Stop Doing this to Me, I Don’t Want to Like Your Work

I think I am going to read this piece for the November Coffeehouse, part because I am still searching for a poem that deals with time and is also something I can relate to.

Charles Bukowski always has a way of making me come back to his work, no matter his reputation and personality. (He’s kind of trashy, etc. etc.) I feel grounded in his poetry, in all of his pieces actually-this one is just something I felt the need to unpack and smear the personal revelations I understood from it into the blog-sphere.

Why does he do this to me? Why, “every day should be a miracle instead of a machination.”

First of all, is “machination” even a word? And secondly, my guts are sore from aching all the god-damn time, Mr. Bukowski, these lines are just too powerful for me.

The poem is real, it’s beautiful-I love it because of it’s authenticity. Realness is something I yearn to find in my own writing. It is something I haven’t discovered in my youth, and hope to find as I continue my life into adulthood and stop mooching themes from other authors.

I don’t think Charles Bukowski mooches as much as the rest of us do. I think he was born into the world an old, tired man, and all of his ideas are his own-they are impenetrable.


he then begins a life-within-a-life story, some parts choppy, but all centering back to a central theme that can be found at the beginning, middle, and especially end of the poem.

The meat of this poem:

“it’s not so much that nothing means anything but more that it keeps meaning nothing.”

I love and hate his self-awareness and reflection at times. I love and hate having to grapple with my own image after reading these lines. This poem requires that I try and I give up all at once; it gives me a hundred headaches with each syllable. Love and hate, but mostly hard work, are needed here.

“such a sadness: everything trying to break into blossom.”

he is talking of horses being released from their shoots during a race, so too is he referring to himself and me and whoever else wants to existentialize horse races.

There is something soft-footed about his lines, something that wants to be heavy but cannot for the moment seem to find grounding. It makes me thoughtful, it makes my own body feel it’s weight instead of the words.

The poem almost makes up for Bukowski being such a s****y man. (I said almost.)

“the more people say, the less there is to say.”

You said it, Mr. Bukowski.


Author: Katherine Westbrook

Kate. Too cool for school.