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



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38 Ezra Pound.

39 oh, brothers, we are the sickest and the

40 lowest of the breed.

[Page 241]


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

Black Sparrow Press]

1 oh, how worried they are about my

2 soul!

3 I get letters

4 the phone rings ...

5 "are you going to be all right?"

6 they ask.

7 "I'll be all right," I tell them.

8 "I've seen so many go down the drain,"

9 they tell me.

10 "don't worry about me," I say.

11 yet, they make me nervous.

12 I go in and take a shower

13 come out and squeeze a pimple on my

14 nose.

15 then I go into the kitchen and make

16 a salami and ham sandwich.

17 I used to live on candy bars.

18 now I have imported German mustard

19 for my sandwich. I might be in danger

20 at that.

21 the phone keeps ringing and the letters keep

22 arriving.

23 if you live in a closet with rats and

24 eat dry bread

25 they like you.

26 you're a genius

27 then.

28 or if you're in the madhouse or

29 the drunktank

30 they call you a genius.


[Page 242]

31 or if you're drunk and shouting

32 obscenities and

33 vomiting your life-guts on

34 the floor

35 you're a genius.

36 but get the rent paid up a month in

37 advance

38 put on a new pair of stockings

39 go to the dentist

40 make love to a healthy clean girl

41 instead of a whore

42 and you've lost your

43 soul.

44 I'm not interested enough to ask about

45 their souls.

46 I suppose I

47 should.

[Page 243]
Bukowski, Charles:a change of habit [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 Shirley came to town with a broken leg

2 and met the Chicano who smoked

3 long slim cigars

4 and they got a place together

5 on Beacon street

6 5th floor;

7 the leg didn't get in the way

8 too much and

9 they watched television together

10 and Shirley cooked, on her

11 crutches and all;

12 there was a cat, Bogey,

13 and they had some friends

14 and talked about sports and Richard Nixon

15 and how the hell to

16 make it.

17 it worked for some months,

18 Shirley even got the cast off,

19 and the Chicano, Manuel,

20 got a job at the Biltmore,

21 Shirley sewed all the buttons back on

22 Manuel's shirts, mended and matched his

23 socks, then

24 one day Manuel returned to the place, and

25 she was gone---

26 no argument, no note, just

27 gone, all her clothes

28 all her stuff, and

29 Manuel sat by the window and looked out

30 and didn't make his job

31 the next day or the

32 next day or

33 the day after, he

34 didn't phone in, he

35 lost his job, got a
[Page 244]
36 ticket for parking, smoked

37 four hundred and sixty cigarettes, got

38 picked up for common drunk, bailed

39 out, went

40 to court and pleaded

41 guilty.

42 when the rent was up he

43 moved from Beacon street, he

44 left the cat and went to live with

45 his brother and

46 they'd get drunk

47 every night

48 and talk about how

49 terrible

50 life was.

51 Manuel never again smoked

52 long slim cigars

53 because Shirley always said

54 how

55 handsome he looked

56 when he did.

[Page 245]


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

Black Sparrow Press]

1 I've always had trouble with

2 money.

3 this one place I worked

4 everybody ate hot dogs

5 and potato chips

6 in the company cafeteria for

7 3 days before each

8 payday.

9 I wanted steaks,

10 I even went to see the manager

11 of the cafeteria and

12 demanded that he serve

13 steaks. he refused.

14 I'd forget payday.

15 I had a high rate of absenteeism and

16 payday would arrive and everybody would

17 start talking about

18 it.


19 "payday?" I'd say, "hell, is this

20 payday? I forgot to pick up my

21 last cheek ..."

22 "stop the bullshit, man ..."

23 "no, no, I mean it ..."

24 I'd jump up and go down to payroll

25 and sure enough there'd be a

26 check and I'd come back and show it

27 to them. "Jesus Christ, I forgot all about

28 it ..."

29 for some reason they'd get

30 angry. then the payroll clerk would come


[Page 246]
31 around. I'd have two

32 checks. "Jesus," I'd say, "two checks."

33 and they were

34 angry.

35 some of them were working

36 two jobs.

37 the worst day

38 it was raining very hard,

39 I didn't have a raincoat so

40 I put on a very old coat I hadn't worn for

41 months and

42 I walked in a little late

43 while they were working.

44 I looked in the coat for some

45 cigarettes

46 and found a 5 dollar bill

47 in the side pocket:

48 "hey, look," I said, "I just found a 5 dollar

49 bill I didn't know I had, that's

50 funny."

51 "hey, man, knock off the

52 shit!"

53 "no, no, I'm serious, really, I remember

54 wearing this coat when

55 I got drunk at the

56 bars. I've been rolled too often,

57 I've got this fear ... I take money out of

58 my wallet and hide it all

59 over me."

60 "sit down and get to

61 work."

62 I reached into an inside pocket:

63 "hey, look, here's a TWENTY! God, here's a

64 TWENTY I never knew I


[Page 247]
65 had! I'm

66 RICH!"

67 "you're not funny, son of

68 a bitch ..."

69 "hey, my God, here's ANOTHER

70 twenty! too much, too too

71 much ... I knew I didn't spend all that

72 money that night. I thought I'd been

73 rolled again ..."

74 I kept searching the

75 coat. "hey! here's a ten and

76 here's a fiver! my God ..."

77 "listen, I'm telling you to sit down

78 and shut up ..."

79 "my God, I'm RICH ... I don't even need

80 this job ..."

81 "man, sit down ..."

82 I found another ten after I sat down

83 but I didn't say

84 anything.

85 I could feel waves of hatred and

86 I was confused,

87 they believed I had

88 plotted the whole thing

89 just to make them

90 feel bad. I didn't want

91 to. people who live on hot dogs and

92 potato chips for

93 3 days before payday

94 feel bad

95 enough.
[Page 248]

96 I sat down

97 leaned forward and

98 began to go to

99 work.

100 outside

101 it continued to

102 rain.

[Page 249]
Bukowski, Charles:sitting in a sandwich joint [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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


1 my daughter is most

2 glorious.

3 we are eating a take-

4 out snack in my car

5 in Santa Monica.

6 I say, "hey, kid,

7 my life has been

8 good, so good."

9 she looks at me.

10 I put my head down

11 on the steering wheel,

12 shudder, then I

13 kick the door open,

14 put on a

15 mock-puke.

16 I straighten up.

17 she laughs

18 biting into her

19 sandwich.

20 I pick up four

21 french fries

22 put them into my mouth,

23 chew them.

24 it's 5:30 p.m.

25 and the cars run up

26 and down past us.

27 I sneak a look:

28 we've got all the

29 luck we need:

30 her eyes are brilliant with the

31 remainder of the

32 day, and she's

33 grinning.

[Page 250]


Bukowski, Charles:doom and siesta time [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 my friend is worried about dying

2 he lives in Frisco

3 I live in L.A.

4 he goes to the gym and

5 works with the iron and hits

6 the big bag.

7 old age diminishes him.

8 he can't drink because of

9 his liver.

10 he can do

11 50 pushups.

12 he writes me

13 letters

14 telling me

15 that I'm the only one

16 who listens to him.

17 sure, Hal, I answer him

18 on a postcard.

19 but I don't want to pay

20 all those gym fees.

21 I go to bed

22 with a liverwurst and

23 onion sandwich at

24 one p.m.

25 after I eat I

26 nap
[Page 251]


27 with the heli-

28 copters and vultures

29 circling over my

30 sagging mattress.

[Page 252]
Bukowski, Charles:as crazy as I ever was [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 drunk and writing poems

2 at 3 a.m.

3 what counts now

4 is one more

5 tight

6 pussy

7 before the light

8 tilts out

9 drunk and writing poems

10 at 3:15 a.m.

11 some people tell me that I'm

12 famous.

13 what am I doing alone

14 drunk and writing poems at

15 3:18 a.m.?

16 I'm as crazy as I ever was

17 they don't understand

18 that I haven't stopped hanging out of 4th floor

19 windows by my heels---

20 I still do

21 right now

22 sitting here

23 writing this down

24 I am hanging by my heels

25 floors up:

26 68, 72, 101,

27 the feeling is the

28 same:


[Page 253]

29 relentless

30 unheroic and

31 necessary

32 sitting here

33 drunk and writing poems

34 at 3:24 a.m.

[Page 254]


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

Black Sparrow Press]


1 I am driving down Wilton Avenue

2 when this girl of about 15

3 dressed in tight blue jeans

4 that grip her behind like two hands

5 steps out in front of my car

6 I stop to let her cross the street

7 and as I watch her contours waving

8 she looks directly through my windshield

9 at me

10 with purple eyes

11 and then blows

12 out of her mouth

13 the largest pink globe of

14 bubble gum

15 I have ever seen

16 while I am listening to Beethoven

17 on the car radio.

18 she enters a small grocery store

19 and is gone

20 and I am left with

21 Ludwig.

[Page 255]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 I always wanted to ball

2 Henry Miller, she said,

3 but by the time I got there

4 it was too late.

5 damn it, I said, you girls

6 always arrive too late.

7 I've already masturbated

8 twice today.

9 that wasn't his problem,

10 she said. by the way,

11 how come you flog-off

12 so much?

13 it's the space, I said,

14 all that space between

15 poems and stories, it's

16 intolerable.

17 you should wait, she said,

18 you're impatient.

19 what do you think of Celine?

20 I asked.

21 I wanted to ball him too.

22 dead now, I said.

23 dead now, she said.

24 care to hear a little

25 music? I asked.
[Page 256]

26 might as well, she said.

27 I gave her Ives.

28 that's all I had left

29 that night.

[Page 257]


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

Black Sparrow Press]

1 hey, said my friend, I want you to meet

2 Hangdog Harry, he reminds me of you,

3 and I said, all right, and we went to

4 this cheap hotel.

5 old men sitting around watching

6 some program on the tv in the lobby

7 as we went up the stairway

8 to 209 and there was Hangdog

9 sitting in a straight strawback chair

10 bottle of wine at his feet

11 last year's calendar on the wall,

12 "you guys sit down," he said,

13 "that's the problem:

14 man's inhumanity to man."

15 we watched him slowly roll a

16 Bull Durham cigarette.

17 "I've got a 17 inch neck and I'll kill

18 anybody who fucks with me."

19 he licked his cigarette

20 then spit on the rug.

21 "just like home here. feel free."

22 "how you feeling, Hangdog?" asked

23 my friend.

24 "terrible. I'm in love with a whore,

25 haven't seen her in 3 or 4 weeks."

26 "what you think she's doing, Hang?"

27 "well, right now about now I'd say

28 she's sucking some turkeyneck."

29 he picked up his wine bottle

30 took a tremendous drain.


[Page 258]

31 "look," my friend said to Hangdog,

32 "we've got to get going."

33 "o.k., time and tide, they don't

34 wait ..."

35 he looked at me:

36 "whatcha say your name was?"

37 "Salomski."

38 "pleased to meet cha, kid."

39 "likewise."

40 we went down the stairway

41 they were still in the lobby

42 looking at t.v.

43 "what did you think of him?"

44 my friend asked.

45 "shit," I said, "he was really

46 all right. yes."

[Page 259]


Bukowski, Charles:the place didn't look bad [from Love is a Dog from Hell:

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

1 she had huge thighs

2 and a very good laugh

3 she laughed at everything

4 and the curtains were yellow

5 and I finished

6 rolled off

7 and before she went to the bathroom

8 she reached under the bed and

9 threw me a rag.

10 it was hard

11 it was stiff with other men's

12 sperm.

13 I wiped off on the sheet.

14 when she came out

15 she bent over

16 and I saw all that behind

17 as she put Mozart

18 on.


[Page 260]
Bukowski, Charles:the little girls [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 up in northern California

2 he stood in the pulpit

3 and had been reading for some time

4 he had been reading poems about

5 nature and the goodness

6 of man.

7 he knew that everything was all

8 right and you couldn't blame him:

9 he was a professor and had never

10 been in jail or in a whorehouse

11 had never had a used car die

12 in a traffic jam;

13 had never needed more than

14 3 drinks during his wildest

15 evening;

16 had never been rolled, flogged,

17 mugged,

18 had never been bitten by a dog

19 he got nice letters from Gary

20 Snyder, and his face was

21 kindly, unmarked and

22 tender.

23 his wife had never betrayed him,

24 nor had his luck.

25 he said, "I'm just going to read

26 3 more poems and then I'm going

27 to step down and let

28 Bukowski read."

29 "oh no, William," said all the

30 little girls in their pink and blue

31 and white and orange and lavender

32 dresses, "oh no, William,


[Page 261]
33 read some more, read some

34 more!"

35 he read one more poem and then he said,

36 "this will be the last poem that

37 I will read."

38 "oh no, William," said all the little

39 girls in their red and green see-

40 through dresses, "oh no, William," said

41 all the little girls in their tight blue

42 jeans with little hearts sewn on them,

43 "oh no, William," said all the little girls,

44 "read more poems, read more poems!"

45 but he was good to his word.

46 he got the poem out and he climbed down and

47 vanished. as I got up to read

48 the little girls wiggled in

49 their seats and some of them hissed and

50 some of them made remarks to me

51 which I will use at some later date.

52 two or three weeks later

53 I got a letter from William

54 saying that he did enjoy my reading.

55 a true gentleman.

56 I was in bed in my underwear with a

57 3 day hangover. I lost the envelope

58 but I took the letter and folded it

59 into a paper airplane such as

60 I had learned to make in grammar

61 school. it sailed about the room

62 before landing between an old Racing Form

63 and a pair of shit-stained shorts.

64 we have not corresponded since.

[Page 262]
Bukowski, Charles:rain or shine [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 the vultures at the zoo

2 (all 3 of them)

3 sit very quietly in their

4 caged tree

5 and below

6 on the ground

7 are chunks of rotting meat.

8 the vultures are over-full.

9 our taxes have fed them

10 well.

11 we move on to the next

12 cage.

13 a man is in there

14 sitting on the ground

15 eating

16 his own shit.

17 I recognize him as

18 our former mailman.

19 his favorite expression

20 had been:

21 "have a beautiful day."

22 that day, I did.

[Page 263]
Bukowski, Charles:cold plums [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 eating cold plums in bed

2 she told me about the German

3 who owned everything on the block

4 except the custom drapery shop

5 and he tried to buy

6 the custom drapery shop

7 but the girls said, no.

8 the German had the best grocery store in

9 Pasadena, his meats were high

10 but worth the price

11 and his vegetables and produce were

12 very cheap and

13 he also sold flowers. people came

14 from all over Pasadena to go to his

15 store

16 but he wanted to buy the custom drapery shop

17 and the girls kept saying, no.

18 one night somebody was seen running

19 out the back door of the drapery shop

20 and there was a fire

21 and almost everything was destroyed---

22 they'd had a tremendous inventory,

23 they tried to save what was left

24 had a fire sale

25 but it didn't work

26 they had to sell, finally,

27 and then the German owned the drapery shop

28 but it just sits there, vacant,

29 the German's wife tried to make a go of it

30 she tried to sell little baskets and things

31 but it didn't work.

32 we finished the plums.

33 "that was a sad story," I told her.

34 then she bent down and began sucking me off.


[Page 264]
35 the windows were open and you could hear me

36 hollering all over the neighborhood

37 at 5:30 in the evening.

[Page 265]


Bukowski, Charles:girls coming home [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems,

1974-1977 (1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 the girls are coming home in their cars

2 and I sit by the window and

3 watch.

4 there's a girl in a red dress

5 driving a white car

6 there's a girl in a blue dress

7 driving a blue car

8 there's a girl in a pink dress

9 driving a red car.

10 as the girl in the red dress

11 gets out of the white car

12 I look at her legs

13 as the girl in the blue dress

14 gets out of the blue car

15 I look at her legs

16 as the girl in the pink dress

17 gets out of the red car

18 I look at her legs.

19 the girl in the red dress

20 who got out of the white car

21 had the best legs

22 the girl in the pink dress

23 who got out of the red car

24 had average legs

25 but I keep remembering the girl in the blue dress

26 who got out of the blue car

27 I saw her panties
[Page 266]
28 you don't know how exciting life can get

29 around here

30 at 5:35 p.m.

[Page 267]


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

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 which reminds me

2 I shacked with Jane for 7 years

3 she was a drunk

4 I loved her

5 my parents hated her

6 I hated my parents

7 we made a nice

8 foursome

9 one day we went on a picnic

10 together

11 up in the hills

12 and we played cards and drank beer and

13 ate potato salad

14 they treated her as if she were a living person

15 at last

16 everybody laughed

17 I didn't laugh.

18 later at my place

19 over the whiskey

20 I said to her,

21 I don't like them

22 but it's good they treated you

23 nice.

24 you damn fool, she said,

25 don't you see?

26 see what?

27 they kept looking at my beer-belly,
[Page 268]
28 they think I'm pregnant.

29 oh, I said, well here's to our beautiful

30 child.

31 here's to our beautiful child,

32 she said.

33 we drank them down.

[Page 269]
Bukowski, Charles:bedpans [from Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977

(1977), Black Sparrow Press]

1 in the hospitals I've been in

2 you see the crosses on the walls

3 with the thin palm leaves behind them

4 yellowed and browned

5 it is the signal to accept the inevitable

6 but what really hurts

7 are the bedpans

8 hard under your ass

9 you're dying

10 and you're supposed to sit up on this

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