Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
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"Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit" is a collection of poetry by the prolific Charles Bukowski. In a down-to-earth, vernacular free verse, Bukowski poetically explores a number of recurring themes: women and sex, gambling and games of chance, alcohol, cigarettes, his life as a poet, and other writers.
I see Bukowski as a sort of literary philosopher-satyr who often writes about the crude, seedy side of life. Some of my favorite poems from this collection are as follows: "fire station," a bawdy, boozy narrative poem; "a radio with guts," about the narrator's drunken abuse of the title item; and "interviews," an ironic reflection on encounters with "young men from the underground / newspapers and the small circulation / magazines."
In this book the reader will encounter junkies, drunks, and various colorful characters. Bukowski's tone is sometimes melancholy; often the bawdy life of his poems is haunted by the specter of death. And I was intrigued by his occasional literary references: to Dos Passos, Mailer, Rimbaud, Hemingway, and others. Overall, a compelling volume.
outside the crickets were chirping like mad: Foch, Foch, Foch, Foch! they chirped. I got out my sub-machine gun and blasted the devils but there were so many of them I had to give up. I pulled the wet rubber glove out. I surrender, I said, it’s too much: I can’t change the world. all the so-called ladies in the room applauded. he stood up and bowed gallantly as outside the crickets chirped. I put on my hat and stalked out. I still maintain the French are weak and
no wonder. 40 cigarettes I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes today and my tongue feels like a caterpillar trying to get out for rainwater somebody is working over Pictures at an Exhibition while tiny pimples of sweat work their way down my fat sides. too sick today and told the man over the phone it was stomach pains. the pains in the ass too and the soul? the gophers are underground staring at pictures on mudwalls machineguns are mounted in the windows. 40 cigarettes.
these builders wanted to buy him; he worked in Paris in London and even in Africa, he had his own concept of design… what the fuck? I said, a starving architect, eh? yes, yes, he starved and his wife and his children but he was true to his ideals. a starving architect, eh? yes, he finally came through, I saw him and his wife last Wednesday night, the Waxmans… would you care to meet them? tell him, I said, to stick 3 fingers up his ass and flick-off.
had been whistling that song for years I began whistling right along with him we whistled together for hours him counting screws me packing 8 foot long light fixtures into coffin boxes as the days went on he began to pale and tremble he’d miss a note now and then I whistled on he began to miss days then he missed a week next I knew the word got out Sully was in a hospital for an operation 2 weeks later he came in with a cane and his wife he
again and again, tighten lines like bolts holding the span of a 5 mile bridge, and keep a notebook by your bed, you will get thoughts during the night and these thoughts will vanish and be wasted unless you notate them. and don’t drink, any fool can drink, we are men of letters. for a guy who couldn’t write at all he was about like the rest of them: he could sure talk about it. success I had a most difficult job starting my 14 year old car today in 100 degree heat I