I see why women like Charles Bukowski.
It’s all about relationships. A soap opera about people in love, they break up, they get back together. Nevermind that he’s a blackhead-laden drunk who takes down a quart of hobo vodka and then kicks the shit out of them; it’s about boys and girls breaking up and getting back together and are they gonna break up and are they gonna get together and who’s he gonna get together with next. My mother gave me a book of Bukowski’s when I was 15. Here, she said, this guy is a good writer. I think you’ll like him. I didn’t. What the fuck did I know when I was fifteen. Hunter Thompson I could get at that age; boys’ stories about going on adventures. But Bukowski is for girls who can intuitively grasp that relationships are what’s important in life. I had no fucking idea of what relationships were like.
But now I can understand it. At least, the first 49 pages of Women. Now that I’m an aging alcoholic who lives in dusty sweaty L.A. with a weird chainsmoking landlady and a bunch of pain in the ass women who keep coming back to me after I tell them to fuck off. Now that I can still get laid even though I feel that I look like some sort of overgrown gnome. Bukowski is a romantic hero and it doesn’t matter that he’s ugly and old– the fact that he has women after him is proof enough of his worthiness. Bukowski, the pineapple-headed miscreant who licked the last drops of scotch out of a shattered pint bottle on the sidewalk, passed out, and shat himself,* was attractive to women because he was attractive to other women. That’s all that matters. Women go after men who other women are going after.
Anyway: it’s also basically a crystal ball. When I’m 50 I’m still gonna be poor in a hot smelly apartment and nurse a pint of cheap liquor every night and have a big gin blossom and blackheads. I’m still gonna be walking drunk on the streets of Echo Park looking for girls in their 20’s, when I’m 50. My car will mysteriously only operate in reverse when I’m trying to pull away from a chick’s house after telling her to fuck off, forcing me to go back inside. And like him, I will be matter of fact about it. Or I’ll be miserable, but I’ll be so drunk I won’t care. The only question is: what will the equivalent of being a cult poet who published in journals that guys had to print on mimeograph machines and staple together by hand– what will that level of literary fame be in the future, because I want it. I want that job at the fucking post office that you can stop thinking about when you leave and go home and write drunk all night, and it gets you famous enough to go read out loud in college professors’ living rooms in Kansas and then dewey eyed coeds fuck you even though you look like a muppet. I want that life. Just broke enough to still have something to complain about but those complaints get me free airline tickets and pussy. This guy did it, when he was my age. So maybe there’s hope. Not for too much longer though. The days run away like wild horses over the hills.
*Last part not true.