The Bottom Feeders

The stripper who

looks like a Bratz doll

is already working

on a cracka’ when

I get to the bar,

so I’m glad to be

packing pen and

writing pad when I

sit down at the

short side of the bar

and start trying to write

but the free cheap

bank pen only gives

ink in fits and starts

before blowing up

like the laughter

of bankers. So I’m

glad when the bar

girl gives me hers.

It’s good to look busy

when the bottom-

feeder dancers start

sizing up my loneliness,

because the bottom one

slides over and asks if

I’d like some company. So

I squeeze out a slight

smile and mutter “no thanks

but it’s nice of you to say

hello.” Then I feel bad

and sad to see her slink

away, because her and I

are really together in

the same circle in

Darwin’s Inferno.

But even so, pity and

empathy don’t override

natural selection, so I

keep writing what no one

wants to read while the

Brat doll keeps laughing and

flashing those long black

lashes of hers at the lonely

old cracka’ she’s still working

on.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Most Contemporary Writers Suck

There’s more than one reason why my pen name is an amalgamation of the names of a couple of dead writers. Put simply, dead writers do it better…in most cases anyway. OK, I’ll explain: in our totalitarian, viciously-contemporary anti-culture, living writers simply can’t tell the truth, not the whole sad bag-of-kittens truth anyway–not if they want to stay employed, earn enough to feed the strays, and maybe even enough to treat themselves to a lap dance now and then.

But before you go and assume that these are mere bitter words spewed out after sucking sour grapes, allow me to elaborate. Under my “real” name, I’ve won second place in two university writing contests, earned an advanced English degree, and a bunch of literary mags (print and online) have picked up my stories and poems over the years, a few of them are even deemed “prestigious” by those who like to deem things. Not exactly the best creds, but not the worst either.

So why am I complaining? It’s because I’ve learned the hard way that to tell the truth and stay employed, a writer today has to use a pen name. Blame it on “PC’ culture or the insanely-delusional and pablum-preferring masses; but whatever the ultimate causes, the effect is clear: IF you write the truth about people or yourself today, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up experiencing the plight of homeless cats first hand.

The masses of people have always been delusional, vicious, and hypocritical; but at least sometimes they allowed their writers and social critics to tell the truth, if only because subconsciously they wanted to hear the truth. In the 19th Century, Fyodor Dostoyevsky may have been put in front of a firing squad, but he was reprieved at the last minute by the Tsar. And his fellow Russians loved him in his own lifetime for revealing their collective hypocrisy, insanity, and occasional flashes of humanity.

In the 20th Century, Charles Bukowski may have been put in front of the post office employee review board for his brutally honest “underground” newspaper columns, but in the end they let him keep his slave job. And now the poetry and fiction sections of every good book store hold his many titles, to the undying horror and envy of most MFA instructor-authors, and to the credit of his fearless publisher John Martin and the free market.

Anyway, most writers today suck for the same reason that Seinfeld said that comedy is being killed by political correctness: those who tell it like it is these days are all-too-often marginalized and/or castigated. It’s an extreme expression of kill-the-messenger syndrome. After all, it’s easier to kill a messenger than to deal with the ugliness of unvarnished reality.

But I’m not killed so easily. Believe me, many have tried, in one way or another. So I think I’ll just keep telling it like it is and how I think it ought to be. And if truth can be likened to a bag of unwanted kittens that many would like to see drowned, I think I’ll just untie that bag and let those kittens run free.

the best thing

the best thing

is lying on a bed

made of old couch

cushions laid out

on the floor

my arm around

the now obese,

one-eyed cat,

who once survived

off garbage left

in and around

the dumpsters

by my not-

so-mobile

home.

the best thing

is falling asleep

to the sound of

purring,

as out there

man-shaped

maggots grin,

slap each other

on the backs,

fight over

parking spots,

and cheer for

the fools

whom they pay

millions

to play with

balls.

the best thing

is slipping

into sweet,

sublime

unconsciousness,

as the latest crop

of Romeos seek

for fresh Juliets,

but end by bedding

down with the

coughing corpses

of diseased,

bloated

whores.

my boarded-up

windows mock

them all, as the

cruel, mad sun

performs her daily,

obscene dance,

as the old money turns

and the new world burns,

my smile gently spreads

across this pillow,

this park,

this universe.

 

–Fyodor Bukowski

Check out my Novel by Clicking This.

 

 

 

The Death of Joe’s Auto Repair (and Maybe America too)

Joe ran a two-man auto repair shop.

It was retro-Americana all the way,

with 1950’s style pin-up girls sporting

dimples and curves on the calendars

and a wall sign that proclaimed: “Helen

Waite is our Credit Manager. If you

want credit, go to Hel en Waite.”

But if you were a decent sort, and

you needed it badly enough, Joe

would let you pay next payday, if

you at least had the collateral of a

hearty handshake. And if he figured

you were a really good guy or gal,

he or his fellow mechanic Nick

would pour you shot when your

car was done, and it was always done

right. At 56, Joe worker harder and

better than any two corporate mechanics

half his age. One night, over shots

strong enough to dissolve alien rust, Joe

told me about how he lowered his

cholesterol, but the next day I brought

him a bottle of low dose aspirin, the

kind with the heart on the bottle, just

in case. He laughed and said thanks.

Then several days later, I heard that

he’d died in his sleep after putting in

a full day, right alongside his mechanic,

like he always did. And I have to see it

as one more sign, that the America

I knew is just about dead. And if you

think a big corporate auto dealer’s

service station is an improvement

over places like Joe’s, or if you

believe a country can be great

without guys like him, then I don’t

have much to say to you–except

maybe “Go to Hel en Waite.”

 

What OJ’s Pardon Means for Us

Nietzsche once wrote that man is the unhappy animal. I say that man is the delusional animal. It’s horribly simple: during evolution we developed  consciousness, and this heightened awareness told our ancestors that one day they would die. It also told us them lots of other things they wished were not true. (For a catalog of some of those harsh truths, listen to any Muddy Water’s CD). Today most people still believe in either a “just God” or some kind of cosmic karma; in other words, most still think that in the end the good guys will win and the really bad guys will go to hell. I’m not saying that both of those concepts are definitely delusions, but they just might be.

Even to the jaded and cynical among us, it was a shock to see OJ cleared of murder late in the 20th Century, despite the avalanche of evidence presented against him at his trial. We’d always harbored the suspicion, or for some of us, the near-certainty, that justice in this universe is as random as everything else seems to be. And of course, if justice is faithless or fickle, it’s not really justice. But here was the hard evidence that our belief in justice is a delusion: a jury, in the supposedly best criminal just-us system in the world, set OJ free, while the friends and family of his victims. along with most of us, looked on with horror.

As a kid I had a poster of OJ on my wall. I had nothing against him. But it seemed to me–and any other sane adult–that beyond a shadow of a doubt, he had committed double murder–not against some evil beings or cartoon villains, but against a woman who’d married him and her innocent young friend. To see OJ smiling, his supporters dancing and cheering in the streets, the hot blondes who continued to date him after his release, etc., was just more frosting on that cancerous cake. To know in the back of your mind that life is wildly unfair is one thing; to see proof on the magic TV that there is no justice, even for the most wicked, is another.

Well, you could argue that OJ did end up receiving some justice, even if it was for a ludicrous, Three Stooges-style robbery. And for a time there it seemed that at least OJ might rot and die in his luxury prison. It wouldn’t have been as satisfying as seeing him crushed to death and then tossed into a bog or fed to wild pigs, but at least it would have given the friends and family of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman some sense of inner peace to know that he’s off the streets. And it would have left the rest of us some room to hope that justice is real after all.

But instead, now we’ll have to watch as OJ dates hot blondes, smiles for the camera, makes money being a buffoon, etc. And we’ll at some point have to look at the pained expressions of at least some of the friends and family of Ron and Nicole, whose only crime was to be born in a world like this.

 

Pissing on the Old Man’s Grave

sounds extreme and distasteful too

but you didn’t know the old man.

He had an uncanny knack for deceiving

himself a he pursued his own

comfort and pleasure

to the detriment of every

living being he came into

contact with, especially those

he spawned himself, like when

he’d fart aloud proudly in his

old Nash Rambler, but then

after my little brother laughed

and did the same, “dad” reddened,

pulled the car over, and gravely

threatened to stuff Lil’ Mike into the

trunk, until his tiny lips quivered and

he bawled his eyes out and threw up

all over himself, while I sat stoner-faced

and wondered why guys like dad

were ever born and allowed to breed.

Then I became an atheist. But years later,

now an adult, I guilted myself into visiting

dad in his Taj Mahal McMansion off the lake.

We’d sit and he’d talk about politics and religion,

then to bolster his beliefs, he’d always lift a yellow

book up to my face and exhort me to read about the

healing miracles performed by the Virgin Mary at

Fatima or Majigoria, I can’t remember which,

while his latest drug-addled hooker scampered

past us and out the front door, and my now-crippled

brother sat in a wheelchair in a tiny apartment

with my mother. So on one such occasion, I asked

“dad” why he didn’t sell some of his gold coins

or Pre-Colombian vases and take Mike to Majigoria

or Fatima for a healing, and then I’d believe.

Dad blinked, turned purple, then after a long pause,

and with a straight face, he said that Mike was only

faking and could really walk but simply sat in a

wheelchair or crawled on his hands and knees

because he was lazy and liked to be waited on

by mom. But when I mentioned the accident, the

hospital, doctors, and disability check, dad simply

got up and stomped back to his bedroom.

And I sat there wondering why it’s not legal

to kill a creature like him. But sadly, it was already

the age of DNA evidence and CSI, so I quietly decided

that since it seemed to me that neither God nor Karma

could really exist, I’d have to piss on “dad’s” grave

one day, and if somehow the gassy ghost of his former

self rose up and haunted me after, I’d just stare at it

and state with a straight face that what I’d just sprayed

on his grave wasn’t piss at all–just lemonade.

 

 

What Makes a Writer Worth Reading? (For the Dope Who Compared Sam Pink to Charles Bukowski)

After writing my novel, I wanted to show it to people I admire–especially successful literary writers whose works have given me hope and strength. The problem was that THOSE writers are dead.

Charles Bukowski, the bar brawler who had the courage to tell the truth AND the compassion to stick up for animals, died in 94. Not only did he reveal the true face of humanity, but he rescued cats and wrote some powerful poems about them.

Jack Kerouac, granddaddy of the Beats, whose poetic prose and haiku helped open Western minds to animal-friendly Buddhism, drank himself to death in ’69. Not even fame and success could put him at peace with samsaric existence. (In BIG SUR, he laments even the deaths of a beaver and a mouse.)

I could name others. But all of the writers whom I deem GREAT had two things going for them: honesty and compassion…and not necessarily in that order. From Issa, the Japanese haiku master, who recognized all life forms as fellow travelers, to the aforementioned Charles Bukowski, they pulled no punches; yet they all grieved, each in his or her own way, over the suffering of sentient beings.

Of course, to be fair, there ARE writers today who write like it is and who have compassion for animals, and I know a few of them. But they, like me, languish in obscurity–at least the ones I’m aware of. We read and support each other, but really, there’s not a lot we can do to further each other’s writing careers.

Which is why I was happy to read a tweet from a Charles Bukowski fan, which stated, more or less, that fans of CB will like the novels of Sam Pink. So soon I was reading his novel RONTEL. It began well enough, but then, only 9% into the Kindle ebook, came the following:

“In the square of dirt around the tree, a dead cat lay on its side. The carcass was beat the fuck up…First thing I thought was that someone had “peeled out” on top of it…That seemed funny to me–someone “peeling out” on a dead cat. ”

Now I don’t know Sam Pink. He might be an OK guy. He may even have a cat (or more) of his own and be good to him or her. But after reading those lines lines, I would have thrown the book down, but of course that would have ended my Kindle. I just stopped reading him.

As someone who has rescued cats and is always at war, in one way or another, with the creatures called “human beings” who are unnecessarily cruel towards animals, I can’t tolerate that kind of writing. And I knew at once that this is just another overblown author who some publisher was moronic enough to publish, and who some reader is ignorant enough to compare favorably to the late, great Charles Bukowski.

So I guess I’ll just go back to my dead authors…

–FB

 

 

 

Father Smith’s Sermon

 

Father Smith strode into our fifth-grade

classroom, white hair and beard, a lean

Santa Claus without the sack of toys.

He ordered us to stand. I stood with the rest.

Boys in white shirts, black pants, ties.

Girls in plaid skirts.

 

“EVERYONE LOOK AT TWO OTHER

STUDENTS IN THIS CLASS!” boomed

Father Smith.

 

We did. But instead of glancing at two students,

I looked at Whitney twice. Once at each of her

shapely, brown thighs–at least as much as her

skirt couldn’t hide.

 

“ONE OF THE STUDENTS YOU JUST

LOOKED AT IS GOING TO HELL!”

yelled Father Smith. “Because the BIBLE says

WIDE is the gate and BROAD is the road that

leads to DESTRUCTION!”

 

He shot us all hard stares, then went on:

 

“BUT IF YOU HELP EACH OTHER stay on

the NARROW ROAD which leads to heaven,

you might SAVE ONE OF THE STUDENTS

you just looked upon.”

 

For years after, Father Smith’s words echoed in

my head, but every time Whitney caught trouble,

I failed to even try to set her back on the straight

and narrow. I guess I just couldn’t imagine any

heaven without both of those shapely, brown thighs

wrapped around my head without a halo.

 

–Fyodor Bukowski