14 combing yards and yards of red hair

15 as I watched her.

16 and when she came to bed

17 she was more beautiful than ever

18 and the love was very very good.

19 eleven months.

20 now she's gone

21 gone as they go.

22 this time has finished me.

23 it's a long road back
[Page 199]
24 and back to where?

25 the guy ahead of me

26 falls.

27 I step over him.

28 did she get him too?

[Page 200]

Bukowski, Charles:I made a mistake [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I reached up into the top of the closet

2 and took out a pair of blue panties

3 and showed them to her and

4 asked "are these yours?"

5 and she looked and said,

6 "no, those belong to a dog."

7 she left after that and I haven't seen

8 her since. she's not at her place.

9 I keep going there, leaving notes stuck

10 into the door. I go back and the notes

11 are still there. I take the Maltese cross

12 cut it down from my car mirror, tie it

13 to her doorknob with a shoelace, leave

14 a book of poems.

15 when I go back the next night everything

16 is still there.

17 I keep searching the streets for that

18 blood-wine battleship she drives

19 with a weak battery, and the doors

20 hanging from broken hinges.

21 I drive around the streets

22 an inch away from weeping,

23 ashamed of my sentimentality and

24 possible love.

25 a confused old man driving in the rain

26 wondering where the good luck

27 went.

[Page 201]


popular melodies

in the last of

your mind

[Page 203]
Bukowski, Charles:girls in pantyhose [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 schoolgirls in pantyhose

2 sitting on bus stop benches

3 looking tired at 13

4 with their raspberry lipstick.

5 it's hot in the sun

6 and the day at school has been

7 dull, and going home is

8 dull, and

9 I drive by in my car

10 peering at their warm legs.

11 their eyes look

12 away---

13 they've been warned

14 about ruthless and horny old

15 studs; they're just not going

16 to give it away like that.

17 and yet it's dull

18 waiting out the minutes on

19 the bench and the years at

20 home, and the books they

21 carry are dull and the food

22 they eat is dull, and even

23 the ruthless, horny old studs

24 are dull.

25 the girls in pantyhose wait,

26 they await the proper time and

27 moment, and then they will move

28 and then they will conquer.

29 I drive around in my car

30 peeking up their legs

31 pleased that I will never be

32 part of their heaven and

33 their hell. but that scarlet
[Page 204]
34 lipstick on those sad waiting

35 mouths! it would be nice to

36 kiss each of them once, fully,

37 then give them back.

38 but the bus will

39 get them first.

[Page 205]
Bukowski, Charles:up your yellow river [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 a woman told a man

2 when he got off a plane

3 that I was dead.

4 a magazine printed

5 the fact that I was dead

6 and somebody else said

7 that they'd heard that I

8 was dead, and then somebody

9 wrote an article and said

10 our Rimbaud our Villon is

11 dead. at the same time an old

12 drinking buddy published

13 a piece stating that I

14 could no longer write. a

15 real Judas job. they can't

16 wait for me to go, these

17 farts. well, I'm listening

18 to Tchaikovsky's piano

19 concerto number one and

20 the announcer said Mahler's

21 5th and 10th symphonies

22 are coming up via

23 Amsterdam,

24 and the beerbottles are

25 on the floor and ash

26 from my cigarettes

27 covers my cotton under-

28 wear and my gut, I've

29 told all my girlfriends to

30 go to hell, and even this

31 is a better poem than any

32 of those gravediggers

33 could write.

[Page 206]

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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 she wrote me for years.

2 "I'm drinking wine in the kitchen.

3 it's raining outside. the children

4 are in school."

5 she was an average citizen

6 worried about her soul, her typewriter

7 and her

8 underground poetry reputation.

9 she wrote fairly well and with honesty

10 but only long after others had

11 broken the road ahead.

12 she'd phone me drunk at 2 a.m.

13 at 3 a.m.

14 while her husband slept.

15 "it's good to hear your voice," she'd

16 say.

17 "it's good to hear your voice too," I'd

18 say.

19 what the hell, you

20 know.

21 she finally came down. I think it had

22 something to do with

23 The Chapparal Poets Society of California.

24 they had to elect officers. she phoned me

25 from their hotel.

26 "I'm here," she said, "we're going to elect

27 officers."
[Page 207]

28 "o.k., fine," I said, "get some good ones."

29 I hung up.

30 the phone rang again.

31 "hey, don't you want to see me?"

32 "sure," I said, "what's the address?"

33 after she said goodbye I jacked-off

34 changed my stockings

35 drank a half bottle of wine and

36 drove on out.

37 they were all drunk and trying to

38 fuck each other.

39 I drove her back to my place.

40 she had on pink panties with

41 ribbons.

42 we drank some beer and

43 smoked and talked about

44 Ezra Pound, then we

45 slept.

46 it's no longer clear to

47 me whether I drove her to

48 the airport or

49 not.

50 she still writes letters

51 and I answer each one

52 viciously

53 hoping to make her

54 stop.

55 someday she may luck into

56 fame like Erica

[Page 208]
57 Jong. (her face is not as good

58 but her body is better)

59 and I'll think,

60 my God, what have I done?

61 I blew it.

62 or rather: I didn't blow

63 it.

64 meanwhile I have her box number

65 and I'd better inform her

66 that my second novel will be out

67 in September.

68 that ought to keep her nipples hard

69 while I consider the possibility of

70 Francine du Plessix Gray.

[Page 209]
Bukowski, Charles:I have shit stains in my underwear too [from Love is a Dog

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

1 I hear them outside:

2 "does he always type this

3 late?"

4 "no, it's very unusual."

5 "he shouldn't type this

6 late."

7 "he hardly ever does."

8 "does he drink?"

9 "I think he does."

10 "he went to the mailbox in

11 his underwear yesterday."

12 "I saw him too."

13 "he doesn't have any friends."

14 "he's old."

15 "he shouldn't type this late."

16 they go inside and it begins

17 to rain as

18 3 gun shots sound half a block

19 away and

20 one of the skyscrapers in

21 downtown L.A. begins

22 burning

23 25 foot flames licking toward

24 doom.

[Page 210]
Bukowski, Charles:Hawley's leaving town [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 this guy

2 he's got a crazy eye

3 and he's brown

4 a dark brown from the sun

5 the Hollywood and Western sun

6 the racetrack sun

7 he sees me and he says,

8 "hey, Hawley's leaving town

9 for a week. he messes up

10 my handicapping. now

11 I've got a chance."

12 he's grinning, he means it:

13 with Hawley out of town

14 he's going to move toward

15 that castle in the Hollywood Hills;

16 dancing girls

17 six German Shepherds

18 a drawbridge,

19 ten year old

20 wine.

21 Sam the Whorehouse Man

22 walks up and I tell Sam that

23 I am clearing $150 a day

24 at the track.

25 "I work right off the

26 toteboard," I tell him.

27 "I need a girl," he tells me,

28 "who can belt-buckle a guy

29 without coming out with all

30 this Christian moral bullshit

31 afterwards."

32 "Hawley's leaving town,"

33 I tell Sam.
[Page 211]
34 "where's the Shoe?"

35 he asks.

36 "back east," says an old man

37 who's standing there.

38 he has a white plastic shield

39 over his left eye

40 with little holes

41 punched into it.

42 "that leaves it all to Pinky,"

43 says dark brown.

44 we all stand looking at each

45 other.

46 then

47 a silent signal given

48 we turn away

49 and start walking,

50 each

51 in a different direction:

52 north south east west.

53 we know something.

[Page 212]
Bukowski, Charles:an unkind poem [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 they go on writing

2 pumping out poems---

3 young boys and college professors

4 wives who drink wine all afternoon

5 while their husbands work,

6 they go on writing

7 the same names in the same magazines

8 everybody writing a little worse each year,

9 getting out a poetry collection

10 and pumping out more poems

11 it's like a contest

12 it is a contest

13 but the prize is invisible.

14 they won't write short stories or articles

15 or novels

16 they just go on

17 pumping out poems

18 each sounding more and more like the others

19 and less and less like themselves,

20 and some of the young boys weary and quit

21 but the professors never quit

22 and the wives who drink wine in the afternoons

23 never ever ever quit

24 and new young boys arrive with new magazines

25 and there is some correspondence with lady or men poets

26 and some fucking

27 and everything is exaggerated and dull.

28 when the poems come back

29 they retype them

30 and send them off to the next magazine on the list,

31 and they give readings

32 all the readings they can

33 for free most of the time
[Page 213]
34 hoping that somebody will finally know

35 finally applaud them

36 finally congratulate and recognize their

37 talent

38 they are all so sure of their genius

39 there is so little self-doubt,

40 and most of them live in North Beach or New York City,

41 and their faces are like their poems:

42 alike,

43 and they know each other and

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