We've been accused of many things - most of them true and some of them were only misdemeanors. But the accusation that hurts us the most is that we have no class. I mean, sure we know there's more to life than football, jazz, eating and drinking - we just haven't had the time to get around to it.

 
So we're going to try to make up for it here.

 
Believe it or not, we actually have friends who can write (some can even complete a sentence), and a few are talented writers. We want to share their work with you here. We'll try to keep the site current and fresh as time goes on.

 
After all, unless it's football season, what will we do with ourselves???


December 4, 2008

RAGE IN NEW ORLEANS


September 2005

 
Military resources deployed to Iraq     

country in need

deep fissures are showing

can you see the cracks?

The past two FEMA Directors

had no disaster management experience

appointed as friends

down graded cabinet position

absorbed by the

Department of Homeland Security with

millions of dollars while

people starved.

Do you feel safe?



We always knew this was coming

40 years of predicitions

3 years of consecutive budget cuts to

save New Orleans

yet tax cuts

line the pockets of the rich watching it

unfold from their summer homes

1st word transforms to 3rd world 

US policy sets a course for

a country’s invastion justified with lies

and they keep

spin, spin, spinning

Asst Security of Homeland Security

compassion illuminated when he

said “Some may have regretted their decision not to evacuate”

Can he not see what we see on the TV

it was the poor, infirmed and

many did follow orders

finding a way to the superdome as

the winds began to howl

a hole was chewed into the roof

and they spent the entire night wondering

if it would come loose

sun rising

air stifled

infused with heat, fear, desparation

toilets filled up

trash overflowed

food got scarce

your mouth dry

people start to scream and fight

and as you watch

a man shake and then stop…..

because he died

right before your eyes

and I can’t help but recognize

the truth that was there all along

our government doesn’t care about the poor.

Relief was slim before, just enough to keep the illusion of the dream possible

and the clock

ticked tocked

nearly a week goes by before

conditions improve

white

black

it made a difference in how likely you were to suffer



Don’t you feel the outraged?

Our government failed us

the thin veil has been removed

our orderly society stabilized by local state and federal laws

vanished under the rising waters

mow I see it was gone long before.



US gun laws armed those thugs

who took advantage of this window of opportunity

wielding their anger backed by bullets.

Where was the National Guard?

buried

in sands

sticky oil

blood

for a war they couldn’t even be bothered to tell us the truth about.

It’s a war on terror

Sept 11

The Department of Homeland Security was supposed to

save us in our hour of need but

no one was around when

boats were tipped over

hospitals robbed

cracks are everywhere now

the water is pouring in

spot gas shortages, whisperings of riots

gotta keep these folks in their place just in case the madness comes

the madness of crowds

lost jobs will have unemployment soar

in an unstable economy burdened by debt



The world is shaking its head in disbelief.

Is this the all powerful America?

500,000 people, on our own land

refugees who waited for days

as their anger rose and

I can feel it in my soul

Media voices were the first on the scene and

with no politicians to manage the message

we got the whole mouthful

rage, rage, rage

coming across our TV screens

echoing in my soul

because….

Our democracy is broken.

Our culture is sick.

I see nothing but cracks

Are you looking, my fellow citizens

do you feel safe?

Consider this….

your government had 1 week to prepare for this storm

now imagine a terrorist attack

in

3

2

1


--- Laurie Blair





November 1, 2008
red hot mail

I continue to receive many letters
from young ladies.
evidently they have read some of
my books
but
they hardly ever
mention this.

many of their letters are
on pink or red
stationery
and they inform me that
they want to
kiss my lips and
they want to come and stay with me
and
they say they will do anything
and everything
for and to me for
as long as
i can keep up with
them.
also, the younger ones are quick
to mention their
age: 21,22,23.

these letters are fascinating, of
course,
but I always trash
them
for I know that all things
have their price
especially when they
are advertised as being
free.

besides,
what does it all mean?
bugs fuck, birds
fuck, horses
fuck, maybe some day they'll
find that
even wind, water and
rocks
fuck.

and
where were all these eager
girls
when I was starving,
broke, young and
alone?
they were
not born yet, of
course.
I can't blame them now
for
that.

but I do blame the girls
of my youth
for ignoring me and
for bedding down with all the
other
milkfish souls.
those other lads, I suppose,
were grateful then to
sink their spike into
any willling thing that
moved.

I only wish now some lass had
chanced upon me then
when I so needed her hair blowing in my
face
and her eyes smiling into mine,
when I so needed
that wild music
and that wild female willingness
to be
undone.

but they left me to sit alone
in tiny rented rooms
with only the company
of elderly landladies
and the comings and goings
of unsympathetic
roaches, they left me terribly alone with
suicide mornings and
park bench
nights.

and now that
they are old
and I am old

I don't want to know
them
now

or even to know
their
daughters

even though
the gods
in their infinite wisdom
still refuse to
let me
forget and
rest.


-- Charles Bukowski



November 6, 2007
This was sent quite some time ago by our friend Laura from KC. Isn't it odd how she thought of us?


The summers are longer where the suicides hang and the flies eat mudpie. He's a famous street poet of the '50's and still alive. I throw my bottle into the canal, it's Venice, and Jack is holing up at the place for a week or so, giving a reading somewhere in a few days. The canal looks strange, very strange.
 
"Hardly deep enough for self-destruction."
"Yeah", he says in the Bronx movie voice, "you're right."
 
He's gray at 37. Hook-nose. Slumped. Energetic. Pissed. Male. Very male. A little Jewish smile. Maybe he's not Jewish. I don't ask him.
 
He's known them all. Pissed on Barney Rosset's shoe at a party because he didn't like something Barney said. Jack knows Ginsberg, Creeley, Lamantia, on and on, and now he knew Bukowski.
 
"Yeah, Bukowski came to Venice to see me. Scars all over his face. Shoulders slumped. Very tired-looking man. Doesn't say much and when he does it's kind of dull, kind of commonplace. You'd never think he'd written all those books of poems. But he's been in the post office too long. He's slipped. They've eaten his spirit out. Damn shame, but you know how it works. But he's still boss, real boss, you know."
 
Jack knows the inside, and it's funny but real to know that people aren't much, it's all a motherfucking jive, and you've known it but it's funny to hear it said while sitting by a Venice canal trying to cure an extra-size hangover.
 
He goes through a book. Photographs of poets mostly. I am not in there. I began late and lived too long alone in small rooms drinking wine. They always figure that a hermit is insane, and they may be right.
 
He goes through the book. Jesus Christ, it's a catsass sitting there with that hangover and the water down there, and here is Jack going through the book, I see spots of sunlight, noses, ears, the sheen of the photographic pages. I don't care, but I guess we need something to talk about and I don't talk well and he is doing the work, so here we go, Venice canal, the whole chicken-shit sadness of living it out --
 
"this guy went nuts about 2 years ago"
"this guy wanted me to suck his dick in order to get my book published"
"did you?"
"did I? I belted him out! wit' dis!"
He shows me the Bronx fist.
 
I laugh. He's comfortable and he's human. Every man is afraid of being a queer. I get a little tired of it. Maybe we should all become queers and relax. Not belting Jack. He's good for a change. There are too many people afraid to speak against queers -- intellectually. Just as there are too many people afraid to speak against the left wing -- intellectually. I don't care which way it goes -- I only know: there are too many people afraid.
 
So Jack's good meat. I've seen too many intellectuals lately. I get very tired of the precious intellects who must speak diamonds every time they open their mouths. I get tired of battling for each space of air for the mind. That's why I stayed away from people for so long, and now that I am meeting people, I find that I must return to my cave. There are other things beside the mind: there are insects and palm trees and pepper shakers, and I'll have a pepper-shaker in my cave, so laugh.
 
The people will always betray you.
Never trust the people.
 
"The whole poetry game is run by the fags and the left-wing," he tells me, staring into the canal.
 
There is a kind of truth here that it is bitter and false to dispute and I don't know what to do with it. I am certainly aware that there is something wrong with the poetry game - the books of the famous are so very dull, including Shakespeare. Was it the same then?
 
I decided to throw Jack some shit.
"Remember the old poetry mag? I don't know if it was Monroe or Shapiro or what, now it's gotten so bad I don't read it anymore, but I remember a statement by Whitman:
" 'to have great poets we need great audiences.' well, I always figure a Whitman a greater poet than I, if that matters, only this time I think he got the thing backwards. It should read:
" 'to have great audiences we need great poets,' "
 
"yeah, so, all right," Jack said, "I met Creeley at a party this time and I asked him if he ever read Bukowski and he got frozen real solid, wouldn't answer me, man, like you know what I mean."
 
"let's get the fuck outa here," I say.
We go out toward my car. I've got a car, somehow. A lemon, of course. Jack's got the book with him. He's still turning pages.
 
"this guy sucks dick."
"oh yeah?"
"this guy married a schoolteacher who belts his ass with a whip. Horrible woman. He ain't writ a word since his marriage. She's got his soul in her cunt-strap."
"you talking about Gregory or Kero?"
"no, this is another one!"
"holy Jesus!"
 
We keep walking toward my car. I feel rather dull but I can FEEL this man's energy, ENERGY, and I realize that it might be possible that I am walking next to one of the few immortal and unschooled poets of our time. And then, that doesn't matter either, after I think about it a moment.
 
I get on in. The lemon starts but the gearshift is fucked-up again. I've got to drive in low all the way and the bitch stalls at every signal, battery down, I pray, one more start, no cops, no more drunk-driving raps, no more christs of any kinds on anybody's kind of Cross, we can choose between Nixon and Humphrey and Christ and be fucked any way we turn, and I turn left, brake up at the address and we get out.
 
Jack's still at the pages.
"this guy's o.k., he killed himself, his father, his mother, wife, but didn't shoot his three children or the dog. One of the best poets since Baudelaire."
"yeah?"
"yeah, shit."
 
We get out of the lemon as I make the sign of the Cross for one more start on the mother battery.
We walk up and Jack bangs a door.
 
"BIRD! BIRD! this is Jack!"
The door opens and there is the Bird. I look twice. I can't see whether it is a woman or a man. The face is the distilled essence opium of untouched beauty. It's a man. The motions are man. I know it but I also know that he can catch hell and ultimate brutality every time he hits the streets. They will kill him because he has not died at all. I have died nine-tenths but keep the other one-tenth like a gun. I can walk down the street and they can't tell me from the news vendor, even tho the news vendors have more beautiful faces than any president of the united states, but then, that's no task either.
 
"Bird, I need 20" says Jack.
Bird peels off a g.d. twenty. His movement is smooth, without worry.
"Thanks, baby."
"sure, can you come on in?"
"all right."
 
We move in. Sit down. There's the bookcase. I lay my eyes across it. There doesn't seem to be a dull book in there. I catch all the books I've admired in there. What the hell? Is it a dream? The kid's face is so beautiful that everytime I look I feel good, like you know, chili and beans, hot, after coming off a bad one, the first food in weeks, well, fuck, I am always on guard.
 
The Bird. And the ocean down there. and bad battery. a lemon. the cops patrolling their stupid dry streets. What a bad war it is. And what an idiot nightmare, only this momentary cool space between us, we are all going to be smashed, very quickly into broken children's toys, into those highheels that ran so gaily down the stairway to be fucked out of it forever, forever, dunces and fools, dunces and tools, god damn our weak bravery.
 
We sit down. A quart of scotch appears. I pour a quarter of a pint down without pause, ah, I gag, blink, idiot, working toward 50, still trying to play Hero. Asshole hero in a fusillade of puke.
 
The Bird's wife comes in. We are introduced. She is a liquid woman in a brown dress, she just flows flows her eyes laughing, she flows, I tell you, she flows,
"WOW WOW WOW!" I say.
 
She looks so good I've got to pick her up, hug her, I carry her on my left hip, spin her, laugh, nobody thinks that I am crazy. We all laugh. We all understand. I put her down. We sit down.
 
Jack likes me coming on. He's been carrying my soul and he's tired. He grins the grin. He's o.k. Once in a rare lifetime have you ever been in a roomful of people who only helped you when you looked at them, listened to them? This was one of those magic times. I knew it. I glowed like a fucking hot tamale. It didn't matter. O.k. [LB: I liked that passage.]
 
I smacked down another quarter pint out of embarrassment. I realized that I was the weaker of 4 people and I did not want to harm, I only wanted to realize their easy holiness. I loved like a crazy jackoff dog turned into a pen of heated female bitches, only they had miracles to show me beyond sperm.
 
The Bird looked at me.
"See my collage?"
He held up a very shitty-looking thing with a woman's earring and some other dab of shit hanging upon it.
 
(By the way....I realize I switch from present to past tense, and if you don't like it...ram a nipple up your scrotum. -- printer: leave this in.)
 
I go into a long, boring, hartang, harrangue about how I don't like this or that, and about my sufferance in Art Classes...
The Bird pulls the stop out of me.
 
By yanking the thing apart it's only a popneedle and then he grins at me, but then I too know the inside: that perhaps, as I am told, from inside, the only junky who can make it is Wm. Burroughs, who owns the Burroughs Co., almost, and who can play it tough while all along being a sissy fat wart-sucking hog inside. This is what I hear, and it's kept very quiet. Is it true? For it all, true or not, Burroughs is a very dull writer and without the insistence of knowledgeable pop in his literary background, he would be almost nothing, as Faulkner is nothing except to very dry Southern extremists like Mr. Corrington and Mr. Nod, and Mr. Suck-Dry-Shit.
 
"Baby" they start saying to me "you are drunk."
And I am. And I am. And I am.
There's nothing now but to be turned into the heat or sleep.
They make a place for me.
 
I drink too fast. They talk on. I hear them, gently.
I sleep. I sleep in comradeship. The sea will not drown me and neither will they. They love my sleeping body. I am an asshole. They love my sleeping body. May all God's children come to this.
Jesus Jesus Jesus
Who cares about a dead
battery?

--- Charles Bukowski, "Notes of a Dirty Old Man  "(1969)

October 12, 2006

L&N Hotel

We left a few Hard Knoxville Reviews scattered in the L&N Hotel, something of a time capsule we imagined at the time of its closing. As usual, we had no idea what time had in mind, not to mention the wayward progressions of art and literature. Unfortunately, I had missed the last night the L&N was open. The woman with the multi-colored eyes who I was so fascinated with at the time later told me she stayed until the end of the evening waiting for me to arrive. I was somehow otherwise engaged and didn't make it.

The L&N Hotel was closed the weekend before the 1982 World's Fair opened, that unprecedented spectacle in the villa of Knox sprawling some 70 acres through the middle of town. The L&N Hotel sat above it all on the north side of the bridge across from the station looking out over the length of the fair grounds down the 2nd Creek valley. For years the L&N Hotel had only been a bar and restaurant, the upstairs with its own back entrance a favorite gathering place for the late-night crowd. Our sincere wish being that it would reopen after the fair had come and gone.

However, some time after the fair closed, on a freezing December night between Christmas and New Year's, the old vacant L&N Hotel was burned to the ground. They said it was the bums who started the fire to stay warm. I would at least suspect a few other better-heeled citizens in this crime. I witnessed the violent tragedy from a barely safe distance of six blocks away. Burning boards wafting in an icy night sky drifting over the ruins of the fair site as far as the Sublett Gallery where I stood on dense black smoke roiling its way toward me, eventually enveloping all of 11th street to Cumberland Avenue on to the river to begin the long dissipating trek to the sea.  All those nights of a fine piano bar gone up in smoke.  All evidence of Thomas Wolfe's letters regarding the exceptional slatterns of a railway boarding house lost for future research. All those kisses in the dark hallway upstairs near the bathrooms, the walks out to the parking lot near the old magnolia tree and the bridge that connected us to our beloved neighborhood. Gone. Now we're left with nothing. Nothing but this, you bums.

--- R.B. Morris, "The Littoral Zone"



March 29, 2006
I didn't write this, dammit - but someone else who has been there did. Good job, Noel...


August 8, 2005
I always walked to my room, it was six or seven blocks away. The trees along the streets were all alike: small, twisted, half-frozen, leafless. I liked them. I walked alone under the cold moon.

That scene in the office stayed with me. Those cigars, the fine clothes. I thought of good steaks, long rides in winding driveways that led to beautiful women. Ease. Trips to Europe. Fine women. Were that much more clever than I? The only difference was money, and the desire to accumulate it.

I'd to it too! I'd save my pennies. I'd get an idea, I'd spring a loan. I'd hire and fire. I'd keep whiskey in my desk drawer. I'd have a wife with size 40 breasts and an ass that would make the paperboy on the corner come in his pants when he saw it wobble. I'd cheat on her and she'd know it and keep silent in order to live in my house with my wealth. I'd fire men just to see the look of dismay on their faces. I'd fire women who didn't deserve to be fired.

That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man. I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars for weeks at a time in order to have leisure to write. But starvation, unfortunately, didn't improve art. It only hindered it. A man's soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a porterhouse steak and drinking a pint of whiskey than he could ever write after eating a nickel candy bar. The myth of the starving artist was a hoax. Once you realized that everything was a hoax you got wise and began to bleed and burn your fellow man. I'd build an empire upon the broken bodies and lives of helpless men, women, and children -- I'd shove it to them all the way, I'd show them!

Factotum, Charles Bukowski (1975)
(Thanks Michelle for turning me onto him...)


August 25, 2004


Don't get jealous - you can't have it - it's a Jake and Elwood original by Michelle, but if you have some green lining your pocket, let us or her know, and maybe she can whip you up a damned fine Christmas gift.



April 28, 2004
Has it REALLY been that long???
A truly sad anniversary is upon us, as we are approaching the sixth year (April 29, 1997) of the closing of one of our favorite haunts. Here is the newspaper column announcing the death-knell, and a response sent in by Jake that Sam was dumb enough to publish.

God, what we'd give to sit at that dark Roman Room bar, watch the ebb and flow of people along Cumberland through that octagonal window, and hear George say, "You wanna menu?"


    
Suttree tapped at the dosshouse door. The keeper shuffled along the hall and unlatched the door and peered out. He shut one eye, he shook his head. No ragman here. Suttree thanked him and descended into the street again.

It was still raining a cold gray rain when he eased himself down the narrow path at the south end of the bridge and made his way over the rocks to the ragman's home. As he came about the abutment and entered the gloom beneath the bridge three boys darted out the far side and clambered over the rocks and disappeared in the woods by the river. Suttree entered the dim vault beneath the arches. Water ran from a clay drain tile and went down a stone gully. Water gushed from a broken pipe down the near wall and water dripped and spattered
everywhere from the dark reaches overhead.

Hello, called Suttree. An echo echoed in the emptiness. He shaded his eyes to see. Hey, he called. He could make out the shape of the old man's bed dimly in the cool dank.

He stood at the foot of the ragpicker's mattress and looked down at him. The old man lay with his eyes shut and his mouth set and his hands lay clenched at either side. He looked as if he had forced himself to death. Suttree looked about at the mounds of moldy rags and the stacked kindling and the racks of bottles and jars and the troves of nameless litter, broken kitchen implements or lamps, a thousand houses divided, the ragged chattel of lives abandoned like his own.

He moved along the side of the bed. The old man had his shoes on, he saw their shape beneath the covers. Suttree pulled a chair up and sat and watched him. He passed his hand across his face and sat forward holding his knuckles. Well, he said. What do you think now?
God, you are pathetic. Did you know that? Pathetic?

Suttree looked around.

These boys have been at your things. You forgot about the gasoline I guess. Never got around to it. Did you really remember me? I couldnt remember my bear's name. He had corduroy feet. My mother used to sew him up. She gave you sandwiches and apples. Gypsies used to come to the door. We were afraid of them. My sisters' bears were Mischa and Bruin. I cant remember mine. I tried but I cant.

The old man lay dim and bleared in his brass bed. Suttree leaned back in the chair and pushed at his eyes with the back of his hand. The day had grown dusk, the rain eased. Pigeons flapped up overhead and preened and crooned. The keeper of this brief vigil said that he'd guessed something of the workings in the wings, the ropes and sand-bags and the houselight toggles. Heard dimly a shuffling and  coughing beyond the painted drop of the world.

Did you ask? About the crapgame? What are you doing in bed with your shoes on?

He passed his hand through his hair and leaned forward and looked at the old man. You have no right to represent people this way, he said. A man is all men. You have no right to your  retchedness.

He wiped his eyes with the heel of his hand.

There's no one to ask is there? There's no... He was looking down at the ragman and he raised his hand and let it fall again and he rose and went out past the old man's painted rock into the rain.

Suttree, Cormac McCarthy (1979)


 
Ahhh, the sixties. It has been said that if you remember them, you weren't really there. Jake  was going to write a memoir about his part , but he found the paper curiously blank.

However, while stumbling across that free-hog-farm called the Internet, we found an excellent site devoted to the Summer of Love, and if you dig deep enough (or if you knew already), there are some pretty interesting photos of a young Peter Coyote as one of the original Diggers.
 



 

I know, but Elwood thinks it's art...

 
 
 
PROEM

You see, I have always had this love...
It was a love I could not recognize less talk about,
But it was there just as well
In my heart, but worse, in my mind and soul...
A love never to be.
One to be kept a prisoner - a bird caged - a vision - a fantasy.

So life goes on...
We grow, we stretch, we learn, we regret.
Our lives do not pass.
We must be individuals; it is our charter.
We do learn, we do adapt, we do become
Lonely.

So what?

The timekeeper suddenly appears to show us we are not invincible.
We thought we were,
We are stunned.
To whom can we turn? There is no one left.
The timekeeper has swept our lives clean; there is nothing.

But...

The tears of grief can also nourish the flower of hope.
 
 

When forces we can't control get together to make decisions for us,
What can we do?

When emotions we've never felt suddenly consume us,
What can we do?

When memories become love, 
and love becomes passion, 
and passion becomes memories,
What can we do?




We think, because we are taught to think.
We rationalize, because we are taught to rationalize.
We worry, because we are taught to worry.
We cry, because we are taught to cry.

I should think it's wrong, but I know it is right.
I try to rationalize my feelings, but they are too powerful.
I worry that I won't handle it right.
I cry in fear of losing it, because you see,

I have always had this love...

--- Anon
 





 
Jake knew she would help him out, be he had no idea that her response would be so hilarious. Well, come to think of it - he should have known. Read about the Dynamic Duo's trip to the Emerald Isle (printed without her permission, of course!).


 
So here is the continuing soap opera which is
Elwood's Jailhouse Journal.

(And you people didn't even think he could write...)