Drinking With Bukowski: Recollections of the Poet Laureate of Skid Row

by edited by Daniel Weizmann. Thunder Mouth Press, 841 Broadway, Fourth Floor, NY, NY. 10003. 221 pages.

Book Review by

What could all of this be about, I wondered? And I wondered if any of this would be any good or just some kinda gimmick book to make the buck off the Buk. And there were not pictures. Just writing. And some of the writing was poems on top of that. And I wondered if these poems, although they were poems by poets I recognized and admired, were not just poem dribble buckets of buckin bull snot? Now I must write that I do not gamble because sometimes I just can’t trust my first notions of buckets of buckin bull snot coated chicken wing brain. All my first fears about this Weizmann book were misguided, cynical, hornet nest infested stupidities and I should have been thinking about butterflies landing on pierced nipples. I wanna also mention before I get on with it that Weizmann, the editor here, also edited a collection of punk era posters called Fucked Up and Photocopies, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in punk aesthetic and art - it is a classic and a text that should be everywhere. Anyway, this book here to view is not punk, but Buk. Well, I must write that Weizmann did his well homework. He gathered up stuff by A. D. Winans, Gerald Locklin, Neeli Cherkovski, as he should of. And then he dug about here and there and came up with the Karen Finley piece on Bukowski (I had only heard of this) and got writing about Bukowski from Cupcakes, FrancEyE, Linda King, and poems from Raymond Carver (one of the classics about Bukowski) and from Wanda Coleman, and remembrances of all things past by John Thomas and Philomene Long and Harold Norse and Barry Miles. I mean here he is, Weizmann, he is workin! And from Bukowski country he has poems and prose by Joan Jobe Smith, Fred Voss, John Kay and a personal narrative, Bukowski Spit in my Face by David Barker (This is another one that I had only heard about during conversation around the office Scotch and Water cooler.). Let us toss in writing by Todd Moore and John Bennett and let’s round it of with the some icing - a very interesting and informative interview with Bukowski done by Sean Penn. Of course there is more. And then there is more. And it is a healthy walk around the block book. No fat. Not a biography. Just right for a beer on Thursday night after work. Or after shoveling the snow, working on the water heater etc. No myth. Not sloppy tributes about how I live in the mountains in Korea and think Bukowski’s urine smells like fermented yak sperm that makes me want to swim with wino walrus! No, no, no, no. Here is a well paced, smartly edited, inclusive and insightful collection of works that brings the life, times, art and person of Charles Bukowski a little more into the real. You will enjoy it. You enjoy it and eat a half dozen crab legs too.