Baffling, cunning and confusing addictive thinking ruins lives.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hank Bukowski

Hank was a half-breed Indian. He was funny, violent and oversexed. His children's baby sitters were not safe around him.  He lived with us off and on for many years without ever acting like a member of the family. He was just this drunk guy passed out in front of the TV or waking me up in the middle of the night for someone to talk at - drunks need an audience and seldom engage in conversations.

Watch two drunks together and you soon realize that they are talking at each other but not with each other. They ramble on about hockey or past sexual conquests. Answers from their drinking buddy are always in the form of grunts or perfect non-sequitors.

Sometimes they talk about coulda, woulda, shoulda and if only which is the maudlin drunk.  But it nevers hones in on the fact that booze gets in the way of living a decent life.  Sex is very important to spice up their dull-witted conversations and even in their late middle age they talk about the 'rack' on a girl in junior high school or that beautiful teacher who taught typing and slept with a few of the older students.

Drunks often beat their wives. She was small.  He stood over six feet so their phycal fights were a mismatch.  Often he started  making a point with her by back handing her across the mouth. Blubbering through split and bleeding lips his she cursed him time and again.  They revisit this scenario again and not long after the apologies and promises are made of no more drinking and abuse.
Men live lives of quiet desperation and their wives right along with them. What allows these women to tolerate constant abuse and get up the next day to go to some dead end job to pay the rent? Giving her husband a roof over his head and a spot to crash. Often he and his friends lay about drinking all day while the kids attend school.

How does this all relate to Charles Bukowski? I can apprciate his humor on one level but having witnessed what I guess was the Private Bukowski in all its squallor makes me think it was not pretty.   Middle class would poets can get worshipful and they need the counter point.

Mickey Rourke did a damn fine job of recreating the stupid slob Bukowski probably was in real life.  His performance might have been considered a little too raw but I found it to be brilliant.  People have a tendency to romanticize guys like Charles because he can string a few words together between drinks.  Mickey did such a good job that you could practically smell the stale beer in that Bar Fly joint.