Somebody dig this man up from his grave and slap him across his rotten face, tell him enough with the horse track poems, tell him they’re bad, real bad! They’re real bad, Hank, if I have to read another line about you at the track I’m gonna jump right outta my third story window and aim for my fucking head!
But the rest of “Dangling in the Tournefortia” is great. The rest reminds me of conversations I’ve had with lesser people, including my own self in the dead of empty night sometimes long ago and far away, sometimes more recent, like yesterday morning as I was dancing drunk in my robe listening to Jim Morrison yappin’ away about some wasp thing.
I’ve got this first edition of the book, the one published in 1981, and the pages still smell like an antique store. I should probably do some research into what causes old books to smell like this, the scent reminds me of everything good in life, and most of the poems on these pages do too, even the sad ones. Because sadness is good, hey, it really is good to be sad sometimes. A friend of mine and I talked about the book for a little while, and as usual we pretty much agreed almost entirely about it. He recommended I pick up “Roominghouse Madrigals”, which I’m looking forward to starting soon. Thanks, Patrick, ya cunt. That’s right Patrick Moore, I’m calling you out by name! Sidenote: Patrick also has a cat named Hank and I’ve considered it a direct assault on my sense of individuality for as long as I’ve been aware of this factoid. Fuck you, Patrick. Fuck you and your “Hank”. He isn’t real. He’s a goddamn impostor.
Reading more of Buk’s poetry got me thinkin’. I’ve read a good handful of his books. Probably at least seven thousand of them, but none of his posthumous works because that’s about the only motherfucking sin I’m not ever willing to commit (all you motherfuckers behind releasing his unpublished words after the old man croaked should be ashamed of yourselves). All these words of his, not just in this book, but in most of Hank’s poetry, there lies an underlying theme of fighting even when the fight looks like it’s gonna take you down. Even if you look like a total retarded maniac while taking hits to the face and it’s obvious there’s no way to topple over the hideous giant in front of you. I thought about my own writing. All the projects I started last year, and some earlier this year. Some of these projects I swept under the carpet, losing interest in them myself for one reason or another. Earlier this year, I took on one of them, the prequel to last year’s novella “MERCY”. It began as a simple story of the two chief characters from the novella, telling the story of how they met, etc. etc. Basic stuff. And it was good, in my head. I titled it “Sovereignty”, and mapped out a backdrop having something but very little to do with Manifestation Destiny, a connection to native american tribes of the past, and crazy mining tycoons digging for a mineral that could reverse death, so to speak. As mentioned before, I lost interest. I started writing another novel. I lost interest in that, started writing another novel. And it went on. Recently, however, I took on “Sovereignty” and told myself it was a story that absolutely had to be told, and not because I’m some indie author that truly believes thousands of people will sit down and read it, but because I needed to tell it. It was about more than just Rancid Mahoney and Til Drange meeting. It was about more than just a crazy mining tycoon and a few tribes of native american descendants seeking revenge for the atrocities of the past. I picked up the pages again, and finished the son of a bitch. “Sovereignty” died, rotted away, and stayed dead for a while. But I remembered Bukowski, the fight, the hits, and the determination of the monster that he was. And I brought the literary bastard back to life, finished the book, and re-titled it appropriately: “Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain”. In all the years of writing, I’d never felt that accomplished. So I decided maybe I should go back to the literary fetuses of the past, and start really chippin’ away at them, at least for as long as I can, or for as long as this pandemic allows me to still breathe.
So really, this is more or less an elongated blog rambling about my current writing projects. There are several, which may take a few years to complete, or maybe I’ll drop dead one day and nothing will come of my efforts. I’ve set aside the poet in me, simply because for the time being, that side of me has died. I’ve tried to sit down and conjure a poem, and wrote two that could be good poems, but in the end it’s the writer that has to decide that. I can’t take myself seriously enough to write another poem for the foreseeable future, and that may very well change one day, but for now I’ll be focusing strictly on prose. Novels. Novellas. Short stories, etc. I can’t even drink an entire bottle of whiskey and write a poetic thought the same way I used to, so something has changed there but I’m not entirely sad about it. I can still drink and I can still write, so long as I have those two abilities, I don’t think I’ll need to be committed (hopefully).
First up on the list is a novel I’d hoped to have finished by now, originally titled “A Handle on Life”, and then “Hard Luck”, and then, and currently, “Buffalo Nights at Glassbrook Estates”, a story about a retired boxer wrestling with the end of his life while those around him wrestle with their own problems. I stopped writing it a few months ago to finish up the “MERCY” prequel, and had written about a hundred and fifty pages, so there’s at least a small foundation to continue the building. The story takes places over a time span of several years, so I’m projecting to have this one be my big release of 2021(probably the only one depending on how the other projects go). So while my last post had something to do with mentally projecting my declining love for Bukowski, this one is more in the vein of thanking him for giving me a little hope in the view of finishing off incomplete projects. So, here’s to the good fight.