Luke something: something

His reputation as a highbrow lowlife literary man has probably influenced my writing, but I've read very little of Charles Bukowski. Just a handful of his poems — enough to know they're better than the dreck most people pass off as poetry.


March 8, 2022

I saw the movie Barfly, a Bukowski biopic, and enjoyed it, with some misgivings. It had some lines, though, and some moments that delivered, so finally it was time to face the real Bukowski, not the movie version.

Warming up to the task, I read a few more of his poems, and the rawness of his observations had a right hook reality that I liked. Bukowski could poem. 

He wrote novels, too, well reviewed and widely acclaimed, so I checked out his first from the library. It's called Post Office, and it has Buke's alter-ego Henry Chinaski working as a substitute mail carrier. He hates his boss, delivers the mail, and gets drunk a lot. The book hadn't yet really grabbed me, but it was amusing, and the reader wonders what that damned drunk is going to do next.

Well, what that damned drunk does next is, he rapes a woman on his postal route. It's not even ambiguous. It's just chapter 14, Bukowski rapes a woman.

"Rape! Rape! I'm being raped!"

She was right. I got her pants down, unzipped my fly…

And there I closed the book on Buke.

There are almost no limits to what's art, in my mind, so I'm not saying he's not a great writer, not shouting to take books off shelves, but I will say, Fuck you, Charles Bukowski. I've never before read fiction where I'm supposed to sympathize with a rapist protagonist, read about rape from an unapologetic rapist's perspective, and I can't and won't.

It's what's called an 'autobiographical novel', so the scene probably isn't fictional.

I'll still respect the writing, but I can respect it without reading any more of it.

And I'm remembering that some years back, someone tried to insult me by saying my lowlife writing was "OK but not Bukowski." Maybe that stung a little then, but today it's a compliment.

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In a closet we'd ignored, I found a few unopened packages from around when my wife died, circa 2018. That wasn't an easy time, and some things got shoved aside.

I scissored the packages open, and they were books and clothes that we'd ordered and forgotten, but one package amazed me. It's a t-shirt we definitely never ordered.

On the t-shirt, silk-screened in large lettering, is a Bible reference — Luke something: something. No, I didn't look up the verse to see what it said, because that's the whole point of why the mystery sender sent it — they wanted me to look up the verse. Hell no and kiss my ass. 

Instead I tossed the shirt into a box for Goodwill, and then reconsidered, and plopped it into the trash.

The more I thought about it, though, the more it pissed me off. How much does someone not know me at all, or disrespect everything they do know about me, to imagine I'd wear a t-shirt with a Bible reference on it?

There was no card, no note indicating who it's from. The return address is just a store. I'm guessing it was purchased by my very-Christian brother, or maybe my almost-as-Christian brother, or my very-Christian mother. I wouldn't send them an Anton LaVey t-shirt, but maybe I should.

Whoever sent this 'gift' four years ago has never asked about it, and never better, because my patience for such crap is at an end. Family, please note: I'm moving, and soon I'll be living much nearer to y'all, but under my rules. No Bible t-shirts, damn it.

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When Stephanie & I lived in Kansas City circa 2001, we bought two air conditioners when we couldn't afford even one. We were new to the city, and it was 105° outside, maybe hotter inside.

Steph found money in the budget for one air conditioner, for the bedroom, so we could possibly sleep. She found it at a sale price, and since we didn't have a car, our plan was to bus to the store, buy the air conditioner, and then call a cab to get it home.

Steph being Steph, she had a better idea. In a different aisle of the same store, she found a handtruck we couldn't afford either, but we bought both the a/c and the handtruck.

We rolled it home on the sidewalk and on the bus, wired it into the window, turned it on, and… whoosh, it worked gloriously. We sat our sweaty selves in front of the cool blasting air, and in an hour or so the bedroom was livable.

Next day we did it again — went into debt buying a second air conditioner, so we could watch TV and read the newspaper in the apartment's living room.

We used those air conditioners all summer, every summer for our three years in KC. Brought them with us when we moved to Madison, but never used them again, since our apartment here has built-in a/c.

The handtruck, though, comes in handy all the time. We've used it at least once every month since buying it, and now I'm using it all day every day, rolling stuff to the dumpster, to the car for Goodwill, and moving furniture out of the way. Yesterday that same handtruck bounced those same air conditioners up the stairs, and into the room I've set aside for stuff so big or bulky or heavy they'll need to be professionally hauled away.

Maybe it doesn't seem like rocket science, but buying a handtruck was an idea that never occurred to me, and probably never would've. Like every smart thing we ever did (maybe including this move to Seattle) it was her idea.

Thanks for the handtruck, Steph, among a million other memories and moments and smiles and brilliant ideas, and everything else.

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My posts have become a chronicle of packing for the move, which probably makes boring reading. I'd rather be writing almost anything else, but this is my life right now. My back hurts, and my writing hurts.

I'm hoping my back and the blog will both be better in a month or two, when the move is over and there's a different view out a different window. 

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And now, news and amusements, from my internet history for yesterday…  

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When did you last clean bug splatter off your windshield? 

It's not just a silly question. When I was a kid, even a half-hour drive in the country left your windshield a mess. These days, not at all.

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Do Republicans know what communism is? 

No. For right-wingers it's just an insult.

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What the hell is The New York Sun? I was lured to its website by a headline about some white-collar criminal's time in prison, but there's no way to read the article except by buying a subscription, and subscribing is fairly expensive. I don't see the business logic of it. Who's going to pay minimum $120 p/year for a publication, sight unseen? 

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Some of Lou Reed's music wasn't to my liking, sure, but he never made anything simply excruciating. It took Brian Eno to accomplish that. 

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Motorola latest to abandon pledge not to give to Sedition Caucus 

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Russian war on Ukraine could threaten global food supply 

While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55% since a week before the invasion amid concerns over what could happen. If the war is a protracted one, countries that rely on affordable wheat exports from Ukraine could face shortages starting in July, International Grains Council director Arnaud Petit told the Associated Press.

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Critically Ill-equipped:
Hospital understaffing is not just a pandemic problem 

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Britain is trying to 'control' porn 

Does that make you feel secure? Are you happy having details of what porn you watch shared with whoever they decide to sell their assets to?

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


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♫♬  Sing along with Doug 
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The End
Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. > Do Republicans know what communism is?
    > No. For right-wingers it's just an insult.

    Communist or socialist just means 'Democrat' I think. Republicans are not big on reality or the meaning of words.

  2. I am also not amused by Brian eno destroying Lou Reed. WTF and why are so many people in the comments there saying its great?

    1. Hi Shannon,

      If Eno could do THIS he would, but he tried with Roxy Music and couldn't come close. The comments on a Brian Eno video are by Eno fans. They enjoy the noise they enjoy, so let them chirp loudly.

      But, as Letterman says, "This is all you need, folks, when it comes to rock & roll."



    2. Shannon — I've heard of Eno and heard Eno and even *like* Eno's "Golden Hours," but what he's doing in that link is like a plunger in a plugged potty.

      Dr John — You have chosen perhaps my favorite Lou Reed song, and Mr Letterman was correct. The studio version of "Sweet Jane" has been on my perpetual playlist for fifty years. It's one of the first records I bought, and I still remember the day it shattered.

      I have a friend who's nuts for The Simpsons, and for almost any topic that comes up, he can whip out a Simpsons clip that's pertinent (and funny). He's so quick with the Simpsons sounds it's like he has a database or a 10,000-clip keyboard.

      You're the same with music. No matter what topic comes up, you always have the perfect music to shed light on it.

      And yeah, even without LSD, music can absolutely shed light.

    3. Doug, I think you omitted the "S" from the front of the second word of Eno's pissy work, but of course I could be mistaken.



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