Poet I Like

I recently came across a poet whose work I really like:  Charles Bukowski.  I realized that my style of poetry is very similar to his.

From Wikipedia:

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.[4] His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City.[5][6]

In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”.[7] Regarding Bukowski’s enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, “the secret of Bukowski’s appeal. . . [is that] he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”[8]

Here are a few poems to give you a taste of his writing style:

Alone with Everybody

The flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

Be Kind

We are always asked
to understand the other person’s
viewpoint
no matter how
out-dated
foolish or
obnoxious.

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
with
kindliness,
especially if they are
aged.

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
badly
because they have
lived
out of focus,
they have refused to
see.

not their fault?

whose fault?
mine?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
fear.

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life

among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives

is.

Consummation of Grief

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines. . .
it matters little
very little love is not so bad
or very little life
what counts
is waiting on walls
I was born for this
I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.

Decline

naked along the side of the house,
8 a.m., spreading sesame seed oil
over my body, Jesus, have I come
to this?
I once battled in dark alleys for a
laugh.
now I’m not laughing.
I splash myself with oil and wonder,
how many years do you want?
how many days?
my blood is soiled and a dark
angel sits in my brain.
things are made of something and
go to nothing.
I understand the fall of cities, of
nations.
a small plane passes overhead.
I look upward as if it made sense to
look upward.
it’s true, the sky has rotted:
it won’t be long for any of
us.

Washington National Cathedral

On February 3, 2016, I was given the opportunity through one of my Meetup groups to photograph the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  We were given special access to photograph the part of the Cathedral that is normally not open to the public during tours.  During what they called “Seeing Deeper”, they removed the 2,000 chairs that are normally in the church.  From their pamphlet:

“We draw from the medieval tradition of cathedrals where there were
no chairs, and the vast open space served different human needs and
activities.  Worship took place at the high altar and the rest of the
space was used for community gatherings – merchants selling goods,
people sharing ideas and taking shelter, pilgrims seeking spiritual
strength and solace – it was sort of a medieval community center and
indoor town square.  ‘Seeing Deeper’ offers an opportunity to simply be
in the empty space, to be enveloped by sacred music, to consider
important issues of our day, to pray…”

There were other groups there to photograph the space, so sometimes having someone in your shot was unavoidable.  I decided to leave the people in my shots instead of removing them in Photoshop because it helps demonstrate how vast the space is.  Here are my chosen shots:

middletwo

middle

lotsofwindows

five

fivecolumns

fivewindows

ceiling

singlewindow