The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems

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9780060577070: The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems

the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
soot.
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
mad.
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
nothing,
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.

—from "fingernails; nostrils; shoelaces"

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About the Author:

Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of two. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for over fifty years. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

From Publishers Weekly:

In a posthumously published poem, Bukowski says he's succeeded "If you read this after I am long dead." By that standard, he is indeed a success: this fifth—and purportedly last—posthumous book published since his death in 1994 offers his still-large audience more of what made Bukowski (1921–1994) and his hard-drinking alter ego Henry Chinaski famous, as chronicled, for example, in the films Barfly and Factotum. Rapid, chatty free verse records his devotion to racehorses, boxing and drinking; his sexual exploits and failures; his contempt for highbrow, hoity-toity literati, and his countervailing yearnings for literary fame. Early on, the poems show unapologetic nostalgia: in "the 1930s," "the landlord/ only got his rent/ when you had/ it." Some of the most memorable poems here record the poet's anxieties and delights while caring for his daughter. The final pages are devoted to fate, last things, old age, mortality and retrospectives on Bukowski's hard-drinking, prolific career: "we were not put here to/ enjoy easy days and/ nights." Bukowski's style did not change in his last years; readers who have already written him off are unlikely to change their minds. Fans, however, may discover one of his strongest, most affecting books. (Apr.)
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Charles Bukowski
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Bukowski, Charles
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