Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Goading the Muse


this man used to be an
interesting writer,
he was able to say brisk and
refreshing things.
at the time
I suggested to the editors and
the critics that he was one to
be watched
and also that he had hardly yet been
noticed
and that he certainly should now be
noticed.
this writer used some of my
remarks as blurbs for his
books, which I didn't
mind.
all of his publications were little
chapbooks, 16 to 32
pages,
mimeographed.
they came out at a
rapid rate,
perhaps three or four a
year.
the problem was that each
chapbook seemed a little weaker
than the one that preceded
it
but he continued to use my old
blurbs.
my wife noticed the change
in his writing
too.
'what's happened to his
writing?' she asked me.
'he's doing too much of it, he's
pushing it out, forcing it.'
'this stuff is bad, you ought to
tell him to stop using your
blurbs.'
'I can't do that, I just wish he
wouldn't publish so much.'
'well, you publish all the
time too.'
'with me,' I told her, 'it's
different.'

yesterday I received another of his
little chapbooks
with his delicate dedication scrawled
on the title page.
this latest effort was totally
flat.
the words just fell off the
page,
dead on
arrival.

where had he gone?

too much ambition?
too much just doing it for the sake
of doing it?
just not waiting for the words to
pile up inside and then
explode of their own
volition?

I decided then I should take a whole week
off,
be on the safe side,
just shut the computer down,
forget the whole damned silly
business
for awhile.

as I said, that was
yesterday.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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