Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Back To The Machine Gun - Poem by Charles Bukowski

I awaken about noon and go out to get the mail
in my old torn bathrobe.
I'm hung over
hair down in my eyes
gingerly walking on the small sharp rocks
in my path
still afraid of pain behind my four-day beard.

the young housewife next door shakes a rug
out of her window and sees me:
"hello, Hank!"

god damn! it's almost like being shot in the ass
with a .22

"hello," I say
gathering up my Visa card bill, my Pennysaver coupons,
a Dept. of Water and Power past-due notice,
a letter from the mortgage people
plus a demand from the Weed Abatement Department
giving me 30 days to clean up my act.

I mince back again over the small sharp rocks
thinking, maybe I'd better write something tonight,
they all seem
to be closing in.

there's only one way to handle those motherfuckers.

the night harness races will have to wait.

Comments about Back To The Machine Gun by Charles Bukowski

  • (1/21/2016 8:34:00 PM)

    .............the poet sets the scene amazingly, I'm sure the day was beautiful..
    I could easily imagine how those rocks felt on bare feet....
    and the feeling one has when receiving nothing but bad news in the mailbox..
    a poem of reality for so many ★
    (Report) Reply

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  • Thomas Case (11/30/2015 9:13:00 AM)

    where are your poems's easy to sit back and critisize when you don't even try....Buk is what so many writers pretend to be. He lives, no pretense. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Case (11/30/2015 9:07:00 AM)

    Larry....I strongly disagree....Buk takes the mundane and turns it into true's the flash in the darkness. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Case (11/30/2015 9:03:00 AM)

    fantastic......Buk makes checking his mail as interesting as going to the moon........the mundane into mosters or butterflys.......there's only one way to handle those motherfuckers. I laughed out loud. (Report) Reply

  • (11/12/2015 7:32:00 AM)

    A poem either grabs you or it doesnt. A poem might sound like birdshit today and tomorrow it may seem a kindred soul has expressed something ineffable deep in my heart. You cant make someone - even your self - get it. Ive been where he is - alcoholic meandering through life when small randoms inspire me to pick up my gun and get back in the fight. I wish a young housewife would greet me so enthusiastically (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (12/24/2014 6:03:00 PM)

    The beauty of an individual soul, walking, working and wandering through a life, and expressing so in the wonder of words, as viewed by one who is not afraid to speak as he sees. Surprisingly refreshing, actually. (Report) Reply

  • Rebecca Lytle (5/1/2014 6:23:00 PM)

    Larry Gorlitz why are you here? You have a tractor-pull attendee, trailer park-dweller, litterbug's understanding and appreciation of poetry AT BEST. Please excuse yourself, run down to the 7-11 for some dip, and go find some more naked lady mudflaps for your truck or something. Buh-bye! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Patrick (7/28/2013 12:16:00 PM)

    Bukowski eschewed the clichés of pretentious poetry with an emphasis placed on modern sensibilities his descriptions flow with there unholy serene conviction that forces you to look at things in a less flowery way. The man was NOT a hack trying to rip off Shakespeare sonnets it was about living within the moment of Now.

    Anyway didn't the first stanza remind you of the Dude from the Big Lebowski?
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/2/2013 10:23:00 AM)

    A reply to Mr.Gorlitz:

    He wrote with soul and honesty..he painted pictures and stories with words. He style is not my style, nor should it be, because he is him and I am me. Whether you use mystic words or lines, academic words or lines, everyday words or lines; matters not. What matters is the beauty of the picture and the honesty of the inspiration.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2009 2:56:00 PM)

    Bukowski is a genius in that he can paint a lively picture from the mundane. Every detail given to the reader is well thought out- the title is a striking metaphor- we feel his unease at getting the mail in his tattered robe- the disappointment of bills in the mail. These are careful details of a depressed person, trying to paint a picture of reality, or the reality of his life. His weapon is the typewriter. Larry, you don't have to like it, but I cannot fathom how you can't see the poetry in his words. I think Bukowski is one of the greatest poets of his time for this- making art out of the dirty realities of his life. The Birds is one of my favorites. (Report) Reply

  • (7/25/2009 3:49:00 AM)

    Everything he writes shines like the morning star. (Report) Reply

  • (7/21/2009 11:34:00 AM)

    What speaks to me here is the title. Bukowski's machine gun is his typewriter. Those who are old enough to remember that sound will agree that the short, angry, staccado, bursts are the only plausible response to the invasiveness of every senseation reaching your brain as you emerge from who knows what nightmarish four day alcohol soaked cuckoon you have spun for yourself this time. (Report) Reply

  • (3/13/2009 2:17:00 AM)

    Kudos to brian. Larry deserves a slap in the face(Moron) . You missed the boat man. It is these 'boring' days that define who we really are. Nothing is particularly wrong with escapism, it's necessary at times, but to say that is what defines poetry is an idiotic statement sir. Poetry has no definition. None that i will recognize anyways. Every man's everyday is different from our own, and in its own way, it is art. (Report) Reply

  • (11/27/2008 9:33:00 PM)

    Why do we need to have the everyday described to us? It's boring. If anything it's poetry that should be the escapism. There literally is nothing poetic about this. His language here is not used for its aesthetic or evocative qualities past its apparent meaning. It could have been written as a paragraph. Clearly the ramblings of a drunken fool.
    Maybe I'm being harsh on the guy.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/30/2008 7:42:00 PM)

    <- Does not agree with Ryan.
    Thats like saying you have to be able to count Banyon Trees home to understand Hemmingway, who was also quite intese, and also at ime dry as salt
    I get Bukowski and I'm a saint when it comes to drink and the common Alchie.
    He's just a realist... Perhaps a drunk but not for me to judge on mend. The cats got style in a way that those who wrk at it never quit tee of on.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/25/2008 2:47:00 PM)

    I think you have to be a true alcoholic to understand the intensity of this. (Report) Reply

  • (9/22/2007 8:23:00 PM)

    I disagree...
    I think what he's done here is... he's taken the mundane and just pressed the 'enter' key in the middle of sentences a few times and then called it poetry. Nothing really poetic about it at all really, other than the fact its called poetry.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/19/2007 7:52:00 PM)

    The beauty of his writing here is he takes the mundane and makes it fascinating.

    'maybe I'd better write something tonight,
    they all seem
    to be closing in.'

    He finds liberation through writing.
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: power, hair, water, people, pain, god, night

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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