Tuesday, 26 February 2013

More of Bukowski - I said, she said .......

Hi to whatever fellow poetry bloggers are out there.  I’m going away for a couple of weeks so will appear inactive; actually, at times I intend to look very inactive, akin to no life even, as I doze in a banana chair beside some hotel pool.  But don’t worry, my mind will be working on what rhymes with beer and has Robert Lowell influenced anything I’ve done, and how can I break the writer’s block on what I’m doing with ‘weekly running’.  Poetry goes with me everywhere.  Anyway, since I won’t be around and I don’t travel with a lap-top, I throw this post up as an interlude gesture.  I like some of the ‘he said, she said’ verse that you come across.  You find it in Charles Bukowski’s work, and I include an example from him, ‘free coffee’ (from Dangling in the Tournefortia, Black Sparrow Press).  This is a rather reserved poem for Bukowski, and maybe because of that, for me it works.  It’s an OK rendering of the little, simple, mundane, shitty, ordinary things of relationships and life - the break-up, the finding that the grass on the other side wasn't greener,  the hoping life is shitty for you also, the trying to get back to what you had before, the regret, the smugness because I've already got somebody else and it makes me feel so good that everything's turned to shit for you.

free coffee
Charles Bukowski (1921 – 1994)
it was on the telephone and he said, look, I’m with
Lisa now, I can’t do that –
and she said, I know, I understand, I just want you
to come and have coffee with me, I’m one
block away on Western, I just got in from Utah, I just
thought we’d have coffee for old time’s sake –
he said, all right
then he said to Lisa, be back in five minutes –
he got into the Volks and drove and there she was
sitting in her car and he got in and she had two coffees
waiting there outside of Pioneer Chicken.
hi, she said. hi, he said.
how’s it going? she asked.
fine, he said, real good.
you know Cal? she asked. well, he
turned out to be a god damned fag. it’s bad enough
to be competing with other women, there I was competing
with men….
I think I’ve lived with a couple of lesbians, he said,
but I’m not sure.
I really miss you, she said.
look, he said, I’ve got to be getting back.
I understand, she said, then leaned over and kissed
see you, he said, and got out of her car and walked to
the Volks and as he drove off she was still sitting
in her car and he waved and she waved back…..
it was a perfect day in July and he walked back in
to Lisa sitting straight upright in a chair
as if she had been frozen for rebirth at a better time.

In my poem, ‘taking turns to make tea’, I experiment with that, 'I said, she said' form.  And I’ve got a rich vein of raw material to work from, right here in my own home.  Expect more.  See you in a couple of weeks…..
2010.  What you got to understand in a marital situation, is sometimes you ain’t never going to be right.  You will wrestle it every which way, trying your darnndest to understand where this is all coming from and what you is meant to do.  But all you learn is that you is inadequate and have to be rescued from your inadequacy.  Then you can get back to watching the game on television.
taking turns to make tea
she says what are you cooking for tea!?
he says, I don’t know, what would you like?
she says, I don’t care, I cooked last night,
         let somebody else have a turn!
he forages the freezer,
and finds a full 460 gram packet of new mince, and
about 250 grams left over from a used pack.
he decides to do rissoles in onion gravy,
mashed potatoes, veg.
she comes in the kitchen and sees the mince,
she says, what are you doing now!?
he says, rissoles,
she says she doesn’t want rissoles!
he says, well don’t eat it, you get something else!
she says, no!
he tries logic, but you said to cook tea and I asked you
what do you want, and
you said I don’t care,
so I decide to do rissoles, now you’re saying
you don’t want rissoles!
what the hell DO you want!?
she says she sure as hell doesn’t want bloody pig-swill,
wouldn’t feed it to the dog!
well what the fuck do you want!?
NOT rissoles!!
fine, get whatever you want then!
she slams down the hall, slams the key drawer,
slams the front door, slams out the house, and
comes back with ingredients for a veal parmegiano.
he says,
……. how was I supposed to know that!?
                                                                                                                            J. O. White

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