Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Try


Check out this cool story about this grave by clicking here:

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994): A friend of mine recently found himself in the bustling metropolis of San Pedro, California, the whimsically dumpy harbor area of Los Angeles, famous for not really a whole lot else as far as I know other than being where the Great American 20th Century Poet Charles Bukowski is buried, underneath a modest in-ground marker that reads “Don’t Try.” This was, of course, the advice Bukowski gave, while he was still alive, to poets, writers, and everyone else looking to become the type of person that makes a city famous for being buried in it. But in death, I think it was his advice to humanity in general, his final pearl of wisdom imparted to mankind. Don’t try, at anything. Just be. There’s a certain amount of disingenuousness inherent in this statement; after all, when Bukowski was still just a alcoholic mailman, sending hand-copied manuscripts to magazines and publishers, he was definitely trying. And you don’t write as many poems, novels, and screenplays as Bukowski did during his life without putting out some effort. But just like the more spiritual epitaphs usually found on the gravestones of the honest Christian men, Don’t Try is more of the goal, the life’s lesson learned. It’s the advice Bukowski would have given to himself, a fittingly narcissistic thought for a man who made a career out of relating his sexual exploits, drunken loutishness and otherwise self-serving behavior. He was like Thoreau with a taste for booze, choosing the slums of LA, instead of Walden Pond, as his personal purgatory, with women and barflys serving as his woodchucks, ants, and squirrels. And like Thoreau, he didn’t remain there forever; after the slums had served their purpose he moved on, eventually living, and eventually dying, in the comparatively upscale San Pedro, a white wine-sipping old timer. My friend went to the graveyard to pay his respects. The people there had no idea what he was talking about. They finally looked it up, gave him directions and sent him out there; no historical monument, no literature about the life and work of the late great Charles Bukowski. Just a plot number. He found the grave, there with all the other graves. There was nothing spectacular about it. It could have been the grave of anyone, and I guess it is, as far as most people are concerned. Except it says, right on there. Don’t Try.

So you want to be a writer
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.


So, I have to think that Buk would appreciate this bit of drunken idiocy

Don't Try Bukowski; Try Bukkake

So I know you can't see it through the glare of the flash, but it says something amidst the mispelled scribbles. Who is going to make this bumper sticker?


Of course, it is disgusting, but can we not reward a play on words and the recognition of our most worthy poet?

Oh, you don't think he's culturally worthy?

I dare you to read this book and neglect his prowess!




* Post Office (1971)
* Factotum (1975)
* Women (1978)
* Ham On Rye (1982)
* Barfly (script) (1984)
* Hollywood (1989)
* Pulp (1994)


* It Catches My Heart in its Hands (1963)
* The Days run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969)
* Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972)
* Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (1974)
* Love is a Dog from Hell (1977)
* Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979)
* The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1996)
* Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories (1996)
* Bone Palace Ballet (1998)
* what matters most is how well you walk through the fire. (1999)
* Open All Night (2000)
* The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps (2001)
* Sifting the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way (2003)
* The Flash of Lightning Behind The Mountain (2007)
* The People Look Like Flowers At Last (2007)
* The Pleasures of the Damned (2007)
* The Continual Condition (2009)

Short story collections

* Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wall (1960)
* Run With the Hunted (1962)
* Cold Dogs in the Courtyard (1965)
* Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts (1965)
* At Terror Street and Agony Way (1968)
* A Bukowski Sampler (1969)
* Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972)
* Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972)
* South of No North (1973)
* Hot Water Music (1983)
* Tales of Ordinary Madness (1983)
* The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983)
* All's Normal Here: A Charles Bukowski Primer (1985)
* Portions from a Wine-stained Notebook: Short Stories and Essays (2008)


* Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
* Shakespeare Never Did This (1979); expanded (1995)
* The Bukowski/Purdy Letters (1983)
* Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters (1993)
* Living on Luck: Selected Letters, volume 2 (1995)
* The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998)
* Reach for the Sun: Selected Letters, volume 3 (1999)
* Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondense of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli (2001)

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