Stop Drinking, Drinking, Drinking . . .

and I see girls in orange and blue
walking the sidewalks
and I see cars chasing down
some distance,
and I see a grey-haired woman
dumping slops
(this is more than literary “soup”).
and I am listening to Tschaikovsky
the gadfest of the soul
stuck up and starched
and spoken through;
I see the fish of the land
hooked into fires;
I see Love driving a busfull
of golden idiots;
I see you now
sitting on a stump
and daubing a blackbird land
with the hard rouge
of your tubes; (and Frost:
I wrote this before he died
and it came back to me,
perhaps rightfully),
I see Frost dribbling over his poems,
humble in popular reverence;
and I see the ships
the ships going out again
followed by halo-circles
of gulls,
and I am tired of the sun,
the sun has been spoken
along with the stars into
a pickle jar of brine
along with the pickles
and the enemies of my good friend
and I see them climbing and falling,
I see them riding bicycles,
I see the doctor’s stethoscope
crawling like a snake;
I see February, I see March,
I see the bombs which have blown
the world to hell,
I see the bullets that snapped through
peanut butter sandwiches and Plato
through the shades of an unpaid room
and took my buddy out
like a rotten tooth;
and I see the fakes
fat as slugs in a fancy land,
and I see the rebels:
men who haggle over the price of
streetcar tokens;
and I see April and I see May
(London Bridges all fall down!)
and I see you painting your land,
your father’s land, your grandfather’s land,
your old dog, your old love,
and Spring and Winter
and one more love, one more death
will rinse us dry;
and I am cold and light the stove,
and I see June and July,
I see the crowd rushing into the waves,
and the sun is out of his jar
(didn’t I just put him there?)
and a hot dog means more than
any Khru or Kenny freezing hard dreams
within the Siberia of the mind;
what do you WANT me to see?
mammon or sparrow-grass?
Cippus or chippy?
I will paint you anything,
buy you anything,
beg in the streets
for tomorrow’s edition of the New York Times;
I will visit Grant’s tomb,
I will drink anything you put before me;
but what I see
what I see
is not so good,
although I see August and September,–
I was born August and in thereof
the 16th. day,
and when I will die,
it’s 8 to 1 on the morning line
there’ll be nobody calling for the bones,
and, if you’ll excuse the pun,:
no mourning line;
and I remember, speaking of bones,
that I took anatomy once
(Christ, don’t ask me why)
I even have a book on it
by Prof. Jeno Barcsay,
Budapesh Academy of Fine Arts,
and this girl,
this model
was standing for us,
and God, she was proud of her BODY,
a something all of us have,
full of shit and intestine and blood,
and if we’re lucky: fire.
anyhow, while she’s standing there
the instructor pulled the skeleton
out of the closet, and standing it next to her,
pointed out the similarities;
well, I wasn’t much of a student,
I missed the lesson
because I was watching the girl’s face
and she was dying
she was dead forever,
she was the same as I,
and later over a cup of coffee
I learned her name:
Jeanette, and now Jeanette is
really dead
and I am waiting to be dead,
but she wrote me several times
from Denver
telling me that I was an artist,
a real artist,
and stop drinking drinking drinking,
and although the world is not beautiful,
it was not the way I said;
but I was wrong, Jeanette:
the world is beautiful
and you are dead;
and I see October and November,
what do you want me to see?
a HARPER’S BAZAAR on the table?
would you like to have your palms warmed
with dollar bills or breasts?
Don’t bother me, please.   I get letters from
halfway around the world
from professors and bums and whores
but I can’t answer many of them
and even though they may think me a punk,
when you’re nailed down
to making songs out of sores
there’s little time to lick a stamp
especially when the landlady’s tough
and the grey comes down
over your ears
in avalanches of warning
and I see December, the worst month,
the almost useless month,
making red redder, shitting gifts,
like chilli peppers in your eggs,
but I got a radio last year
and I received two cards
so I’m not doing bad,
I’m not doing bad at all,
and somebody said
they were mailing some of my poems
to Pound,
so what the hell.
And I’m looking out the window now:
the sky’s grey, I’m 2 wives down;
but mostly, I think
I’m out of drinks
and I’ll go down to this Jew
who really likes me
(I don’t blame him; and, Jesus, now, don’t call me
an “anti-semite;” I’ll give you more pleasure:
I’m anti-everything, even myself, even if the world,
she is beautiful)
and I’ll mail this on the way; it’s a little long
but those prose bastards take their time,
and what’s prose got against poetry
except Guy in his rowboat and Chek and and and . . .
and what’ve you got against ME
not to hand this to the printer?
I don’t bed for bread or fame,
but it seems to me
far as poetry goes
poetry’s sick,
and if you’ve got to shake the printer and the profs, Karl . . .
Karl? Are you still there?
all right, shake ’em.
But I’ll always remember the years
I spent down on the end stool
but only another job gone
trees blown down in the dark,
and who can say
or who wants to, but mainly
while T. S. licks his palms
and Floyd done his steel gloves
for another go
at Ingo,
I need more beer and music and wine;
and Barbara, when you paint it in,
MIX your paints as we’ve all told you,
Van Gogh’s dead and Jeanette’s dead
and Hemingway’s dying under an assumed name
in some hospital,
paint in everything.
not just your father’s land
or your grandfather’s land
or the seven lakes
or the wild turkey
or the Saturday night boardwalk
WHAT a dismal sound,
paint sound in his castle
and Buk two wives down,
and the way they run for the waves,
and all the Novembers
and all the drinks
and the crazy horses beat to death
for a tote-board feast;
and all the Novembers
not tomorrow but November,
not November
not anything,
and now I’m going down these steps
past the landlady
with my sin,
and I’m not always this way,
and I don’t always talk this loose
(I once wrote a sonnet to Shelley, I think)
but I’m tired
and I won’t even close it out
because enough fakirs have danced enough snakes,
and you — my Snake —
I toss away my flute
like an empty beercan, go,
crawl away from me,
back to stuffy Shakespeare or Stendhal,
or to your dame,
great suffering livid fleshy dame
with panties that could fit your balls
fourthousandtimes over,
or better yet,
skip to Vegas
to a rolling and a living
well, I’ve tried to glorify your metal roots,
to rearrange
like sick dying flowers in a vase,
spads gone with Harlow,
moonlight sick with Russian halloweens,
I’m going to take time
what I
a second-by-second
nightmare . . . as God spits down,
and I need his spit,
I even need his shit . . .
and I lick the flap, ‘n
Jesus, Jesus, what glue!
(and your hurrahs are as outdated
as that knobby hand upon the knee
of your knobby blonde, good night,
sour slave!)

Charles Bukowski