Jul 17, 2012

Bukowski on the movies

in and out of the dark

my wife likes movie houses, the popcorn and soft drinks, the 
settling into seats, she finds a child's delight in 
this and I am happy for her---but really, I myself, I must have
come from another place, I must have been a mole in another 
life, something that burrowed and hid alone:
the other people crowded in the seats, near and far, give me
feelings that I dislike; it's stupid, maybe, but there it
is; and then
there's the darkness and then the 
giant human faces, bodies, that move about on the screen, they
speak and we 
of one hundred movies there's one that's fair, one that's good 
and ninety eight that are very bad. 
most movies start badly and steadily 
get worse;
if you can believe the actions and speech of 
the characters 
you might even believe that the popcorn you chew also
has a meaning of 
(well, it might be that people see so many movies
that when they finally see one not 
so bad as the others, they think it's 
great. an Academy Award means that you don't stink 
quite as much as your cousin.)
the movie ends and we are out in the street, moving 
toward the car; "well," says my wife, "it wasn't as
 good as they say."
"no," I say, "it wasn't."
"there were a few good parts, though," she replies.
"yeah," I answer.
we are at the car, get in, then I am driving us out 
of that part of town; we look around at the night;
the night looks good.
"you hungry?" she asks.
"yes. you?" 
we stop at a signal; I watch the red light;
I could eat that red light---anything, anything at  
all to fill the void; millions of dollars spent to create
something more terrible then the actual lives of
most living things; one should never have to pay an 
admission to hell.
the light changes and we escape, 

[from The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992), Black Sparrow Press


  1. I had never, néver in all my life pictured Bukowski as a married man. Perhaps because I feel related, although I only read one of his books (Post-Office). I must read more of him! Thanks.

  2. You must read more of him now that you know he's been a married man? Hmmm....

  3. No, I know I confused you. I was confused myself. The two statements had nothing to do with each other. I was surprised by the fact that he was married... and on a totally unrelated note I think I should read more of him, because every time I see a bit if him I like it. I hear he wrote lots of poetry too, but I have never seen it. I only read books I find in my local charity shops you see. They're cheap and you can find everything you might ever want if you've got the patience to search for them. But no, I'm not a big fan of marriage. Not at all.

  4. charity shops, the earthly oasises of protestant paradise...

  5. Even for the atheist (or humanist) paradise! In this country, we have a lot of them, mostly as work places for handicapped people. They are the best.