The one thing I enjoy when reading Bukowski is the fact that his stories are simple, though the context quite complex and often depressing, it is simple the way that life is displayed through his words. Although these stories may not reflect life in general, lives such as these do exist, and many are too afraid or often too heartless to explore.
It was a time of drunk symbolism, sex, and living freely. Living off of luck, or payment from an accepted piece, or if necessary and desperate, finding employment for the day just to earn enough for booze, dinner, and breakfast. It wasn’t a happy successful life, but then these stories aren’t about society’s picture of success. It’s as if success has been achieved by damning the Man whether it’s not paying taxes or not having to suck up to corporate wankers. By sleeping till noon while John Doe works his ass off as a slave to the wage.
The women in these stories seem displaced and are often seen just finding any reason for satisfaction, for belonging, while dying slowly from within. And these women aren’t “keepers”, but needed just the same. The Depression came and went, but definitely left scars.
Recommended reading for sure, but only if you can handle the reality that life is not always Shirley temples and t.v. dinners. Sometimes it’s a can of beans with a bottle of ripple, but no one is complaining.
I open my eyes
to this slave-trade world,
Echoing back and forth
the pains of others before me
(always getting screwed.)
And it really won’t get any better.
This country is beginning to smell
Rotting tortured souls,
mounds of waste outside our backyards.
No wonder people would rather
sleep the day away, never leave their homes.
I feel the same way some days
(thank you for feeling the same way.)
Polluted skies fill my dreams
Vaporize my passion for life.
Just what are you spraying over our skies?
I never feel dignified
but life keeps dragging on by
Open these endless graves
Of slaves, screwed over before us
Dying for the cause,
Humiliated and ashamed.
We’re still fighting minimum wage
Health benefits and equality,
the right to teach about our culture.
Can we keep the human race alive and well?
We all agree that this is hell
but we know the worst is still to come.
I vote we sleep through it,
Let the rich fight for once
Let their children be the sacrifice
While they hunt for tomorrows’ dinner
I open my eyes, forcefully
trying to understand
What the screaming is all about
What the crying is all about
Why the pain is ever lasting
Why everything we do hurts us in the end
Metals of honor mean a painful death
(what good are we alive?)
Let the rich volunteer to lay across these mines,
kill for an unjust cause.
Leave the tears for the dead behind
until the sun comes up and I do it
All over again.
Let loose all poor examples of Presidents before
Of world wars famine greed does it mean
A pile of manure for those so blinded
so excited to start a fight they could never finish
but sell bumper stickers for.
I’ve forgotten what it felt like to shine
To be alive kicking screaming
Giving way to the revolution!
But their propaganda gets in the way
Eating at our souls, our courage
again we have nothing to live for
(I stay asleep another day.)
I grieve for the young
for the lives that will be lost in the next five minutes
If only they could sleep away like me,
Stay safe within closed eyes.
I am disturbed by a distorted sky,
chemicals are in the air
Tonight, grey and black: puff puff cough
everyone is affected,
we all suffer from restraints
branded on bleeding wrists
from government promises and dead dreams.