28.9.10

The Writer's Alamanac with Garrison Keillor and 'Gas' by Charles Bukowski

A few months ago I remember reading in the London Review of Books an article by August Kleinzahler fulminating in a mouth-foamingly hostile manner about poor Garrison Keillor and his poetry and new writing site-The Writer's Almanac.  What particularly irked Kleinzahler, who is anyway I think something of a manipulative bad-boy as regards the media, was Keillor's midwest accent and his homesy soft spoken wisdom-bull.  Kleinzahler may be a hustler but Poetry needs bad boys and girls to hurl shit-bricks into the whirring fan-blades of it's complacency and self-regard.  At the end of the day it's only the poets who get covered in shit that have anything to say that's worth listening to.  Beware the clean, sensitive, milky-skinned lily-livered twats who masquerade with their metrical poses and anal scansions and their wine and poetry evenings.  Give me the mad drunken buggars like Bukowski any day.
Below is the link for Keillor's slightly dead-pan reading of Bukowsk's 'Gas'.  I'm reading Bukowski's Collected Poems at the moment and loving their ferocity and dark power-The Pleasures of the Damned  Poems 1951-1993 (Canongate 2007).  I don't know why 'Gas' isn't in it because it's great and always makes me smile.
Thanks for reading.  Success to your work.  Love and Will in Balance.


Gas


by Charles Bukowski

my grandmother had a serious gas

problem.

we only saw her on Sunday.

she'd sit down to dinner

and she'd have gas.

she was very heavy,

80 years old.

wore this large glass brooch,

that's what you noticed most

in addition to the gas.

she'd let it go just as food was being served.

she'd let it go loud in bursts

spaced about a minute apart.

she'd let it go

4 or 5 times

as we reached for the potatoes

poured the gravy

cut into the meat.



nobody ever said anything;

especially me.

I was 6 years old.

only my grandmother spoke.

after 4 or 5 blasts

she would say in an offhand way,

"I will bury you all!"



I didn't much like that:

first farting

then saying that.



it happened every Sunday.

she was my father's mother.

every Sunday it was death and gas

and mashed potatoes and gravy

and that big glass brooch.



those Sunday dinners would

always end with apple pie and

ice cream

and a big argument

about something or other,

my grandmother finally running out the door

and taking the red train back to

Pasadena

the place stinking for an hour

and my father walking about

fanning a newspaper in the air and

saying, "it's all that damned sauerkraut

she eats!"

"Gas" by Charles Bukowski, from The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain. © Harper Collins, 2004. Reprinted with permission.

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