mr. bukowski ? your server is down

hank lays down some hard earned. at hollywood park, after studying the form.

scream from the balcony*. illustration by ib, 1994. Well. It seems my hosting server is playing up again.

This prevents me from uploading any material – music, that is – which is bad news for you, dear siblings, since I have no option but to improvise. Or compromise. However you want to play it.

A bit of busking is required. I read a piece somewhere recently where a young man concluded he was jinxed. Every time he wrote somebody famous, that person would mysteriously die. He cited several supporting instances – some celebrities I have more time for than most – but my memory fails me. He was jinxed all right. A regular Jonah. I know that for sure because the curse of that Old Testament sailor, the son of Amittai, is nothing new to me. I recognised straight away just where he was coming from, the poor bastard. It is just as well I am not a wedding planner by profession. There would be a procession of demented divorcees beating a path to my door.

I will allude to just the one example here – there have been many – since that is all this post requires. Any more and you will be nodding off before you have even stuck a fork into your Sunday dinner. Or lifted a glass.

The illustration above was completed with the intention of mailing it to Bukowski. I even got so far as flicking through some dog-eared Black Sparrow editions for a c/o address and transferred it onto the manilla envelope I\’d saved for that purpose. Well, I reasoned, If I\’m finally going to write the old bastard I might as well make it a gift of sorts. I felt the standard fan-faretheewell-letter contemptibly beneath me. Anyway, if \’The Poet Laureate of Skid Row\’ declined to return any word I could console myself with a crumb of self-righteous indignation at least. I had waited until he was far too infamous. The worm of procrastination had eventually turned. A type-written reply from a mini-skirted secretary may sting as much as a rejection slip, but it was only to be expected. So as not to come across as too much in awe, the text I included in the illustration was from a letter Buk wrote to poet, Douglas Blazek – a regular correspondent at the time – in 1965, subsequently published in \”Screams From The Balcony\”; If you look closely at the upper left of the picture above, you will see I even managed to misspell Blazek\’s name.

I hoped that was sufficient a clue.

I was on the way to the Post Office when I passed a kiosk selling magazines and periodicals peppered through the daily rags. A headline caught my eye:

\”Literary Bum Bukowski Dead at 73.\”

Fuck it.

I picked up some pace and headed off to the nearest bar. I may have been desperate but I wasn\’t dumb enough to waste good money on postage.

\”Missed the first three races Seven more to go Plus the Belmont Stakes On the big screen tv

The horses I bet In the fourth and the fifth Finished Last Sonja laughed Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

I left her smoking by the rail Went inside to watch Denis of Cork win The Belmont Stakes He didn\’t

In the sixth My luck changed As Triola, 14-1, Stalked the pace Then prevailed

That\’s when I bought Bukowski a beer And drank it and A few more For him

Because he has been dead a long time\” Ha, Mr. Beer N. Hockey, 2008. Poem courtesy of Dope City Free Press.


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