Nagoya Writes

January 6, 2008

The Hot Truth (Chinaski as I know him) a poetry review by Joe Sichi

Filed under: Essay,Issue: Dec 2006,Sichi — usbengoshi @ 6:32 am

The Hot Truth (Chinaski as I know him)
a poetry review by Joe Sichi
I have an admission,
which is not to say
a confession,
because I don’t actually feel guilty.

Luckily for you,
today
I have only an admission.

Often when I say
“I’ve got a meeting,”
or “Nanka yoji ga aru,”
or some such nonsense,
I actually don’t.

I’m just going home
to have a quiet read,
or a vocal read
— which I do sometimes —
which is another admission,
unless you happen to live
next door to me
and then it’s an apology,
still not a confession,
so you’re still lucky.

One of my favorite authors
to read;
silently,
or vocally,
or quietly,
or while drinking coffee,
or while making love
— yes, you can do that —
or at all
is Charles Bukowski,
his real name,
although perhaps not
his best
or perfect,
or hot-lucky name.

In literary circles
he’s known as
Buk,
or Chinaski,
or just
Hank.

Which I find best.

If you haven’t ever read him,
you’re about to be lucky again,
as he sometimes was
and sometimes wasn’t
at the race track.
Though mainly that isn’t why
he went there.

He wasn’t looking for luck
although he found it
there and elsewhere.

The first time I read
this bit of hot truth,
it made me laugh;
as I’m sure it did him,
though he isn’t laughing now,
at least not as we laugh.
He died in 1994.
(I’m sure you’ve heard.)
I heard while teaching
Middle School in East Hollywood.
The LA Times blared
on the front page
the morning after
he stopped laughing.

How he laughs now
I don’t know,
but here’s what he had to say
one day not so long ago
when he was still Hank,
and not a corpse,
and not a decomposed corpse,
as he surely is now,
perhaps laughing.

You’re lucky
as it’s a short poem,
unlike this one.

“8 count” by Hank

“from my bed
I watch
3 birds
on a telephone
wire.

one flies
off.
then
another.

one is left,
then
it too
is gone.

my typewriter is
tombstone
still.

and I am
reduced to bird
watching.

just thought I’d
let you
know,
fucker.” (*1)

I don’t curse a lot,
you may have noticed.
When I do
it’s either for a reason
or a joke,
or because I’m imitating
someone,
but I don’t mind cursing
especially from those
who do it well.
Hank did, and often,
but I first became enamored
of Bukowski’s poems
due to their hot honesty.

He writes beautiful
and optimistically hopeful
poetry as well,
though he sandwiches
those features
among the shits
and the fucks
and the goddamn bastards,
but always there rings
an honesty

which is a hard thing
to do
in life,
in strife,
in the bath
and even in bed,
not to mention
in poetry

in case you
never tried it,
fucker.

*1 “8 count” by Charles Bukowski
The Last Night of the Earth Poems, Copyright 1992 Charles Bukowski, First Published by Black Sparrow Press, Current Publisher Harper Collins Publishers Inc.

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