People Look like Flowers at Last

People Look like Flowers at Last

5.0 2
by Charles Bukowski
     
 

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the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
soot.
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while

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Overview

the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
soot.
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
mad.
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
nothing,
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.

—from "fingernails; nostrils; shoelaces"

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In a posthumously published poem, Bukowski says he's succeeded "If you read this after I am long dead." By that standard, he is indeed a success: this fifth-and purportedly last-posthumous book published since his death in 1994 offers his still-large audience more of what made Bukowski (1921-1994) and his hard-drinking alter ego Henry Chinaski famous, as chronicled, for example, in the films Barflyand Factotum. Rapid, chatty free verse records his devotion to racehorses, boxing and drinking; his sexual exploits and failures; his contempt for highbrow, hoity-toity literati, and his countervailing yearnings for literary fame. Early on, the poems show unapologetic nostalgia: in "the 1930s," "the landlord/ only got his rent/ when you had/ it." Some of the most memorable poems here record the poet's anxieties and delights while caring for his daughter. The final pages are devoted to fate, last things, old age, mortality and retrospectives on Bukowski's hard-drinking, prolific career: "we were not put here to/ enjoy easy days and/ nights." Bukowski's style did not change in his last years; readers who have already written him off are unlikely to change their minds. Fans, however, may discover one of his strongest, most affecting books. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061749247
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
861,293
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

The People Look Like Flowers At Last
New Poems

Chapter One

the heart roars like a lion
at what they've done to us.

for they had things to say

the canaries were there, and the lemon tree
and the old woman with warts;
and I was there, a child
and I touched the piano keys
as they talked—
but not too loudly
for they had things to say,
the three of them;
and I watched them cover the canaries at night
with flour sacks:
"so they can sleep, my dear."

I played the piano quietly
one note at a time,
the canaries under their sacks,
and there were pepper trees,
pepper trees brushing the roof like rain
and hanging outside the windows
like green rain,
and they talked, the three of them
sitting in a warm night's semicircle,
and the keys were black and white
and responded to my fingers
like the locked-in magic
of a waiting, grown-up world;
and now they're gone, the three of them
and I am old:
pirate feet have trod
the clean-thatched floors
of my soul,
and the canaries sing no more.

The People Look Like Flowers At Last
New Poems
. Copyright © by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>

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