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Hemingway Never Did This -- Charles Bukowski

Guest poem sent in by John K. Taber , who writes:
(Poem #1420) Hemingway Never Did This
 I read that he lost a suitcase full of manuscripts on a
 train and that they never were recovered.
 I can't match the agony of this
 but the other night I wrote a 3-page poem
 upon this computer
 and through my lack of diligence and
 practice
 and by playing around with commands
 on the menu
 I somehow managed to erase the poem
 forever.
 believe me, such a thing is difficult to do
 even for a novice
 but I somehow managed to do
 it.

 now I don't think this 3-pager was immortal
 but there were some crazy wild lines,
 now gone forever.
 it bothers more than a touch, it's some-
 thing like knocking over a good bottle of
 wine.

 and writing about it hardly makes a good
 poem.
 still, I thought somehow you'd like to
 know?

 if not, at least you've read this far
 and there could be better work
 down the line.

 let's hope so, for your sake
 and
 mine.
-- Charles Bukowski
Let's not quibble with Buk, and tell him about unerase commands, ok? The
point is, the matter of fact use of the computer in a poem.

I've been interested for years now in poems that incorporate the computer.
Contemporary poets don't usually condemn the machine, as liberal arts people
did when I was a student. Machines have stopped being Blake's "dark, Satanic
mills" and are accepted as part of the landscape. Once in a while, even,
machines are accepted too enthusiastically.

There was another I recall, can't remember the poet, but it went something
like "Green be thy screen!" It was the poet's gratitude for the convenience
of the computer for her in writing poems. Again, as Martin observed, some of
these poems quickly date. I'm old enough that green screens are strongly in
my memory, but I daresay many readers today have never seen a monochrome
monitor.

There is Brautigan's "Machines of Amazing Grace." I didn't cotton to his
poem because for me there is something chilling about benevolent machines
watching over me. [I didn't cotton to it either, mostly because it did
nothing for me, and because I can only take Brautigan in very short poems -
martin]

Still, there is a bunch of poems, enough I think to make an anthology.

John K. Taber

[Martin adds]

The thing I noticed about today's poem is that it is, in a sense, the mirror
image of the Jonas piece [Poem #1418] that introduced the theme.  Whereas
Jonas treated computers as a metaphor, using them as a poetic device to
illumine the age-old themes of love and loss, in Bukowski's poem the
computer is the *subject* of the work, a mundane fact of life that is in
turn illumined by the poem's metaphors. And, of course, an occurrence that
most readers can empathise with :)

Incidentally, while I was googling Bukowski (with whom I was unfamiliar), I
came across the following gem:

  some people never go crazy.
  what truly horrible lives
  they must lead.
     -- Charles Bukowski

Apropos of nothing - I just wanted to share it.

martin

[Links]

  Biography (a trifle clumsily written, but detailed, and with several links
  after it):
    http://www.popsubculture.com/pop/bio_project/charles_bukowski.html

  A nice Bukowski site:
    http://home.swipnet.se/~w-15266/cultur/bukowski/

88 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Rory Day said...

I quite agree. And, expressing the frustrations and fears of all us
word processor users...Bukowski!

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kamagra said...

Excellent post dear blogger and I'm doing some works about it, just read my new poem:
Let a cut and shave
reveal my grey hairs.
Let the silver of the years
ring out endlessly !
Shameful common sense -
I hope, I swear -
Will never come
to me.

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