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Page 2-Sunday, March 23,1980-The Michigan Daily
The Michigan Daily-Sunday
Bukowski's sentimental jot
through France and Germ
> I Ift
By David Masello
SHAKESPEARE NEVER DID THIS
By Charles Bukowski
City Lights Books
$6.95, text and photos
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Alone in my room
I hear you
telling me to close the door.
I know it's so I won't hear you
The slamming car door
informs me -
your perfect crime
no longer perfect
you must be able to see
a pale stain
on the dark window.
Watching you go
Waiting behind a closed door
with a noise in my head
I whispered songs into the dark room,
C HARLES BUKOWSKI is convinced
that his poetry readings can cause
"flash floods," "violent tornadoes,"
and the gathering of flocks of "hungry
vultures." Fortunately it is safe to hear
about those readingsthrough his latest
book, Shakespeare Never Did This.
In this glossy paper-bound volume,
Bukowski recounts a five-day poetry-
reading tour of France and Germany,
where the cafe waiters, hotel cham-
bermaids and subway attendants all
know and love him. As a former beat
poet--along the lines of Ginsberg and
Burroughs-Bukowski's reputation in
the States has slackened em-
barrasssingly. But in Europe, unlike
our own country, people from all walks
of life are exposed to poetry. Bukowski,
in these ramblings, is supposed to be
the American writer. (The poet suspec-
ts all along that he is being mistaken for
Norman Mailer. But as seems his
customary solution, Bukowski spends
the book drinking these problems
The book itself does not act as poetry.
In the twenty-five short sections which
often verge on prose poetry, Bukowski
manages to bitch about European
plumbing, brag about his ability to
drink, occasionally show his sexist
beliefs and make the smallest, most
common everyday things in life
beautiful. He admits that he has no in-
terests, so instead he raises the sim-
plest, yet most obscure things to a sense
of poetry: ,
How can a man who is inter-
ested in almost nothing write
about anything? Well, I do. I
write and I write about what's
left over: a stray dog walking
down the street. . . the thoughts
and feelings of a rapist as he
bites into a hamburger sand-
wich; life in the factory, life in
the streets and rooms of the
poor and mutilated and the
In simply listing these things he has
There is no need for more descrip-
TrHERE ARE times, though, when
, he lets himself go in the style of
a true beat poet. He doesn't worry
about organization of ideas and images
in a literal sense, for they are written
down as they- exist inside of
While drunk one night in Germany he
goes into his hotel bathroom and
screams for half an hour about the mor-
tality that blackbirds, watermelons,
dogs, frogs, houses, whores and fish
Dave Mqsello is a senior majoring in
English at the University.
As I got closer to the. stage the crowd began to recognize
me. "Bukowski! Bukowski!" I was beginning to believe that I was
Bukowski. I had to do it. As I hit the wood I felt something run
through me. My fear left. I sat down, reached into the cooler and un-
corked a bottle of that good German white wine. I lit a Bidi. I tasted
the wine, pulled my poems and books out'of the satchel. I was calm at
last. I had done it 80 times before. It was all right. I found the mike.
"Hello," I said, "it's good to be back."
It had taken me 54 years.
A thin young German boy ran up to the stage and said,
"Bukowski, you fat bastard, you swine, you dirty old man, I hate
That always helped relax me. It took the holiness out of poetry.
There were many like the thin young German in America.
I had another glass of wine and looked at him as he kept
screaming at me. I had always said, when you get them to hating you
then you know you are doing your job well.
is able to
the poet ti
to his birt
year old g
tHe is said a
the notion a
all have to face. His girl friend, Linda,
who accompanies him throughout the
trip, is apparently used to these things
and manages to get him back to sleep.
It's when Bukowski's tough-guy
facade sloughs away that we really like
him; it's then we see his sensitivity, his
perception, his ability to love. At a
reading at a German university the
poet admits that he usually vomits in
fear before each reading. For this per-
formance, however, he hasn't the time,
so he's forced to empty two bottles of
wine for comfort. Then, in saying good-
bye to his German hosts, Bukowski
to have such friends is to be
forever pulled from the mouth
of the shark and makes the,
small quiet human things far
more miraculous than the dead
cathedrals. When you care,
this (leaving) is one of the sad-
dest events of life and living.
He is fascinated by the eyes of a
group of German boys and the film they
show him about a gorilla, "Koko," who
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Junior Karla Hafner is an occasionally rude, reckless,
crude and feckless poet who is majoring in English at
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