Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bukowski and Lansdale

Got an Amazon gift card for Christmas and first thing I got was the new story collection from Joe R. Lansdale, Bleeding Shadows.  Looking through the Table of Contents, I have read precisely none of these.

Included, for the first time ever, are some poems.  Champion Joe explains:
And then I went to my Charles Bukowski collection.  I had his prose, and I really enjoyed his novels and short stories.  I think Bukowski was a bit of a bullshitter and the kind of guy I wouldn't have liked much in person, but I did enjoy his work.  He wrote simply and clearly and about things a lot of writers would be afraid to touch.  I had a book that had his poetry mixed in with some prose, and I started reading.  Something clicked.  I liked his poetry.  A lot.
So he wrote a few himself.  I can't really judge the Lansdale poems.  Some are funny, and one about writer's block I identify with, but I'm not a poetry guy.

I have, however, had this same experience with Bukowski's poems.  He makes it look easy.

Remember this Levi's commercial?  Watch it now as a short film:

The Laughing Heart
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
I've always liked this one, too:

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