Tag Archives: POET

Charles “Hank” Bukowski

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Charles “Hank” Bukowski
1920-1989

 

The Secret

don’t worry, nobody has the
beautiful lady, not really, and

nobody has the strange and
hidden power, nobody is
exceptional or wonderful or
magic, they only seem to be
it’s all a trick, an in, a con,
don’t buy it, don’t believe it.
the world is packed with
billions of people whose lives
and deaths are useless and
when one of these jumps up
and the light of history shines
upon them, forget it, it’s not
what it seems, it’s just
another act to fool the fools
again.

there are no strong men, there
are no beautiful women.
at least, you can die knowing
this
and you will have
the only possible
victory.

 

VERY SPECIAL TAIL

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VERY SPECIAL TAIL

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VERY SPECIAL TAIL

Peter got up as soon as the alarm went off, put his slippers on and trudged to the shower. The hot water felt good on his tired skin, he rubbed voraciously lathering up bubbly foam from the last of the soap. He rubbed himself dry and looked in the mirror. He saw a vigorous pressed into the feather pillow, her brown hair spread around her neck. She looked peaceful. She sensed that he was leaving, and mumbled something about going out to dinner. In a louder voice she said as she was waking up, leaning on one elbow.
“Darling we’ve been together for two years. We need to celebrate?”
“Yes, let’s go to the restaurant in the Village,” he said while putting on a crisp blue shirt and cargo pants.
“I’ll get all dressed up in that blue silk dress you like me in and even wear high heels.”
“Will you be home on time? I need to make reservations.”
“For you in that dress of yours I’ll surely be ‘smack bang on time,’ as they say.”
“Who says that, Peter?”
He kissed her night breath and she lay back down in bed.
“I wish we could have breakfast together sometimes, Jane.” It was a light hint. She was as lazy as a sloth.
She ignored him and closed her eyes.
He shook his head and finished dressing. He pulled on his highly polished brown boots and crept out of the room. “That’s right,” he thought, “This is Tuesday and they would have sex tonight around ten o’clock.” After dinner, he began to get excited and pressed his erection down with the palm of his hand. Jane was good in bed and they had a satisfying sex life, but she was a lazy bitch, he thought.

He drove to work, leaving early because the roads were empty. His listened to jazz and classical. It was Tuesday, Pressure day. He needed classical. Schubert’s military marches would do. He drummed on the steering wheel while holding his potent cup of Starbucks coffee. He always performed well under pressure.
Today he had a presentation and he was well prepared. He worked for an advertising agency. He was pushing for a new line of baby food, and his presentation was perfect. He had worked on the project for a week, day and night to the point of exhaustion, making his fiancé unhappy. His boss put all her faith in him. They needed the account. Business had been slow and Ms. Finn was pressuring all the staff, 15 of them. Their jobs were on the line.

They had worked often late into the night pouring over his sketches, without being too obvious she had sat elbow to elbow with him as close as she could. She was a lonely woman, her good looks and out-going ness often were intimating. She liked Peter, his David Bowie look, androgynous; blond tall and lean with pale blue eyes. He was very sexy.
Oh man she thought he’s probably great in bed, I’ll let him know whatever way I can, and if he doesn’t catch on he’s not worth it!
Pete had a feeling that she had a “crush” on him. She did and deliberately hung around his office making lame excuses, that he could see right through. She was sexy, a tall slender woman with freckles green eyes and a long luxurious mane of red hair that tumbled down her pale shoulders. She often wore off-the-shoulder blouses, to show off her lovely skin. She knew she turned him on, although he never showed it, but there was that glint in his blue eyes that he couldn’t hide. She looked at him thinking, He doesn’t know how much I want him and I’ll do everything to get him.

“Our clients are arriving soon Pete, hope you are well prepared?”
“Yes Ms. Finn I think they’ll be impressed.” She patted him on the back, feeling the warmth of skin through his shirt. She wanted to keep her hand there but it would be too obvious. He knew it, he had known all along that she wanted him. She would take him on his desk if he gave her inkling, or a hint. She was not one to beg. She was the boss after all.
She is very sexy but I’d have to plan it, he thought.

The Japanese businessmen sat facing the screen as Pete turned on the projector. Their eyes barely blinked. They watched a bunch of babies feeding each other. Slopping around the delicious purees. Pete used his pointer to show the expressions on the messy babies faces. Their tight mouths loosened. They began to laugh, shaking Ms. Finn’s hand.
Thanking her and Pete for a great job. “We are sold, your idea is marvelous. The head businessman wrote a big check. They bowed and left.

Ms. Finn took Pete out to a deli for lunch to celebrate, and to come on to him. They feasted on corned beef on rye sandwiches, which, being Irish, was Ms. Finn’s favorite sandwich. As they ate kosher dill pickles. With a pop and a squirt, she asked him if he was still single.
“Yes Ms. Finn, I am, but I am engaged to be married.”
“Oh when?” She said, disappointment showing through her freckled face.
“April. I planned the date and the caterers and the band. My fiancé picked her wedding dress.”
“How nice. Congratulations,” she said with mounting disappointment, all the while thinking, I still want him, and I’ll have him.

After lunch they were back in their respective offices. His with a sailing theme, boats in bottles, pictures of old schooners, shipping maps and a buoy. Hers filled with Irish souvenirs, a shamrock coffee mug, a picture of her dad in a kilt playing the bagpipes and the family genealogy framed in a poster frame. It took the edge off their high-pressure jobs, giving them homely comforts. They thought of each other in their respective offices separated by a thin wall.

That evening when Pete returned home at precisely six o’clock Jane greeted him at the door with a hug and kiss.
“Hello darling. How was your day, Pete?”
“I landed that big account I was working on.”
“You were, how come you didn’t tell me?”
“Because you are not interested.”
“Don’t say that, Pete. I’m just preoccupied.”
“With what, Jane dear?”
“I have been working on the invitations.”
“You never ask me about work, you always seem to drift off. It’s hurtful.”
“I am not going to argue. Is this what it’s going to be like when we are married, Jane?”
“Sorry, Pete. I am so discombobulated , I don’t like my wedding dress at all.”
“So get another one. I have to change out of my uncomfortable clothes.”
‘What about the restaurant?”
“Sorry Jane, I just can’t. This week has been so hectic. I am wiped out. Please change the reservation. How about tomorrow?”
She stamped away with indignation.

Pete being an obsessive compulsive, he hurried and changed into his sweats. He went into the basement of their town house, and lifted weights, used his treadmill and finished up by riding five miles on the exercise bike. He felt he had overdone it as his lower back began to hurt. Walking up the stairs was painful, but he grinned and bore it. Jane was ready with one of her easy meals ready at the table. She hasn’t put much effort into this he thought. What does she do all day, while I bust my ass? Now I have really busted my ass, ouch it hurts.
They spoke not a word as he did the few dishes. And threw away the sectioned off cardboard TV dinner containers.
“I need to lie down my ass and back are throbbing.”
“How did that happen? Did you fuck Ms. Finn?”
“Shut your ugly mouth, Jane! I am afraid you.”

He went to the bedroom and changed into his pajamas, lay on the bed and switched on the TV. He couldn’t get comfortable.
“Jane,” he yelled, “are you coming to bed soon? I need you to rub my back.”
“I’ll be up soon dear, I’ll bring the rub.”
She came up a few hours later and found him in the fetal position fast asleep.

The following day Peter woke with severe lower back pain. As he showered he felt a lump on his tailbone.
They can’t fix a tailbone I’ll just have to grin and bear it. Jeez it hurts! He pecked Jane on the top of her head, and drove to work. This time he didn’t want the music on. The ride seemed interminably long, but he got to his office on time, as always. He shut the door to fester in his pain. He was unable to sit at his drawing board to work on an ad for children’s vitamins. This was to be of a cartoon kid and a cartoon mother and a bouncing vitamin. He preferred a drawing board than designing on a computer. He was old school.

As lunchtime came close, he was unable to sit anymore; the pain was dreadful. He paced up and down and angrily swatted a pile of papers off his desk. They fluttered all around. Then he threw a stapler against the wall.
There was a soft knock on his door.
“Are you alright?” Ms Finn said, opening his door. “What’s up? Are you okay?”
“I hurt myself on my exercise bike. My tailbone hurts like a bitch. I couldn’t sleep.”
“Let me look,” she said, approaching his desk.
He pulled out his shirt from his pants. She wants me and I can’t perform I am in pain.
She pulled his pants down a bit, bent him over his desk. She saw a red lump. It was pretty big. She gasped, “That doesn’t look good, Pete. You have a ginormous lump there. You’ve really hurt yourself. I’ll get some ice.”
“Thanks, Ms. Finn.” She looked concerned. So she really doesn’t want me. She looks worried. He waited, L-shaped over his desk feeling foolish. She returned fast carrying a bag of ice, and took him into the lounge and made him lie on his side.
“Keep it on until it melts.” She stroked his fine hair and left the room.

That evening he didn’t talk about his injury to Jane, her lack of concern shut him up. She took two Hungry Man dinners out of the microwave and gave him one.
“No more of these TV dinners, Jane. They are loaded with chemicals and salt. Since you’re home all day, can’t you cook, even if it’s simple?”
“I despise cooking. You know that, Pete.’
“Yup, I know all the things you don’t like. What do you like?”
“I like shopping…what are you getting at?”
“There are so many cards in your wallet, you’ll put us in the poor house even before we’re married.” He shifted around on the kitchen chair. She didn’t notice. She was thinking he was cruel and uncaring. And he didn’t care. It was becoming clear to him that maybe his love for her was fading, like old curtains.

In the shower the next day he cautiously felt, his tailbone was bigger. The lump was pliable and prickly. As soon as he got into work Ms. Finn asked him about his injury.
“It’s getting bigger and I am getting rather concerned,” he whispered. She looked at it again, going through the same routine as the day before.
“Jeez it’s so much bigger! You have to see a doctor.”
“They can’t fix a tailbone.” Pete was terrified about doctors. What if it’s a tumor? He turned pale.
“Pete, let’s go the hospital right now.”
“I don’t want to. What if I die?! What if I have some sort of tumor—cancer?’
She encouraged Peter to go home and rest.
“I can’t Jane doesn’t give a shit anyway.”
“Come home with me. I’ll take care of you.”

He reluctantly agreed. She drove slowly so as not to cause him pain. She owned a big Victorian house that was detailed in hues of green and mauve and touches of yellow.
She made them a steaming pot of tea. They talked for many hours about their lives. She told him she had been born and raised in Boston. She was one of a large group of Irish immigrants. She had many brothers and sisters and often couldn’t remember some of their names. He laughed at her stories, she told them so well.
“And you, tell me everything about yourself.” She sat next to him on the Victorian sofa with its wooden legs, and rubbed his shoulders “Thanks for being so caring, Ms. Finn.”
“Call me Jennifer,” she said. “Now it’s time to share your life with me.”
“Well,” he said, “I was raised in New York City. I am of Italian descent and I have three sisters. My Mom and Dad both love to cook. They make huge dinners—pasta, sausages, risotto, cheesecake. We eat with them every Sunday at the beginning of the month. It’s a lot of fun.”
“Talking about food, I think we must be both hungry. I made a stew yesterday. How about I heat it up, and we’ll eat some of my homemade biscuits?”
His stomach growled at the thought of real food, and nodded heartily. They feasted on the thick stew, buttering her homemade biscuits and drank wine.
“How do you feel now? Did the conversation, meal and wine help ease your pain?” She leaned over him and kissed him gently on his mouth.
“I have to call Jane, my fiancé, and tell her I will be very late, that I am loaded down with work.” He opened his cell phone to call, but Jennifer said,
“Wait a minute, stay the night, Pete. Tell her your car broke down or something.”
It was at that moment he knew something would happen. By God, did he want this beautiful woman! All his boundaries disappeared into a fog laced place in his heart. He put the thought of Jane aside as she led him upstairs to bed. They kissed and held each other for what seemed for hours. He couldn’t wait any more and slid down her pale beautiful skin making her moan as he went down on her. She took him inside her and he thrust hard and strong until they came panting together.
“Jennifer, that was incredible.” He said kissing her lips. He eased himself on  his side remembering his painful tailbone.
“That was incredible. Are you alright?” she asked.
“I think so,” he said, touching his back. Something had changed. He felt bristles sprouting from the lump, and suddenly he got terrified. He kept it to himself. He didn’t want to gross her out, and he was sure she would be.
The next morning they showered together. He soaped up her soft skin as they clung together under the steaming hot water. They did it hungrily like teenagers for the first time.
“Stay here today, Pete. The work can wait.”
“Let me check that lump again.”
“No. I’m fine,” he said.
She looked at him with curiosity. “What’s going on?” She felt his back and then withdrew her hand fast. “You’ve got bristles growing! What’s happening to you?”
“I don’t know. I’m scared.” He lay on her couch, nervous as a Jack Rabbit, while she went to the office.
“Call me if you need me.” She kissed him and left.

He called Jane not knowing what to tell her. She complained that she was in the middle of a show.
“Fuck you, Jane! You do nothing all day. Don’t you care where I was last night?”
“You said the car broke down.”
“It did and I had to stay in a motel.’
“I’ll be home later, we have to talk.”
“Is something wrong?
“I’ll tell you later.”

When Jennifer came home Pete had gone. He had left her a note.
Jennifer I have to go home and talk to Jane. Maybe I’ll see you later if that’s okay?
She sat at the table forlorn and read the newspaper. The time was passing slowly. She began to want him. She fell into an erotic trance and couldn’t shake it off.

Pete pulled into the garage nervously. He had to talk to Jane. She was standing before the microwave, her usual place. Her usual stance.
“I have something to tell you.” He spoke first in a whisper and then into a crescendo.
“Get away from that damn microwave and sit down. This is important.”
She walked slowly to the kitchen table, her pleasant face now somber.
He sat down too. His tailbone throbbed. “Jane, I have met someone else. Sorry, but you and I are not compatible, and you are a lazy b…..”
“What about the wedding? What about us?!” A tears slowly trickled down her face and she wiped them off with her sweater sleeve. “I hate you Pete! You’ve strung me along all this time, being engaged and all.” She wriggled off her ruby engagement ring and flung it at him. It made a tinny noise as it fell to the floor. She had doubted it was real gold and a real ruby. The light tinkle gave it away. “You fucking asshole, I hate you!” She yelled between tears.
“You don’t care about me, Jane. Yesterday I asked you to rub my tailbone and you never did it. I needed you, and you were in your own world of Woman’s Day, and Soap Opera Digest. I’m so outta here!” He packed up his clothes in the suitcase that was meant for their honeymoon and stormed out, wincing in pain as he went.

An hour later he was standing outside the Victorian house with its purple painted gables. He knocked on the yellow door.
Jennifer was expecting him. All her men came back around, but Pete was special; he was now her lover. The feelings were raw and untamed. There was also a growing tinge of love.
“I missed you at the office today, you seem to cheer everyone up. How is your tailbone?”
“I haven’t had time to look but it feels really strange. I broke off my engagement today.
Jennifer’s eyes widened. She had him now, all to herself. “Come on in Pete,” she said, not knowing how to process all the information.
She pulled off his gray trench coat, pulled down his pants and underwear, as if he was a little boy, and stared at the spot. “Pete, it’s longer. Reach behind you and feel it.
He was filled with dreaded fear as his hand slowly touched the raw area. “Oh my God!” He stopped for a minute; the words were stuck like bubble gum in his throat.
“It’s about a foot long, stubby, hard and furry. It’s brown,” she said excitedly. Her nipples turned into hard cherries, and there was dampness forming in her underwear. “Come on upstairs, Pete. You turn me on.”
She led him upstairs, and he kissed her hard and furiously, flicking his new tail across her wetness. He guided his splendid tail into her.
“I could get used to this,” she said. “Do you want to move in? We’ll have lots of babies’ smushing and smearing baby food all over the place!” She said at the moment of ecstasy.
“Yes, yes, I do.” He said proudly. “I love you, Ms. Finn.”
“I love you too, Peter.”
They both laughed.

ana christy

ABOUT PHILIP WALEN

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ABOUT PHILIP WALEN

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Philip Whalen: Plums, Metaphysics, an Investigation, a Visit, and a Short Funeral Ode
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Philip Whalen reads

 

On Friday, October 7, 1955 Philip Whalen read at the underground art gallery the Six Gallery in San Francisco. Also reading that night were Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Lamanita, Michael McClure, and Gary Snyder. Conceived by Wally Hedrick, co-founder of the Six Gallery, the reading brought public attention to the West Coast Beats. Though Whalen hung out with beat poets, his own voice differs from theirs. On the Poetry Foundation’s biography web page for Whalen, they point out that his work’s reverential treatment of the mundane, its self-deprecating humor, and its generally apolitical tone. distinguishes him from other beat poets.

Born October 23, 1923 in Portland Oregon, Philip Whalen grew up in the small town of The Dalles, eighty miles south of Portland. He attended Reed College on the GI Bill after serving in the US Army Air Force in WWII. In High School he had read Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. In a 1999 interview he told David Meltzer that after reading Blavatsky …I went to see where was she coming from? Where is she getting all this stuff? And then I found the actual translations of the actual Vedanta writings. You know the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita and so on. And that was very satisfying that this system was really there, and it made sense to me…. After release from the army, he visited the Vedanta Society in Portland, but did not attend due to the expense. He was introduced to D. T. Suzuki’s books lent to him by his roommate Gary Snyder, and followed a Zen path eventually becoming head monk of Dharma Shagha in Santa Fe.

Whalen wrote his poetry in notebooks and accompanied them with doodles and other visual elements. He considered his calligraphic text an important layer in his work. In her introduction to his selected works Overtime, Leslie Scalapino says: Whalen not only posits the poetry to be a graph of the mind moving, but he contrives to break that mind apart: writing is to make no connection as it’s being in the instant of and being the act of disjunction.

He appears as the character Warren Coughlin in Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums. In addition to poetry, Whalen wrote two novels: “You Didn’t Even Try” and “Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head”.

Whalen’s vision deteriorated as he aged to the point where he could no longer read. He died June 26, 2002.
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1923–2002

Philip Whalen is often labelled a “Beat poet” because he enjoyed his first creative achievement during the years when Beat literature thrived. As an ally and confidant of the major figures of the Beat Generation—and as a significant poet in his own right—Whalen is generally considered one of the pioneering forces behind the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the mid-1950s. The author’s work differs from much Beat writing in its reverential treatment of the mundane, its self-deprecating humor, and its generally apolitical tone. Dictionary of Literary Biography essayist Paul Christensen writes: “Whalen’s singular style and personality contribute to his character in verse as a bawdy, honest, moody, complicated songster of the frenzied mid-century, an original troubadour and thinker who refused to take himself too seriously during the great revival of visionary lyric in American poetry.”

As a writer living in the West during the Beat era, Whalen certainly shared many of the concerns of other Beat writers—Zen Buddhism and other Asian religions, a concern for the environment, sexual freedom, experimental poetics, and exploration of hallucinogenic drugs, for instance. Christensen notes that the poet “got his start from the wild energies released in his early years in California,” but adds that Whalen’s “purposes and his ambitions always lay outside the immediate ethos of that original circle. He shared in its good ties and believed in the purposes of the other writers, but his humor and curious loneliness made for a different vein of verse, not better necessarily,

 

but unique and durable as the voice of a diffident, intelligent American.” Christensen concludes that Whalen “thought of art as an act of personal delight and as a consolation to solitude…. It was in keeping with his image of writing that he could devote himself to his work without making it serve any other end but its own self-fulfillment.”

David Kherdian comes to a similar conclusion in Six Poets of the San Francisco Renaissance: Portraits and Checklists. “Many poets today look on themselves as the saviors and martyrs of their time,” Kherdian writes. “Whalen, on the contrary, is not concerned with revolutions and social panaceas. If he sees the big man at all he sees him in the small situation: tripping over a pebble on his journey to deliver a rose. Out of themes that are often seemingly mundane and prosaic he creates poetry of significance because his vision is peculiarly his own and because the clarity of his intelligence is capable of grasping and arresting meaning in seemingly ephemeral and unimportant subjects.” Christensen sees this unique vision as a particular strength of Whalen’s work: “Whalen has managed to espouse the religious principles of Zen Buddhism without renouncing the world around him, retaining a humorous, whimsical balance in his poems, and mixing the pleasures of California life with contemplation in such a way as to persuade readers that the flesh and spirit may be enjoyed together in the fulfillment of one’s life.”

Whalen was born in 1923 in Portland, Oregon. He grew up in the small Columbia River town of The Dalles and attended public schools. He began writing poetry at the age of sixteen, experimenting with various traditional forms of verse and contributing to his high school’s literary magazine. According to Christensen, Whalen “had the ambition to follow the kind of double life of the poet William Carlos Williams, who supported a poetry career by his medical practice.” Unfortunately, the Whalen family could not afford college tuition fees, so Whalen took jobs as a laborer in a Portland airplane factory and at the local shipyards.

In 1943 Whalen was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps and was trained to teach radio operation and maintenance. The position kept him stateside during the Second World War and allowed him enough free time to read and write. Thus he was able to widen his experience with Asian literature and philosophy, an interest begun in his high school years. Also during his military service Whalen expanded the use of notebooks for jotting down his impressions and experimenting with scribbled bits of poetry.

After his discharge in 1946, Whalen returned to Portland and enrolled at Reed College under the G.I. Bill. There he worked at his studies and his creative writing at a near-frenzied pace, determined to become an accomplished writer. He received encouragement from his instructors and from William Carlos Williams, who visited Reed in 1950.

Perhaps more important to Whalen’s development was his budding friendship with Lew Welch and Gary Snyder. Whalen met Welch and Snyder in the late 1940s and moved into a rooming house with them in 1950. Christensen notes that the young writers “shared their works, encouraged one another, and established a bohemian style of their own in the subculture of the Reed literati.” As the 1950s unfolded, the critic adds, Whalen, Snyder, and Welch “brought a compelling style of writing to the California ferment—a style clearly marked by subtle intelligence, compassion for nature (doubtless borne into them by the beauty of the Oregon mountains and wilderness), and a keenly felt spiritual reality which Snyder and Whalen both interpreted religiously in later years.”
READ MORE CLICK LINK

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/philip-whalen

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CHARLES BUKOWSKI “BARFLY” THE MOVIE

CharlesBukowski“BARFLY” IN SPANISH, WITH SUBTITLES-WORTH WATCHING- “images (107)LEAVES YOU FEELING SLEEZY AND DIRTY WITH A PUNCH TO THE FACE” Ana Christy
ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES.

“BARFLY”

 

FOR TOM GEORGE. CHECK OUT HIS VERY COOL BLOG tomgeorgearts.wordpress.com

CHARLES BUKOWSKI “BARFLY” THE MOVIE

Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

HERBERT HUNCKE AT THE CHELSEA HOTEL NEW VIDEO

 

Herbert Huncke

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, August 24, 1994 08:33 am

In his autobiographical novel ‘Junky,’ William S. Burroughs introduces himself into New York’s heroin underworld by selling a gun and a supply of morphine to two men named Roy and Herman. He describes Herman:

Waves of hostility and suspicion flowed out from his large brown eyes like some sort of television broadcast. The effect was almost like a physical impact. The man was small and very thin, his neck loose in the collar of his shirt. His complexion faded from brown to a mottled yellow, and pancake make-up had been heavily applied in an attempt to conceal a skin eruption. His mouth was drawn down at the corners in a grimace of petulant annoyance.

This was Herbert Huncke, who was born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Massachusetts on January 9, 1915 and grew up in Chicago. As a teenager he was drawn to the underbelly of city life, and quickly began learning how to support himself as a professional drifter and small-time thief. A small and unthreatening lawbreaker, he embodied a certain honest-criminal ethic so purely that Burroughs and his friends came to love him for it. Jack Kerouac wrote adoringly of him (as Elmer Hassel) in On The Road, and Allen Ginsberg shared his New York City apartment with him, even though he realized Huncke and his junkie friends were storing stolen goods there. This phase ended in a dramatic police bust on Utopia Parkway in Bayside, Queens, during which Ginsberg frantically phoned Huncke and told him to “clean out the place” before the cops got there. Ginsberg arrived at his apartment moments ahead of the cops to find that Huncke had taken him literally. He’d tidied up and swept the floor, but the stolen goods were not moved. Ginsberg might not have been amused at the time, but there’s a certain Zen purity to this kind of thing that makes it clear why Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac all liked Huncke so much.

Huncke was said to have introduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat,’ which Kerouac then used to describe his generation to John Clellon Holmes. Huncke does seem to have a way with words, because he later attempted to become a writer, and a story called ‘Elsie John,’ reprinted in ‘The Beat Reader,’ is surprisingly good. Still, I think it’s pushing it a bit that Huncke taught writing workshops at Ginsberg’s Naropa Institute poetry school. I wouldn’t go to Herbert Huncke to learn how to write anymore than I’d go to Allen Ginsberg to learn how to be a thief.

But his prose can be effective and fascinating, and there has been an increasing interest in Huncke as a writer in recent years. A superb collection of Huncke’s best writings, ‘The Herbert Huncke Reader,’ was published by William Morrow in September 1997, and filmmaker Laki Vazakas’s cinema verite documentary ‘Huncke and Louis‘ records for history the paradoxical life of a celebrated literary drug addict in old age. This film includes some heartbreaking scenes of the breakdown and death of Huncke’s longtime friend and companion Louis Cartwright, who was unable to walk the line of the addict’s life as gracefully as Huncke, and dies a lonely death. Huncke, the survivor, sits on the edge of a bed and sobs — and then goes on surviving.

I was never introduced to Herbert Huncke but I did see him “around town” a bit before he died on August 8, 1996 in a New York City hospital. Whenever I saw him, the first thought that would come to my mind was always “this is Elmer Hassel”.

 

 

Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’ Dies at 81

By ROBERT McG. THOMAS Jr.
Published: August 9, 1996

Herbert Huncke, the charismatic street hustler, petty thief and perennial drug addict who enthralled and inspired a galaxy of acclaimed writers and gave the Beat Generation its name, died yesterday at Beth Israel Hospital. He was 81.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Jerry Poynton, his friend and literary executor.

Mr. Huncke had lived long enough to become a writer himself and a hero to a new generation of adoring artists and writers, not to mention a reproach to a right-thinking, clean-living establishment that had long predicted his imminent demise.

In an age when it was hip to be hip, Mr. Huncke (whose name rhymes with junkie) was the prototypical hipster, the man who gave William S. Burroughs his first fix, who introduced Jack Kerouac to the term beat and who guided them, as well as Allen Ginsberg and John Clellon Holmes, through the nether world of Times Square in the 1940’s.

 

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’
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They honored him in turn by making him an icon of his times. He became the title character (Herbert) in Mr. Burroughs’s first book, ”Junkie” (1962). He was Ancke in Mr. Holmes’s 1952 novel, ”Go.” He appears under his own name in innumerable Ginsberg poems, including ”Howl” (1956) with its haunting reference to ”Huncke’s bloody feet.”

And if it was the fast-talking, fast-driving Neal Cassady who became Mr. Kerouac’s chief literary obsession, as the irrepressible Dean Moriarty in Mr. Kerouac’s 1957 breakthrough classic, ”On the Road,” Mr. Huncke (who was Elmo Hassel in ”On the Road”) was there first.

As Junkey, he was the dominant character in the urban half of Mr. Kerouac’s first book, ”The Town and the City,” and made later appearances as Huck in ”Visions of Cody” and ”Books of Dreams.”

All this for a teen-age runaway who said he was using drugs as early as 12, selling sex by the time he was 16, stealing virtually anything he could get his hands on throughout his life and never once apologizing for a moment of it.

”I always followed the road of least resistance,” he said in a 1992 interview. ”I just continued to do what I wanted. I didn’t weigh or balance things. I started out this way and I never really changed.”

Actually, he didn’t quite start out that way. Born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Mass., on Dec. 9, 1915, he moved with his family to Detroit when he was 4 and two years later to Chicago, where his father ran his own machine-parts distributing company.

By his own accounts he seems to have had an uneventful early childhood, but his parents divorced, and by the time he was in his early teens he was on the street, acquiring a lifelong passion for drugs and discovering the joys — and lucrative possibilities — of sex with men. He was also beginning a life of crime, first as a runner for the Capone gang and later as a burglar and thief.

Hitting the road early, he served for a time with the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. He traveled around the country until 1939, when he arrived in Manhattan and found a psychic home in Times Square.

Making his base of operations the Angle bar at 42d Street and Eighth Avenue, he sold drugs at times and himself at others, not always with notable success. Mr. Huncke once confided to a friend that he had not been a successful hustler: ”I was always falling in love,” he said.

It was in 1945 that an elegantly dressed man in a Chesterfield coat knocked on the door of an apartment where Mr. Huncke was living. The visitor, who was in search of Mr. Huncke’s roommate in the hope of selling him a sawed-off shotgun, was Mr. Burroughs. Mr. Huncke would recount that he took one look and told his roommate to get rid of him. ”He’s the F.B.I.,” he said.

Mr. Burroughs proved anything but, and within days Mr. Huncke had introduced him to heroin and sealed a lifelong friendship that included a 1947 visit to a marijuana farm Mr. Burroughs had started in Texas.

It was through Mr. Burroughs that Mr. Huncke soon met Mr. Ginsberg, then a Columbia undergraduate, and Mr. Kerouac, a recent Columbia dropout who became so enchanted with Mr. Huncke’s repeated use of the carny term ”beat,” meaning tired and beaten down, that he later used it as his famous label for the Beat Generation. (Mr. Kerouac later clouded things by suggesting it was derived from ”beatific.”)

An aspiring, Columbia-centered literary crowd was soon learning at Mr. Huncke’s feet. Among other things, he introduced them to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, who after meeting Mr. Huncke at the Angle had interviewed him about his colorful sex life and hired him to recruit other subjects.

Though it seemed strange to some people that such a wide array of literary figures found Mr. Huncke so enchanting, he was always more than he seemed. For all his disreputable pursuits, he had elegant, refined manners and a searing honesty. He was also uncommonly well read for someone who had never been to high school, and such a natural and affecting storyteller that he could keep a table of admirers enthralled until the wee hours.

He also had a code of honor. Yes, he might steal from his friends if he needed a fix, but did not inform on them, something he proved on a number of occasions when the police sought his help in developing charges against his celebrity friends.

Mr. Huncke, who spent a total of 11 years in prison, including almost all of the 1950’s, was unrepentant, a man whose acceptance of crime as his fate bolstered his friends’ views that he was a victim of a rigid, unfeeling society.

If his friends saw him as fodder for their literary work, Mr. Huncke, as he later claimed, saw them as marks. There is, perhaps, a certain paradox in Mr. Huncke’s use of his literary friends as literary fodder. Mr. Huncke himself began writing in the 1940’s, locking himself in a stall in the men’s room in the subway. He described it as the only place he could work in peace, scribbling away in his notebooks.

Taking the Kerouac idea of writing nearly automatic prose even further than Mr. Kerouac did, Mr. Huncke turned out a series of memoirs that have been praised for their unaffected style. Those who heard him regale listeners say his books read as if he were telling a spontaneous anecdote around a table at the Angle.

”Huncke’s Journal” (1965) was followed by ”Elsie John and Joey Martinez” (1979), ”The Evening Sun Turned Crimson” (1980) and ”Guilty of Everything” (1990, Hanuman Books).

The books and Mr. Huncke’s role in a brash new literary movement made him famous to a younger generation, and he had several successful lecture tours in recent years.

His books did not make much money, but they didn’t need to. Friends contributed willingly to the upkeep of Mr. Huncke, who seemed proud that he had no talent for regular work.

It was a reflection of his continued standing among self-styled counterculturists that one of his most generous benefactors was a man who had never met him: Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who is said to have helped with his rent at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, where Mr. Huncke lived for the last several years.

Mr. Huncke, whose longtime companion, Louis Cartwright, was killed in 1994, is survived by his half brother, Dr. Brian Huncke of Chicago.

Photo: Herbert Huncke, hustler, drug addict and inspiration for Beat writers. (Brian Graham)

 

 

IN 1998 AT A DINER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE MY HUSBAND AND I WERE HAVING BREAKFAST IN A DINER. WE WERE ATTENDING A CELEBRATION OF KEROAUC IN LOWELL, MA. HERBERT HUNCKE WHO WAS SITTING AT ANOTHER TABLE GAVE ME A BLURB FOR MY BOOK OF POETRY “REAL JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE” HE WROTE “IT IS TRUE REALY JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE”

Aside
RICHARD BRAUTIGAN-HIS LIFE-ABOUT HIS BIOGRAPHY AND SOME POEMS

RICHARD BRAUTIGAN -HIS LIFE-HIS BIOGRAPHY,A READING AND POEMS

Richard_Brautiganimages (52)

The Brautigan PagesPosted by jen. Sponsor a Poet Page |  Much of the information regarding Richard Brautigan’s life and death is uncertain. He was born in 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. His father left home before he was born, and his childhood was apparently a troubled one marked by poverty. He did not attend college. At some point in the mid-1950s, he left home for San Francisco, where he became involved in the Beat scene. In 1957, Brautigan married Virginia Dionne Adler, the mother of his only child, Ianthe. (They would divorce in 1970.) Although Brautigan, whose work largely defies classification, is not properly considered a Beat writer, he shared the Beats’ aversion to middle class values, commercialism, and conformity.  Brautigan’s success as a poet was marginal. He published several slim volumes, all with small presses, but none of these received much recognition. It wasn’t until the publication of Trout Fishing in America (1967), which many consider his best novel, that Brautigan caught the public’s attention and was transformed into a cult hero. By 1970, Trout Fishing in America had become the namesake of a commune, a free school, and an underground newspaper.  In 1972, Brautigan withdrew from the public eye and went to live on in a small home in Bolinas, California. In the eight years that followed, he only rarely accepted invitations to lecture and consistently declined to be interviewed. In 1976, he made his first trip to Japan, where he lived off-and-on until his death. There he met Akiko, whom he married in 1978; the marriage failed, and they were divorced two years later. During the year of 1982, Brautigan taught at Montana State University in Bozeman. He then withdrew again. In October of 1984, his body was discovered at his home; he had shot himself in the head some four or five weeks earlier.  Richard Brautigan’s poetry collections include June 30th, June 30th (Delacorte, 1978), Loading Mercy with a Pitchfork (1975), Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt (1970), The San Francisco Weather Report (1969), and Please Plant This Book (eight poems printed on separate seed packet envelopes, 1968). His novels include The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980), Willard and his Bowling Trophies (1975), In Watermelon Sugar (1967), and A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964). Brautigan’s last novel was recently discovered and published posthumously, under the title An Unfortunate Woman (Rebel Inc., 2000). A Selected Bibliography Poetry June 30th, June 30th (1978) Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork (1976) Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt (1970) The Octopus Frontier (1960) The Return of the Rivers (1957) Prose Willard and His Bowling Trophies (1975) In Watermelon Sugar (1967) Trout Fishing in America (1967) A Confederate General From Big Sur (1964 – See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/678#sthash.CI1wcSPh.dpuf

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RICHARD BRAUTIGAN INTERVIEW AND POETRY

Books of The Times

In Pursuit of Pleasure and Trout

Richard Brautigan Biography, ‘Jubilee Hitchhiker’

Vernon Merritt III/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Richard Brautigan

By DWIGHT GARNER

Published: May 22, 2012

For a committed sensualist and prototypical hippie, a man who wore floppy hats, granny glasses, love beads and a droopy mustache that made him look like General Custer at an acid test, Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) had a potent work ethic.

JUBILEE HITCHHIKER

The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan

By William Hjortsberg

Illustrated. 852 pages. Counterpoint. $42.50.

Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times
Janie Camp

William Hjortsberg
He wrote nearly every morning, regardless of keening hangovers. He spent the rest of the day, William Hjortsberg notes in “Jubilee Hitchhiker,” his sprawling and definitive new biography of this most offbeat of American writers, “in pursuit of happiness.” Happiness for Brautigan usually meant, to borrow the title of an undervalued W. M. Spackman novel, an armful of warm girl. In San Francisco, where he mostly lived, and elsewhere, he had groupies and would hit on “anything that wasn’t nailed down,” one friend commented. He put some of his favorite bohemian cuties on the front of his books. “Richard’s sexual archive,” another friend said, “is reflected on his book covers.” Happiness meant seeing plenty of movies. Once he began making money, in the early 1970s, it also meant good food (oysters, pork buns, the most expensive lobsters at The Palm steakhouse) and guns, which, when drunk, he would frequently discharge indoors. Brautigan and the film director Sam Peckinpah, a friend, once opened fire with a .357 Magnum and a .38 Colt at an alley cat through an open hotel room window.

Brautigan’s signal pleasure, though, from the time he was a young boy, growing up poor in a broken family in Tacoma, Wash., until the end of his life, was trout fishing. It was an obsession that fed his first and probably best novel, “Trout Fishing in America,” written in 1961 but not issued by a major publishing house until 1969.

Generations of anglers have picked up “Trout Fishing in America” based on its title alone, expecting a how-to volume. What they get instead is akin to a gentle tab of LSD: an eccentric and slyly profound novel, seemingly narrated by the ghost of trout fishing past and filled with surreal post-“Walden” visions like a dismembered trout stream for sale at a junkyard.

Brautigan wrote his best novels — “Trout Fishing in America,” “A Confederate General From Big Sur” (1964), “In Watermelon Sugar” (1968) and “The Abortion” (1971) — and books of poetry, notably “The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster” (1968) before fame swamped him in the early ’70s, when he was in his mid-to-late 30s.

He got rich suddenly and enjoyed himself vastly. His writing got woolier and worse, however, and the critics turned on him. He spent most of the money. His looks began to go. (One of his best-known poems is titled “My Nose Is Growing Old.”) Neurotic and increasingly in debt, he committed suicide with a handgun in 1984, at 49.

Critics have clashed over the merits of even his best stuff, many agreeing with Jonathan Yardley, who said that Brautigan was “the Love Generation’s answer to Charlie Schultz. Happiness is a warm hippie.” But the novelist Thomas McGuane, later to become a close friend, reviewed an omnibus edition of his early work with admiration in The New York Times Book Review. In a letter, the critic Malcolm Cowley called Brautigan’s poems, “pensées, like grasshoppers in flight.”

In this overly long but involving new biography, Mr. Hjortsberg, a novelist who was a friend and neighbor of Brautigan’s during his Montana years, nails the qualities that I’ve admired about Brautigan’s work, notably his “easy offhand voice, his concern for average working-class people, his matter-of-fact treatment of death, and his often startling juxtaposition of wildly disparate images.”

One of the merits of “Jubilee Hitchhiker” is that it not only tracks Brautigan’s life but also deftly flips open any number of worlds, from the Beat and counterculture scenes in San Francisco to gonzo times in Montana with writers like Mr. McGuane and Jim Harrison, and wildcats like Warren Zevon, Rip Torn, Jeff Bridges, Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean Stanton.

Brautigan was essentially a loner, but he had a Zelig-like quality and seemed to know everyone and go everywhere. He drank heavily in Western bars with the young Jimmy Buffett. He shot basketball and tore up money (a long story) with Jack Nicholson. He had an impromptu pasta sauce cook-off with Francis Ford Coppola. He drunkenly pointed a rifle at Wim Wenders, who had mildly criticized the translation in one of Brautigan’s German editions. Janis Joplin wanted him to name her new band.

Bored at a party one night, he hurled a brick through a window, a typical Brautigan performance. When the host screamed at him, he replied, “I don’t want things to be predictable.”

Brautigan and his three siblings grew up in and around Tacoma, Wash., (and later, Eugene, Ore.); his mother worked as a cashier, among other jobs. He never knew his father.He was a tall, shy, pale kid, a Boo Radley whom few at his high school paid attention to. He knew from a young age he wanted to write, but didn’t attend college.

When Brautigan was 20, sick with unrequited love for a girl named Linda, he wandered into a police station and asked to be arrested. To make sure he was, he threw a rock through a glass panel. He ended up in a mental institution, receiving electroshock therapy 12 times.

A year later, in 1956, Brautigan made his way to San Francisco, falling in with a scene that included the poets Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley and Gary Snyder. Allen Ginsberg didn’t like Brautigan, nicknaming him Frood. Brautigan was livid when the publicity material for his novel “A Confederate General From Big Sur” linked him with the Beats.

He slowly developed his literary style and cultivated his look. By the mid-’60s he was a San Francisco celebrity. He printed poems on seed packets and gave them away in a collection titled “Please Plant This Book.” He appeared regularly in Herb Caen’s popular San Francisco Chronicle newspaper column. In the late 1960s he published some two dozen short stories in his friend Jann Wenner’s new magazine, Rolling Stone.

Brautigan went national in 1969, when Delacorte Press published “Trout Fishing in America,” “The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster” and “In Watermelon Sugar” in one volume. Before long he dearly wished to shed his whimsical image.

He never could. When he got drunk and said something cruel about Mr. McGuane in public at a party, the author writes, Mr. McGuane spat back, “You’re nothing but a pet rock.” He then called Brautigan a “hula hoop” and concluded, “You should get down on your knees every day and thank God for creating hippies!”

Brautigan was a generous man who had a dark side. He was prone to anger and jealousy. He married twice but was never faithful for long. He was sexist, even for his time. He had a bondage fetish that spooked some women. He wrote a comic poem about venereal disease, but his own recurring bouts of herpes weren’t funny at all.

This jumbo-size biography is perhaps an odd tribute to a writer whose books were tiny, like small sachets of fragrant rice. It’s on the Robert Caro side of things. It’s total overkill. But it’s an enjoyable soak in American literary bohemia, and a cleareyed portrait of a man whom Mr. Hjortsberg aptly calls “a connoisseur of the perfect moment.” His book is full of them.

30 Cents, Two Transfers, Love
by Richard Brautigan

Thinking hard about you
I got on the bus
and paid 30 cents car fare
and asked the driver for two transfers
before discovering
that I was
alone.

The Beautiful Poem
by Richard Brautigan

I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.

Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
affectionately.

Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.
3 A.M.
January 15, 1967

San Francisco
by Richard Brautigan
This poem was found written on a paper bag by Richard
Brautigan in a laundromat in San Francisco. The author is unknown.

By accident, you put
Your money in my
Machine (#4)
By accident, I put
My money in another
Machine (#6)
On purpose, I put
Your clothes in the
Empty machine full
Of water and no
Clothes

It was lonely.

Deer Tracks

Beautiful, sobbing
high-geared ****
and then to lie silently
like deer tracks in the
freshly-fallen snow beside
the one you love.
That’s all.

Love Poem

by Richard Brautigan

It’s so nice to wake up in the morning all alone and not have to tell somebody you love them when you don’t love them any more.

RICHARD BRAUTIGAN-HIS LIFE-ABOUT HIS BIOGRAPHY AND SOME POEMS

Gregory Corso

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Gregory Corso

ImageImageImageImage

Gregory Corso

Gregory Corso passed away on January 19, 2001 at the age of 70, after a long illness. Corso was one of the major figures of the Beat Generation. He was a poet, painter, traveler, and occasional lecturer. His vibrant, vital, authentic poetry celebrates the mystery of life and death through everyday detail and mystic visions.

Though he never gained the truly widespread fame that his fellow Beats Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs enjoyed, his work had an impact on contemporary poetics that continues to this day.

His poetry has earned praise from many. Jack Kerouac is quoted as saying (on the back cover of Corso’s “Gasoline”) “I think that Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg are the two best poets in America and that they can’t be compared to each other.

Gregory Corso, Marin Headlands, 1978 © Larry KeenanGregory Corso, Marin Headlands, 1978 © Larry Keenan

Gregory was a tough young kid from the Lower East Side who rose like an angel over the rooftops and sang Italian songs as sweet as Caruso and Sinatra, but in words. ‘Sweet Milanese hills’ brood in his Renaissance soul, evening is coming on the hills. Amazing and beautiful Gregory Corso, the one & only Gregory the Herald. Read slowly and see.”

Bob Dylan has spoken about how the early Beat writing, and particularly Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Ferlinghetti’s “Coney Island of the Mind,” and Corso’s “Gasoline” awakened him to new possibilities of the written word.

Corso was born in Greenwich Village, New York, on March 26, 1930. He had a turbulent childhood, his mother abandoning the family to return to Italy, and his father unable to offer much support. Gregory was a chronic runaway, and was in and out of jail during his adolescence.

He began reading & writing poetry while serving time in prison for theft. Shortly after his release, he met Allen Ginsberg in a Greenwich Village bar, and, after showing Ginsberg some of his poems, the two became close friends. Allen Ginsberg introduced Corso to Kerouac, Burroughs, and his other literary friends. Thus was the beginning of a great literary career.

Some of Gregory Corso’s major publications are:

  • “The Vestal Lady on Brattle & Other Poems,  1955
  • Gasoline,  1958
  • The Happy Birthday of Death,  1960
  • The American Express,  1961
  • Long Live Man,  1962
  • Elegaic Feeling American
  • 1970
  • The Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit,  1981
  • Mindfield: New and Selected Poems,  1989

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Here’s some more info on Gregory Corso:

Last Night I Drove a Car

Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
…went 120 through one town.

I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
…excited about my new life.

Online Source

Destiny

They deliver the edicts of God
without delay
And are exempt from apprehension
from detention
And with their God-given
Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria
ferry like bolts of lightning
unhindered between the tribunals
of Space and Time

The Messenger-Spirit
in human flesh
is assigned a dependable,
self-reliant, versatile,
thoroughly poet existence
upon its sojourn in life

It does not knock
or ring the bell
or telephone
When the Messenger-Spirit
comes to your door
though locked
It’ll enter like an electric midwife
and deliver the message

There is no tell
throughout the ages
that a Messenger-Spirit
ever stumbled into darkness

Online Source