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ON BUKOWSKI

I enjoyed Suzanne Lummis’ tribute to Charles Bukowski (April 10). Thank you for publishing it. I attended the March 26 event at Arundel. For another take on what happened that evening, please note the enclosed poem.

The Wake

Buk died and Andernach slept another day and the

wake was held at a bookstore

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and maybe 3 poets and 30 typists and 300 secret poets

showed up

only two drunks showed up and one of

them was dead

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and they read

oh God how they read

the tall one read

the fat one read

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the long-haired

the disheveled

the despondent

the joyous

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the terrified

the ex-lover and mother of his child

they all read

and some called him

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“bue-kowski”

and some called him

“boo-kowski”

and they kept reading

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they kept putting it out over the

radio waves

they kept it up for

hours

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and through it all there seemed to be

someone

up into the ceiling

somewhere,

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like a raging vapor

there was much shouting and cursing

(I heard this)

“go home!”

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. . .

there was only one way to

truly honor the man so

I left early and got

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on the wrong freeway

heading home

too much

too many

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too many vice cops

too many hairdressers

too many ex-bullfighters named Hector

too many rock stars

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too many porn queens

too many whale watchers

too many pizza cooks

too many country western dance instructors

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too many business travelers, staring at neon

too many guidance counselors

too many sexpots

too many poets

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too many

way, way too many

too many cement mixers

too many fixer-uppers

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too much taco meat

too many rusty medicine chests

too many therapeutic massages

too much gusto

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too much pesto

too many riptides

too many old women wondering what their sons and daughters

are doing this minute

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too much bird of paradise

too many angels in the city tonight

too many retired surfers

too many

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too much

DAVE BOYLES, RIVERSIDE

I thought Lummis’ tribute was right on the mark. So we’ve lost Bukowski and gained the information superhighway. What is wrong with this picture?

JOHN GRULA, LOS ANGELES

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The eulogy of Bukowski caused this old observer to remember Betty Rowland.

Betty Rowland (the “Original Ball of Fire”) was a striptease artist. Like Charles Bukowski, she pursued a long career in this city. Rowland’s career, like Bukowski’s, was an extended exercise of self-exposure. Like Bukowski, Rowland learned that self-exposure, if practiced diligently, could develop an enthusiastic, if not exceptionally literate, audience. While the two careers had a number of parallels, there was one genuinely significant difference: What Betty Rowland exposed was well-made and worthy of scrutiny.

JAMES B. KENNEDY, REDONDO BEACH


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