Charles Bukowski

Bukowski’s ‘Born Into This’ – Treachery, Hatred, Violence, Absurdity


Poet, Author Charles Bukowski on working in the Post Office from the doc Born Into This: “Either gotta get out of there or die or go crazy.” Fooled by this. Used by this. Pissed on by this.

Born Into This, Charles Bukowski [Subtitulado]

Charles Bukowski – Born Into This – Directed by John Dullaghan (2003)

Charles Bukowski: Broken Factory Windows of Emptiness

The documentary, Bukowski: Born into This rehashes stories of the inimitable misanthrope, poet, and author Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920-March 9, 1994). Prolific, master of the literary/pulp magazine trade, creator of the FBI-surveilled Open City column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man,” with sixty books of poetry and prose, including Pulp, Love is a Dog From Hell, and The Last Night of the Earth Poems.

He and his ilk lived, pretended, and courted the downtrodden, the indelicatos, the night-prowling atavists, and the women-beyond-repute. Henry Chinaski, his poverty-embedded, classical music-entranced, horse-betting avatar, set about engendering a cult following. Charles kept the story flowing to the end.

STORY: Gonzovision 1970s: Hunter S. Thompson on the American Dream

Directed by John Dullaghan, Bukowski: Born Into This follows a number of other documentaries on the underside LA mess that was Charles’ world, including On Ordinary Madness or Too Much Dirty Realism featured here. Born Into, considered a more comprehensive trip down Depravity Lane includes cameos by would-be literary scene-stealers such as Sean Penn, Bono, Tom Waits, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Dinosauria, we

By Charles Bukowski

born like this
into this
as the chalk faces smile
as Mrs. Death laughs
as the elevators break
as political landscapes dissolve
as the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
as the oily fish spit out their oily prey
as the sun is masked

we are
born like this
into this
into these carefully mad wars
into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
into bars where people no longer speak to each other
into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings

born into this
into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

born into this
walking and living through this
dying because of this
muted because of this
because of this
fooled by this
used by this
pissed on by this
made crazy and sick by this
made violent
made inhuman
by this

the heart is blackened
the fingers reach for the throat
the gun
the knife
the bomb
the fingers reach toward an unresponsive god

the fingers reach for the bottle
the pill
the powder

we are born into this sorrowful deadliness
we are born into a government 60 years in debt
that soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
and the banks will burn
money will be useless
there will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
it will be guns and roving mobs
land will be useless
food will become a diminishing return
nuclear power will be taken over by the many
explosions will continually shake the earth
radiated robot men will stalk each other
the rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms

Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
the sun will not be seen and it will always be night
trees will die
all vegetation will die
radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
the sea will be poisoned
the lakes and rivers will vanish
rain will be the new gold

the rotting bodies of men will stink in the dark wind

the last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
and the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
the petering out of supplies
the natural effect of general decay

and there will be the most beautiful silence never heard

born out of that.

The sun still hidden there
awaiting the next chapter.

Updated 13 February 2024

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