Love Is a Dog from Hell

By Charles Bukowski; Published In 1977
Genres: Fiction, Poetry, Literature
alone with everybody


the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and them men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but they keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

and you invented me
and I invented you
and that's why we don't
get along
on this bed
any longer.
you were the world's
greatest invention
until you
flushed me
away.

now it's your turn
to wait for the touch
of the handle.
somebody will do it
to you,
bitch,
and if they don't
you will -
mixed with your own
green or yellow or white
or blue
or lavender
goodbye.

I
have a face like a washrag. I sing
love songs and carry steel.

I would rather die than cry. I can't
stand hounds can't live without them.
I hang my head against the white
refrigerator and want to scream like
the last weeping of life forever but
I am bigger than the mountains.

I drive around the streets
an inch away from weeping,
ashamed of my sentimentality and
possible love.

If there are junk yards in hell, love is the dog that guards the gates.

I hope that death contains
less than this.

I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’t happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray.

I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.

I'm going, she said. I love you but you're
crazy, you're doomed.

in this land some of us fuck more than
we die but most of us die
better than we fuck

I thought you were sane," I said, "but you're
just as crazy as the rest of them.

It’s so easy to be easy—if you let it.

I was only kidding about the hundred," she says.

oh," I say, "what will it cost me?"

she lights her cigarette with
my lighter and looks at me
through the flame:

her eyes tell me.

look," I say, "I don't think I
can ever pay that price again.

one can never be sure whether it's good poetry or bad acid

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

she is no longer
the beautiful woman
she was. she sends
photos of herself
sitting upon a rock
by the ocean
alone and damned.
I could have had
her once. I wonder
if she thinks I
could have
saved her?

sometimes I hate you,"
she said.

stay with the beer.

beer is continuous blood.

a continuous lover.

the history of melancholia
includes all of us.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock.

people so tired
mutilated
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners.

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unspoken to

watering a plant.

there is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock

there is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

the writing of some
men
is like a vast bridge
that carries you
over
the many things
that claw and tear.

The Wine of Forever

this time has finished me.

Trapped

don't undress my love
you might find a mannequin:
don't undress the mannequin
you might find
my love.
she's long ago
forgotten me.
she's trying on a new
hat
and looks more the
coquette
than ever.

she is a
child
and a mannequin
and death.
I can't hate
that.
she didn't do
anything
unusual.
I only wanted her
to.

we know God is dead, they've told us, but listening to you I wasn't sure.

when the phone rings
I too would like to hear words
that might ease
some of this.

you boys can keep your virgins
give me hot old women in high heels
with asses that forgot to get old.

your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray. it didn't help. you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over the river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.