So how about I’m finally making my way through the rest of my Charles Bukowski books I bought two years ago when Borders was closing?
Terrible, I know, and I have no excuse, but maybe it was the way that I just couldn’t get into his “Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook.” Whatever it was, it’s over now because I just blasted through “Post Office” this week already and am now a few chapters into “Ham on Rye.”
“Post Office” was a fantastic, fast-flowing read, and I really appreciated Bukowski’s — and his fictional alter ego character Henry “Hank” Chinaski’s — banter. As a writer and wannabe novelist, I love how clean he writes; there’s not an ounce of fat in any line, and every line packs a punch, even the “dedication” see at left.
His writing is so lyrical, not in that poetic Beat manner of Kerouac, but lyrical in its reality. Like Hank, Bukowski’s just a guy barely getting by in life and knows that what he has is what he has. He doesn’t aspire for much more than the next bottle, the next piece of ass and the next winning horse. What’s not to love, and, I have to be honest, respect?
I can so identify with his hatred of the mindless mediocrity that was his post office job, I’ve worked a few (two, to be exact) jobs that made me want to rip my face off my face … pretty much on a daily basis. And who hasn’t had at least one jackass boss like Jonstone, whose sole purpose in life seems to be to make your life a living hell?
But through all the times Hank tried to quit, the man pulled him back in. Bender after bender, racetrack after racetrack and lady friend after lady friend (somehow ragtag Hank always found a broad), he always wound up back at his station.
Until, well, I won’t spoil it if you didn’t read the book, but I will leave you here with my favorite line from the book:
“I was tired and wet and hungover, but I was usually that way.
And I waded through the weariness like I did the water.”
Damn, Hank. I’ll raise a glass to that line.