Tuesday, November 25, 2008

10 Empty Bottles (an ode to Bukowski)

It's 5 minutes to midnight
and my brain is a pan-fried egg,
sprinkle on some pretty drugs--
and watch it explode
out on a highwire near you

4 minutes to midnight
and the new boss says
the old one still runs the show.
But the old boss just sits and stares
out the window at America Boiling
since he likes his plumbing thumb
right where he keeps it

3 minutes to midnight
and I just want to go home,
not this shabby room with:
a clock
10 empty bottles
and one deadman poet,
washed up on a shore near you

2 minutes to midnight
and the money men sing
a searing blues all the way down
to the sidewalk on Brush Street--
but the streets morn no one,
not even the rats born down below

Because it's 1 minute to midnight
and the house is burning down...

1 minute to save all that you love
but the drugs don't work
and the bottles are empty
1 minute to save all that you love
or watch the flames
devour everything near you

Bear with me while I get my voice back. This is OK, but could be better.

As for the top pic, no that's not my desk or anyone's desk who I know, but mine is almost that bad. A lot more books and CD's on mine, as well as a million notes written in the middle of the night, writing ideas that sometimes make sense, and other times I wonder what bolt of magic lightning I was riding when I took it down.

Just goes to show, when it hits, run with it. Because later on down the line, a few scratchy notes will often only make you wonder about your sanity.

Speaking of questions about sanity, here I have a link to a Bukowski poem that is quintessential to his particular world view (please excuse the free wii or iphone crap, adds are so intrusive).

And for a final touch, I was trying to embed a Jimi Hendrix video for "House Burning Down". But as luck would have it, the only good video for the song with decent sound quality had embedding disabled.

So here's the link, since it's a good one. Very political, I must say, and yet still very relevant to these changing times, as all great art usually is.


Princess Pointful said...

Don't underestimate yourself, sir.
I adore how you manage to run themes through your poem, like this countdown, without losing a beat.
And how glad was I to see not one, but two posts by you in my Google Reader. It's about time I was behind on reading you, simply because you are writing regularly again!!

eric1313 said...

With friends like everyone who comes here, it's a positive joy to come back. I have people who care, so I need to care too! And the way I show how much I care is holding myself to a rather high standard when it comes to writing.

A) Flow! Like The Amazon, like the Mississippi, like The Nile... above all flow and reach a sea of ideas.

This one's a bit jerky...

B) Make sense (at least a little). Art is one thing, but it should always tell a story or make a point, even if that point or that story is seemingly unimportant.

This one was just a capture of the low roar of chaos associated with life as an artist. And it's more. The "boss" part is a gripe about how there's 2 presidents right now, the new one who can do nothing until it's time, and the old one who is just doing nothing by choice, because he can try to make the new guy look bad.

I loop a lot of stuff into it.

hope it floats...

Thank you and everyone else for all the love and fellowship.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

First-rate, actually.

Reminds me very much of a popular writer who was a Jesuit in America,but a good poet all the same. He was a contemporary of Ned Roren, that's about all my scrambled memory banks can come up with. This Jesuit happened to be a very hip writer, almost in a beat tradition, like Bukowski, but more conventional as a writet. Irish background.

Damn. The old encyclopaedic mind is gone. What good is it now? Mental block about this Jesuit essayist-poet from America.

Enough that you write like a hip Jesuit, though, I think, a randy one.

Ah wasn't it good, Norwegian Wood.

i beati said...

powerful take a lurk some day to shades of vyolet

Crushed said...

I actually thought that had qualities that would really come out, if it was set to music.

My desk usually has a pile of books I've picked up to just check bits in before posting- that and empty fag packets, coffee mugs, etc...

morton said...

The countdown style was very well executed. I really liked this poem.

JR's Thumbprints said...

My writing desk is always in disarray, but I know exactly where everything is, so yeah, I can relate to Bukowski's poem in that sense.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even if the Lions are on tv.

http;//www.creativewriting.ca said...


Like me, you might sometimes rub the balls right off a poem if you edit too much.

...I'd leave in your second-last line, here, dropping the very last line....Still got the original copy?
(Hic nobis)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


email me at ivan@creativewriting.ca.

I have been trying though your g-mail, but mail adminstrator says no dice.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like the poem, but that desk put me off writing for the day.

Mommy Jo said...

Happy to know your desk is a bit more organized!

Visiting thanks to David!

Have a good one!

X. Dell said...

Hendrix seemed to be relevent without even trying.

There's an irony about the ad stuff surrounding the Bukowski poem. I don't know if you heard, but his books are the most stolen in the US. Somehow, the ads seem even less appropriate than they usually are.

BTW, a pretty pair of eyes might charge me more than a soccer player or a goddess. But Pele is also inspiring.

And as for dealing with good girls at bad bars, I'm glad they're always there for you in some manner. As fo me, they're the epitome of eckless gambling....thus giving more creedence to the line "You got to know when to hold 'em."

Enemy of the Republic said...

It's good to have you back.

eric1313 said...

Cool! That was the voice I was going for, that of a somewhat beat poet.

And don't worry about the encyclopedic mind, Ivan, the things that do come back to you show in your writing.


powerful take a lurk some day to shades of vyolet

Now that is nice!



Yeah, I have the standard collection of writer clutter. I thought all of us were that way, but I guess there are some neat freaks out there.

I hear the music bit a lot.

But I never get tired of it. One day I'll have to get back into the band scene.

Thanks for the visits, all.

eric1313 said...


Thank you for reading it. I'll drop by soon to check things out at your blog.


C Bukowski has just got a certain universal nature that strikes chords with so many. I would be lost if my desk were in another person's sense of order.


New expression for me, but I like it. I'll have to store that one for later.

And it's true, I feel I edit the life and soul out of things, so I have been learning to go with the gut.

And I'll take your advice, Just thinking of how that last line should be arranged...

Talk to you all later on!

eric1313 said...


The desk is a bit scary, there might be something in that one that bites back.

Hell, I don't even SEE a keyboard...

Mommy Jo

It's a good desk, but definitely a lot more chaotic than mine...

Thanks for the visit!

eric1313 said...

X Dell

Hendrix was not always political, but he was spot on in that song.

What a master he was.

And I have to agree--gorgeous eyes are an inspiring thing. I use them in writing quiet a bit. There's entire languages spoken only through glances, and I try to document most of them here.

And as for the good bars bad bars thing, yeah, this poem is old. I'm not the wild one I once was. I just think like I am and sit home writing.

Enemy of...

So glad to be back! I hope you have been feeling better.

Drop by any time you want to.

Peace out, you two!

Princess Pointful said...

Just on my way to sleep, unfortunately, good sir, as I have been told I have to rise reasonably early to finish off making the butter tarts I neglected today to go sledding. Oh, the dilemmas of holidays. Sweet dreams to you, all the same, and hopefully we'll be awake and online at the same time soon in the new year-- though, dammit, you will be even another time zone further!!