Going Out—Bukowski

I don’t know how I came across Charles Bukowski, but he was the first prose poet I read, and it was a revelation. Here was a guy that was just talking—no meter, no rhyme, no hifalutin language. Just talking and often telling wild stories about his depraved life in the city. I had never read anything like this, and to this day Bukowski remains something of a curiosity—a morbid curiosity perhaps—in the world of poetry.

To say his poems are raw or gritty would be an understatement. Many of them are disgusting. I don’t like most of Bukowski’s poems, and I can’t even say most are good. But now and then, like a guy playing darts in a bar, he hits the bullseye. So I can’t exactly recommend Bukowski but I have to mention him as his poems completely changed my perception of poetry and how I wrote from then on.

Being the poster boy of morbid curiosity, Bukowski has never fit in any poetic school. So people formed a “school” (if you can call it that) around him. He and those of similar aesthetic are known as “Meat Poets,” a moniker chosen to contrast the blunt, toughness of these poets with the wimpier, artsy-fartsy Beat poets.

Below is a poem of Bukowski’s called “Going Out.” It appears in one of his later books, The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992).

going out

the sweet slide of the luger
toward your temple,
a flight of birds winging
the clicking sound of the 
safety catch being
the eclipse of the
the sound of something being

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Teague’s poetry has appeared in several journals and in self-published books. He blogs at thevoiceofone.org and awanderingminstrel.com. In all areas of life, Teague desires that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

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