DAYS LIKE RAZORS, NIGHTS FULL OF RATS – by Charles Bukowski

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DAYS LIKE RAZORS, NIGHTS FULL OF RATS

as a very young man I divided an equal amount of time between
the bars and the libraries; how I managed to provide for
my other ordinary needs is the puzzle; well, I simply didn’t
bother too much with that –
if I had a book or a drink then I didn’t think too much of
other things – fools create their own
paradise.

in the bars, I thought I was a tough, I broke things, fought
other men, etc.

in the libraries it was another matter: I was quiet, went
from room to room, didn’t so much read entire books
as parts of them: medicine, geology, literature and
philosophy. psychology, math, history, other things, put me
off. with music I was more interested in the music and in the
lives of the composers than in the technical aspects …

however, it was with the philosophers that I felt a brotherhood:
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, even old hard-to-read Kant;
I found Santayana, who was very popular at the time, to be
limp and a bore; Hegel you really had to dig for, especially
with a hangover; there are many I read who I have forgotten,
perhaps properly so, but I remember one fellow who wrote an
entire book in which he proved that the moon was not there
and he did it so well that afterwards you thought, he’s
absolutely right, the moon is not there.

how the hell is a young man going to deign to work an
8 hour day when the moon isn’t even there?
what else
might be missing?

and
I didn’t like literature so much as I did the literary
critics; they were real pricks, those guys; they used
fine language, beautiful in its way, to call other
critics, other writers, assholes. they
perked me up.

but it was the philosophers who satisfied
that need
that lurked somewhere within my confused skull: wading
through their excesses and their
clotted vocabulary
they still often
stunned
leaped out
with a flaming gambling statement that appeared to be
absolute truth or damned near
absolute truth,
and this certainty was what I was searching for in a daily
life that seemed more like a piece of
cardboard.

what great fellows those old dogs were, they got me past
days like razors and nights full of rats; and women
bargaining like auctioneers from hell.

my brothers, the philosophers, they spoke to me unlike
anybody on the streets or anywhere else; they
filled an immense void.
such good boys, ah, such good
boys!

yes, the libraries helped; in my other temple, the
bars, it was another matter, more simplistic, the
language and the way was
different…

library days, bar nights.
the nights were alike,
there’s some fellow sitting nearby, maybe not a
bad sort, but for me he doesn’t shine right,
there’s a gruesome deadness there-I think of my father,
of schoolteachers, of faces on coins and bills, of dreams
about murderers with dull eyes; well,
somehow this fellow and I get to exchanging glances,
a fury slowly begins to gather: we are enemies, cat and
dog, priest and atheist, fire and water; tension builds,
block piled upon block, waiting for the crash; our hands
fold and unfold, we drink, now, finally with a
purpose:

his face turns to me:
sumpin‘ ya don’t like, buddy?”

“yeah. you.”

“wanna do sumpin‘ about it?”

“certainly.”

we finish our drinks, rise, move to the back of the
bar, out into the alley; we
turn, face each other

I say to him, “there’s nothing but space between us. you
care to close that
space?”

he rushes toward me and somehow it’s a part of the part of the part.

CHARLES BUKOWSKI

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Poets previously published @ Awestruck Wanderer:

2 thoughts on “DAYS LIKE RAZORS, NIGHTS FULL OF RATS – by Charles Bukowski

  1. Pingback: Percy Shelley’s poem Ozymandias as illustrated by Zen Pencils | A W E S T R U C K _W A N D E R E R

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