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Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Are You Drinking?


washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook
out again
I write from the bed
as I did last
year.
will see the doctor,
Monday.
"yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head-
aches and my back
hurts."
"are you drinking?" he will ask.
"are you getting your
exercise, your
vitamins?"
I think that I am just ill
with life, the same stale yet
fluctuating
factors.
even at the track
I watch the horses run by
and it seems
meaningless.
I leave early after buying tickets on the
remaining races.
"taking off?" asks the motel
clerk.
"yes, it's boring,"
I tell him.
"If you think it's boring
out there," he tells me, "you oughta be
back here."
so here I am
propped up against my pillows
again
just an old guy
just an old writer
with a yellow
notebook.
something is
walking across the
floor
toward
me.
oh, it's just
my cat
this
time.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie Mazhari David (5/21/2014 4:16:00 AM)

    last nite, i've been drinking too, seating lonely in my two-room apartment in downtown Nantes, France, until something walked across my floor... it was no cat for I don't want to look like a secluded old chap, I dont want to be weakened by such warm entity, i'd rather to to hell with sheer madness in my soul and mind... anyway, something came across my floor... and it was a spider... this I can deal with, I said to myself.* * (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,820 Points * Sunprincess * (3/15/2014 7:14:00 AM)

    something is
    walking across the
    floor
    toward
    me.
    oh, it's just
    my cat
    this
    time.
    .................love the ending it gave me a laugh...
    I didn't expect that....excellent write
    .......and an awesome poem! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 885 Points Smoky Hoss (12/10/2013 12:27:00 PM)

    Bukowski knew and expressed the heavy part of life as well as anyone could. This poem is a picture, some will see its meaning, and some will not. Either way it goes to a deeper place, and speaks honestly. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 18 Points Reyvrex Questor Reyes (10/7/2012 4:00:00 AM)

    Yes I am drinking: Check this out:

    Drunken Sonnet

    When in my lowest stock of wine and praise
    I just content myself with this cheap beer
    And wish in some hotel I with my raise
    In yuletide, enjoying a good cheer;
    But most I get from work that I contend,
    Is reprimand from bossy chief and staff,
    And scorn from lady love whom I pretend,
    To have, when all I get from her is chaff;
    And thinking of this love, this love of fools,
    That no angel finds worthy of a cent,
    Spit out, might I, in any of my drools,
    And wonder how my glossy life have went;
    .... Seeing your face, and hearing your tirade,
    .... I might with bandits give my life to trade. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Kasia Fedyk (5/17/2012 6:39:00 PM)

    Wow, he is just incredible, such simplicity comes through him when he expresses his emotion, simplicity and play with the words, his whole state of being, yet the heaviness he carries with him you can feel to the bone. He is brilliant. I love his work. Rest in peace Charles Burkowski. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent and your life.. [3 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 141 Points Stan Petrovich (7/7/2011 2:25:00 PM)

    Sure he was. Later him life he boasted about switching to 'natural' wine, as opposed to the skid-row stuff, like Midnight Train, et al that he was used to, and died in Tucson (I think) of cirrhossis anyway. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie David Woods (3/16/2009 4:08:00 PM)

    A laconic poem, I feel like i've been there, felt that same world weariness. I wonder who/what he saw the last time someone walked across the floor (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Just Jes (4/30/2008 7:01:00 PM)

    the beauty of Bukowski is that he is a master of crafting words that Everyman can relate to. That heavy side of life that you'd find talking to any person suffering through life is so present in this poem. You don't have to have watched a person suffer through the ravages of Cancer to comprehend this. Fighting is tiresome, even if the demons are self inflicted. This is just great writing. Its not covered in perfume, or redundant cerebral metaphors. it simply is what it is! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joan Forbush (3/16/2008 4:57:00 PM)

    I was really sick recently, and I felt the same way. After a while you just get tired of everything. Beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie ***** ********* (5/20/2006 6:55:00 PM)

    Why does Charles Bukowski write such a poem to be remembered by? Springs to mind when reading this excellent account of his fading life in his vivid view. Just a thought from ever pondering why? Tai (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jeffrey Philip Clegg (7/14/2005 8:22:00 PM)

    And yes, at the moment, I'm doing a little tiny bit of drinking. Enough for typos or grammatical errors? ? Not even... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Joe Guillotin (6/6/2005 1:26:00 AM)

    I believe if youre famous enough- and enough people believe you are alive, you can come back to life..but only to appear at shopping mall openings/book signings. Sadly - bukowski can't continue his work post mortum(but I will see him at that mall opening in SOHO) . (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Derek R. Audette (3/29/2005 1:16:00 AM)

    Lol! Jodilee Duke... I don't think Bukowski is going to read your comment any time soon. :) Sadly, the greatest American poet of the latter part of the 20th century, Charles Bukowski, died in 1994. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anong All (5/29/2004 8:13:00 AM)

    Your poem feels familiar.., Yet, slightly free'r with air. I really enjoy reading your poetry. (Report) Reply

Read all 19 comments »

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