Last night I gulped down cheap red wine and watched Barfly, a film about Charles Bukowski’s drunken escapades as a young man. I hadn’t seen it before and it struck me as grittier, but less entertaining, than Factotum. Both are inferior to the somnambulistic Tales of Ordinary Madness, anchored by a grizzled Ben Gazarra.

The news tells me of an upcoming production directed by James Franco named simply, “Bukowski.” This literary borracho has become a darling of his hometown Hollywood. But almost twenty years after his death, he remains more myth-like than man. He is most certainly the hero I would never want to meet.

 

BARFLY

in which wallpaper limp room

did you find your courage,

sweat greased-back mane stubbled lion?

 

which liquor bottle

did instill in your breast

that taste for stupid-eager alleyway brawls

with solemn wisdom’s iron stamped upon

your split knuckles?

 

which cleave of your heart

did sever your toes from dirt-brown earth

and cast you cosmic

weightless

drifting

eternally no one everyone

as a dark sun unseen beyond earth?

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