Come on in, p.1
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       Come on In!, p.1

           Charles Bukowski
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Come on In!

  Edited by John Martin

  These poems are part of an archive of unpublished work that Charles Bukowski left to be published after his death.

  Grateful acknowledgment is made to John Martin, who edited these poems.


  I live near the


  and am ill

  with thriving.

  come on in!

  nothing but a scarf

  literary chitchat

  this machine is a fountain

  200 years


  Coronado Street: 1954

  a vision

  cut-rate drugstore: 4:30 p.m.

  you can’t tell a turkey by its feathers

  too early!

  the green Cadillac

  I’m not all-knowing but …

  in the clubhouse

  a famished orphan sits somewhere in the mind

  form letter

  first family

  a real thing, a good woman

  a child’s bedtime story

  working out in Hades


  lousy mail

  from the Dept. of English

  and poems have too

  poets to the rescue

  red hot mail

  some personal thoughts

  he’s a dog


  my Mexican buddy

  strangers at the racetrack

  will you tiptoe through the tulips with me?

  the novel life

  thanks for your help

  I have continued regardless


  moving toward the dark

  the real thing

  she looked at me and asked,

  did you?

  did you?

  did you?

  on the cuff

  alone again

  fooling Marie (the poem)

  the copulation blues

  the faithful wife

  once in a while

  another high-roller

  the fucking horses

  hello there!

  the fuck-master

  my personal psychologist


  her guy

  dead poet’s wife

  scrambled legs

  endless love

  down and out on the boardwalk

  sex sister

  to the ladies no longer here

  the nude dancer

  Ma Barker loves me

  here we go again

  do you believe that a man can be taught to write?

  hail and farewell


  it’s a lonely world

  of frightened people.

  a note upon modern poesy

  the end of an era

  Paris in the spring

  alone in this chair

  talking about the poets

  was Li Po wrong?


  a note from Hades in the mailbox

  on the sunny banks of the university

  vacation in Greece

  the spill

  the last salamander

  learning the ropes

  bombed away

  the swimming pool will be going here

  a bright boy

  my turn


  a close call

  like a rock

  the waitress at the yogurt shop

  one out in the minor leagues

  the little girls hissed

  I dreamt

  the old couple next door

  men without women

  the “Beats”

  hurry slowly

  hello and goodbye

  I will never have

  a house in the valley

  with little stone men

  on the lawn.

  don’t call me, I’ll call you

  taking the 8 count

  going going gone

  this is where they come for what’s left of your soul

  hot night

  the x-bum

  something cares

  my cats

  6:30 a.m.

  what I need

  gender benders

  after many nights

  good morning, how are you?

  a reader of my work

  Sumatra Cum Laude

  the disease of existence

  another comeback

  two nights before my 72nd birthday

  have we come to this?

  old poem


  closing time

  no leaders, please

  everything hurts


  my song



  twilight musings

  mind and heart


  I live near the


  and am ill

  with thriving.

  come on in!

  welcome to my wormy hell.

  the music grinds off-key.

  fish eyes watch from the wall.

  this is where the last happy shot was


  the mind snaps closed

  like a mind snapping


  we need to discover a new will and a new


  we’re stuck here now

  listening to the laughter of the


  my temples ache with the fact of

  the facts.

  I get up, move about, scratch


  I’m a pawn.

  I am a hungry prayer.

  my wormy hell welcomes you.

  hello. hello there. come in, come on in!

  plenty of room here for us all,


  we can only blame ourselves so

  come sit with me in the dark.

  it’s half-past



  nothing but a scarf

  long ago, oh so long ago, when

  I was trying to write short stories

  and there was one little magazine which printed

  decent stuff

  and the lady editor there usually sent me

  encouraging rejection slips

  so I made a point to

  read her monthly magazine in the public


  I noticed that she began to feature

  the same writer

  for the lead story each

  month and

  it pissed me off because I thought that I could

  write better than that


  his work was facile and bright but it had no


  you could tell that he had never had his nose rubbed into

  life, he had just

  glided over it.

  next thing I knew, this ice-skater-of-a-writer was


  he had begun as a copy boy

  on one of the big New York


  (how the hell do you get one of those


  then he began appearing in some of the best

  ladies’ magazines

  and in some of the respected literary


  then after a couple of early books

  out came a little volume, a sweet

  novelette, and he was truly


  it was a tale about high society and

  a young girl and it was

  delightful and charming and just a bit


  Hollywood quickly made a movie out of

  then the writer bounced around Hollywood

  from party to party

  for a few years.

  I saw his photo again and again:

  a little elf-man with huge


  and he always wore a long dramatic


  but soon he went back to New York and to all the

  parties there.

  he went to every important party thereafter for years

  and to

  some that weren’t very


  then he stopped writing altogether and just went

  to parties.

  he drank or doped himself into oblivion almost

  every night.

  his once slim frame more than doubled in


  his face grew heavy and he no longer looked

  like the young boy with the quick and dirty

  wit but more like an

  old frog.

  the scarf was still on display but his hats were

  too large and came down almost to his


  all you noticed was his




  the society ladies still liked to drag him

  around New York

  one on each arm


  drinking like he did, he didn’t live

  to enjoy his old age.


  he died

  and was quickly


  until somebody found what they claimed was his secret

  diary / novel

  and then all the famous people in

  New York were very


  and they should have been worried because when it

  was published

  out came all the dirty


  but I still maintain that he never really did know how to

  write; just what and

  when and about


  slim, thin


  ever so long ago, after reading

  one of his short stories,

  after dropping the magazine to the floor,

  I thought,

  Jesus Christ, if this is what they


  from now on

  I might as well write for

  the rats and the spiders

  and the air and just for


  which, of course, is exactly what

  I did.

  literary chitchat

  my friend Tom, he liked to come over

  and he’d say, “let’s go get a coffee.”

  and my girlfriend would say, “you guys

  going to talk that literary stuff again?”

  and we’d go to this place where you paid

  for your first coffee and all the refills were


  and we’d get a seat by the window and he

  would begin:

  Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Dos

  Passos mainly but others got in there

  too: e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, Dreiser,

  Jeffers, Céline and so forth.

  although I will admit I was mostly a

  listener and wondered what he was

  really getting at, if anything, I

  continued to listen and

  drink coffee after


  once he said, “look, I’ll take you to the

  place Fitzgerald stayed at for a while

  during his Hollywood period.”

  “all right,” I said and we got into his

  car and he drove me there and pointed

  it out:

  “Fitzgerald lived there.”

  “all right,” I said and then he drove us

  back for more coffee.

  Tom was truly excited about these

  literary figures of the past.

  I was too, to an extent,

  but as Tom talked on and on about


  and the coffees continued unabated

  my interest began to wane, more than


  I began to want to get rid of


  it was easy.

  one day I wrote a poem about Tom

  and it was published and he read


  and after that

  we enjoyed no more coffees


  Tom had been working on a

  biography of me

  and that ended that.

  then another writer came along

  and he drank my wine

  and didn’t talk about Hemingway,

  Fitzgerald, Faulkner, etc.,

  he talked about himself

  and ended up writing a not-very-

  satisfactory biography

  of me.

  I should have stuck with Tom.

  no, I should have gotten rid of

  both of them.

  which is exactly what I have


  this machine is a fountain

  my system is always the same:

  keep it loose

  write a great number of


  try with all your

  heart and

  don’t worry about the



  keep it going

  keep it


  forget about immortality

  if you ever



  the sound of this machine is


  much paper

  more desire.


  hammer away and wait for lady


  what a


  200 years

  hunched over this white sheet of paper

  at 4 in the afternoon. I

  received a letter from a young poet this morning

  informing me that I was one of the most

  important writers of the last

  200 years.

  well, now, one can’t believe that

  especially if one has felt as I have

  this past month,

  walking about,


  surely I am going crazy,

  and then thinking,

  I can’t write


  and then I remember the factories,

  the production lines,

  the warehouses,

  the time clocks,

  overtime and layoffs

  and flirtations with the Mexican girls

  on the assembly line;

  each day everything was carefully planned,

  there was always something to do,

  there was more than enough to do,

  and if you didn’t keep up,

  if you weren’t clever and swift and


  you were out with the sparrows and

  the bums.

  writing’s different, you’re floating out there in the

  white air, you’re hanging from the high-wire,

  you’re sitting up in a tree and they’re working at

  the trunk with a power

  saw …

  there’s no silk scarf about one’s neck,

  no English accent,

  no remittance checks from aristocratic ladies in Europe

  with blind and impotent


  it’s more like a fast hockey game

  or putting on the gloves with a man

  50 pounds heavier and ten years

  younger, or

  it’s like steering a ship through the fog

  with a mad damsel clinging to your


nd all along you know you’ve gotten away

  with some quite obvious stuff, that

  you’ve been given undeserved credit, for stuff

  that you either wrote offhand or

  hardly meant or hardly cared


  well, it helps to be


  yet, on the other hand, you have sometimes

  done it as you always knew it should

  be done, and you knew then that it was

  as good as it could be done,

  and that maybe you had done it better,

  in a way,

  than anybody else had done it for a long time


  you allowed yourself to feel

  good about that

  for a moment or


  they put the pressure on you

  with statements about 200 years,

  and when only one individual says it, that’s all


  but when 2 or 3 or 4 say it—

  that’s when they tend to open the door to a

  kookoo bin.

  they tell you to give up cigarettes and

  booze, and then they tell you that you

  have 25 more good years ahead of you and


  perhaps ten more years to enjoy your old


  as you suck on

  the rewards and


  Patchen’s gone, we need you, man,

  we all need you for that

  good feeling just above the

  belly button—

  knowing that you are there in some small room in

  northern California writing poems and

  killing flies with a torn


  they can kill you,

  the praisers can kill you,

  the young girls can kill you,

  as the blue-eyed boys in English depts.

  who send warm letters


  on lined paper

  can kill you,

  and they’re all correct:

  2 packs a day and the bottle

  can kill you


  of course,

  anything can kill you

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