The People Look Like Flowers At Last
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The People Look Like Flowers At Last

Charles Bukowski

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eBook - ePub

The People Look Like Flowers At Last

Charles Bukowski

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About This Book

"if you read this after I am dead

It means I made it"

-"The Creation Coffin"

The People Look like Flowers at Last is the last of five collections of never-before published poetry from the late great Dirty Old Man, Charles Bukowski.

In it, he speaks on topics ranging from horse racing to military elephants, lost love to the fear of death. He writes extensively about writing, and about talking to people about writers such as Camus, Hemingway, and Stein. He writes about war and fatherhood and cats and women.

Free from the pressure to present a consistent persona, these poems present less of an aggressively disruptive character, and more a world-weary and empathetic person.

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while most people
converse it all away
write it down.
I spoon it
in: strained chicken noodle dinner
junior prunes
junior fruit dessert.
spoon it in and
for Christ’s sake
don’t blame the
don’t blame the
don’t blame the bosses or the
working classes—
spoon it down
into that little mouth
like melted
a friend phones:
“whatya gonna do now, Hank?”
“what the hell ya mean, what am I gonna
“I mean ya got responsibility now, ya gotta bring the
kid up
I feed her instead:
spoon it in!
may she achieve
a place in Beverly Hills
with never any need for unemployment compensation
and never have to sell to the highest
and never fall in love with a soldier or a killer of any
and may she
appreciate Beethoven and Jelly Roll Morton and
beautiful dresses.
she’s got a real
there was once the
Theoric Fund and now there’s the
Great Society.
“are ya still gonna play the horses? are ya still gonna
drink? are ya still gonna—?”
she is a waving flower in the wind and the dead center of
my heart—
now she sleeps beautifully like a
boat on the Nile.
maybe some day she will
bury me.
that would be nice
if it weren’t a
those sheets you’ve got there,
said the old dame
in the housewares dept.,
are for a double bed.
do you have a double bed or a
single bed?
well, you see, I answered,
my bed is an unusual bed, it’s
kind of a single-and-a-
describe your bed, she said.
describe your
I’d rather not, I said.
well, said the old dame, I want you to
know the sheets you’ve got there are
for a double bed, and if you’ve got a single
bed, it’s against the state
what? I asked. say that
I said, it’s against the state
you mean? I asked.
I mean, you can’t bring these sheets back
after you’ve opened the
all right, I said, give me a couple of
she treated me then with comfortable
disdain. I believe the old dame had been in
sheets all her
life. I think they should put young girls
in the sheets dept.
after all, sheets don’t make me think of sleep
at all
but something else
entirely. especially crisp white new
they ought to put old dames like her in
dog food. or garden supplies. and
when she gave me the singles I knew she knew I slept
alone. like she
there I am flat on my belly, Hem is dead, Shake is dead,
the fish I have caught and eaten and shitted are dead
and the doc is ramming a glass tube up my ass,
a glass tube with a little light on the end of it,
and I am hoping for a medical excuse
for 2 more days of sick leave
and the doc plays right along: “ya got some beauts there,
you oughta be cut…” well, the White Russians used to
cut a hole in a man and take hold of the end of the intestine
and nail it to a tree and then force the man to
run around and around the tree.
he pulls the glass tube out of my ass
and part of me along with it
he has a face like a walnut and when his nurse
bends over (which is often)
her butt is like a big soft pillow or
powdered doughnut, no blood, just clouds,
and I say, “Doc, add a day to the excuse,
I can feel the pain all the way down to my nuts…”
“sure,” he says, “sure, I know a lot of boys
from the Post Office, all nice boys.”
at home I screw the cap off the bottle
and have the first good one; it rained while he rammed me:
the rain sits glittering in the screen
like sugar flies eating dreams,
and I split the Racing Form with my thumb,
then call my bookie,
“…give me 2 across on Indian Blood,
5 win on Lady Fanfare, 5 place on The Rage.”
I hang up and think softly of Kafka
sleeping under the paws of gophers
as the lady across the hall sings to her canary.
love has clicked off and on
like a cigarette lighter
and now her love is a
it gets like that when not much happens
and you play on a small stage,
and I pin my medical exemption to
the front of one of my old paintings
rub some salve up my ass
and pour another drink.
my father liked rules and doing things
the hard way.
he spoke of responsibilities and laws
and things that just had to be done correctly.
a man must work, a man must eat.
a man must own property and mow his lawn.
I turned out to be a drunkard and wanderer
and his hard-packed letters followed me everywhere.
I watched the pigeons in the rain in
New Orleans while his letters said,
get going, make something of yourself!
how hard the world tries and how ha...

Table of contents

Citation styles for The People Look Like Flowers At Last
APA 6 Citation
Bukowski, C. (2009). The People Look Like Flowers At Last ([edition unavailable]). HarperCollins. Retrieved from (Original work published 2009)
Chicago Citation
Bukowski, Charles. (2009) 2009. The People Look Like Flowers At Last. [Edition unavailable]. HarperCollins.
Harvard Citation
Bukowski, C. (2009) The People Look Like Flowers At Last. [edition unavailable]. HarperCollins. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Bukowski, Charles. The People Look Like Flowers At Last. [edition unavailable]. HarperCollins, 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.