martedì 3 maggio 2011

In the mood for poetry: Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski

Here's my beloved Tom Waits reading a beautiful poem by Charles Bukowski, Nirvana.

he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills.
the young man
looked straight
he heard the other
of other things,
or they were
attempting to
they had not
the young man
put his head to
one side,
closed his
pretended to
there was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
the sound of the
in the
- Charles Bukowski
not much chance,
completely cut loose from
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arrived.
the meal was
and the
the waitress was
unlike the women
he had
she was unaffected,
there was a natural
humor which came
from her.
the fry cook said
crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back,
laughed, a good
the young man watched
the snow through the
he wanted to stay
in that cafe
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
that it would always
stay beautiful
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board.
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
but then
he rose and followed
the others into the

If you liked it and you want more, here's Bukowski reading Bukowski.

9 commenti:

  1. Hi Silvia-

    for some strange reason, foreigners seem to like Tom Waits and Bukowski a lot. I have to admit that I don't care for either. Sometimes I suspect that foreigners like this sort of thing because it represents the dark side of America, which undoubtedly exists (and how). But I can tell you there aren't too many Americans living a Bukowski "lifestyle," or else we'd have the GNP of Bolivia. ;-D

  2. Cynthia, as you might imagine (since I posted this), I disagree with you. Tom Waits is the closest thing to a teen idol that I still have, and as for Bukowski, well, I don't care for his stories either (actually I really dislike them), but I love his poetry. Both artists express a dark side, yes, but not necessarily only of America: I would say a dark side of the human soul (and luckily there is a dark side, or we'd all be New Agers!). Besides, I find this darkness to be very sweet and melancholic, which can be applied to a lot of poetry, American or not. And Tom Waits is a great musician as well. And... well, as you can see I get very passionate about this topic, but thanks for making me think about it! (Oh, and there would be more to say, like the part where I actually *agree* with you on the romanticizing of some - other - dark sides of America...)

  3. It's a complicated topic but I often think that those who love people like Waits and Bukowski are somewhat complicitous in furthering a certain lifestyle.An anti-hero is one thing, but I personally think Bukowski was an asshole, and although flowers can grow from shit I don't see any flowers, literary or otherwise, springing up from this author. Including the poem you cited.

  4. Ah, well, first of all we need to make a distinction. Bukowski and Waits are two completely different men and artists. Bukowski might have been an asshole, but this is true of many artists, and it generally doesn't affect my judgement on their work. It is a matter of taste, of course, so if you don't like it, you don't like it. As for Bukowski's lifestyle (because there's nothing wrong with Waits' current lifestyle, as far as I know), I don't think that many people nowadays would think of imitating it just because it's "romantic". It seems somehow old-fashioned to me...

  5. Today is the Day Of Cynthia And Silvia Not Agreeing :-)
    I don't think Bukowski and Waits are "completely different" as artists; I think they have a lot in common. I think they also kinda project a similar persona: world-weary and semi-nihilistic.
    I've gotten a lot of flak from people when I tell them that what I know about an author affects my appreciation- but it's true. Someone's work has to be really sublime to overcome my negative perception of them as a human being. Baudelaire, for instance. Next time, post a poem by Baudelaire. :-D

  6. Cynthia, I was thinking about your words yesterday, on the bus trip that resulted in today's post (which in a roundabout way might be an answer to your comment). I disagree again with you, even though I also find myself interested in knowing if the artist was a nice person or not. And I don't like Baudelaire! :-)
    As for Tom Waits, I'd like to try to convince you in front of a cup of coffee (or better, a glass of wine)...

  7. She. Doesn't. Like. Baudelaire.

    Give me a week or two to wrap my mind around that.

    For you to convince me to appreciate Tom Waits would take more than a glass of wine; at least a magnum. By then I'd be so sloshed I'd appreciate everything and everybody.

  8. Well, maybe I was being a little provocative about Baudelaire. Just a little. But I think it might prove my point that, in many cases, sublimity can be a matter of taste. And that when you find it, you just don't care about anything else (ethics and morals included).