Let's pretend we're in a bar in Los Angeles, an area near Echo Park. It's August 16th, let's say 1979 (that way, I could attend this soiree, as I was between marriages at the time). Just for tonight, we'll overlook the heavy smoke and make our way to the corner table where a rather rough-edged fellow, who has returned for this occasion, is seated with a few friends. RZ has just bought a round of drinks to celebrate. Someone else has brought a cake decorated with a 1950's pin-up girl in a sailor's hat (I can't say for certain, but I think "Hank" would like that). We've gathered to celebrate the birthday of a man I don't know well, probably not well enough to call him Hank, as his friends do, but I feel I've come to know him a bit through his poetry. He's not going to read his poetry tonight, though, he's just here to have a good time, as are we all, to celebrate life a bit more enthusiastically than usual. As is often the case, he has some words of wisdom to share with us, and we're ready to listen. He seems to be a brave man and brave men should be celebrated. We've learned it comes in many forms, but exposing your soul might be the bravest act of all. It's something he does well, and, it seems, fearlessly. Here's what he's telling us:
"War Some of the Time"
when you write a poem it
needn't be intense
can be nice and
and you shouldn't necessarily
concerned only with things like anger
or love or need;
at any moment the
greatest accomplishment might be to simply
up and tap the handle
on that leaking toilet;
done that twice now while typing
and now the toilet is
solve simple problems: that's
satisfying thing, it
gives you a chance and it
gives everything else a chance
we were made to accomplish the easy
and made to live through the things
~ Charles Bukowski, from Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way.
Happy Birthday, Charles, and thank you for helping me to better understand another side of life.
|Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 - March 9, 1994)|