Archive for the ‘Literature’ category


December 16, 2006

Another script written by Ryan Johnston.


Horse on Fire

December 12, 2006

Charles Bukowski has themed a significant portion of the last five months for myself. If you haven’t already read something by him, I would recommend you do so post haste. You might not always agree, but it’ll all come together in the end. I’ve never encountered a person who has so carefully mashed sixteen pounds of humanity and misanthropy into his gut.

This is the Foreword he wrote for his poem-book Roominghouse Madrigals:

A question posed quite often to me is, “why do your out of print books cost so much?” Well, they cost so much because that’s what booksellers can get for them from collectors.

“I want to read your early poems, but…”I don’t even have some of my early books. Most of them were stolen by people I drank with. When I’d go to the bathroom, they did their shit. It only reinforced my general opinion of humanity, and caused me to drink with fewer people. At first, I made efforts to replace these books, and did, but when they were stolen all over again I stopped the replacement process and more and more drank alone. Anyhow, what follows are what we consider to be the best of the early poems. Some are taken from the first few books; others were not in books but have been taken from obscure magazines long ago. The early poems are more lyrical then where I am at now. I like these poems but I disagree with some who claim, “Bukowski’s early work was much better.” Some have made these claims in critical reviews, others in parlors of gossip. In my present poetry, I go at matters more directly, land on them and then get out. I don’t believe that my early methods and my late methods are either inferior or superior to one another. They are just different, that’s all. Yet, re-reading these there remains a certain fondness for that time. Coming in from the factory or warehouse, tired enough, there seemed little use for the night except to eat, sleep, and then return to the menial job. But there was a typewriter waiting for me in those many old rooms with torn shades and worn rugs, the tub and toilet down the hall, and the feeling in the air of all the losers who had preceded me. Sometimes the typewriter was there when the job wasn’t and the food wasn’t and the rent wasn’t. Sometimes the typewriter was in hock. Sometimes there was only the park bench. But at the best of times there was the small room and the machine and the bottle. The sound of keys, on and on.

I was not Hamsun eating his own flesh in order to continue writing, but I had a fair amount of travail. The poems were sent out as written on the first impulse, no line or word changes. I never revisited or retyped. To eliminate an error, I would simply go over it thus: #######, and go on with the line. One magazine editor printed a group of my poems with all the #######s intact.

At any rate, here are many of the poems from that wondrous and crazy time, from those distant hours. The room steamed with smoke, dizzied with fumes, we gambled. I hope they work for you. And if they don’t, well, #### ## ###.


On Wanting to Have At Least Three Walls Up Before She Gets Home

December 10, 2006

Dave Eggers, in ‘How We Are Hungry’:

He is building a small house in the backyard for when their baby is old enough to use it as a fort or clubhouse getaway, and he wants to have three walls up before his wife gets home. She is at her mother’s house because her mother has slipped on the ice- a skating party, Christmas-themed – and needs help with preparations for her holiday party, planned before the accident. It’s snowing lightly and the air is cold enough to see. He is working on the small house with a new drill he’s bought that day. It’s a portable drill and he marvels at its efficiency. He wants to prove something to his wife, because he doesn’t build things like this often, and she has implied that she likes it when he does build things, and when he goes biking or plays rugby in the men’s legue. She was impressed when he assembled a telescope, a birthday gift, in two hours when the manual had said it would take four. So when she’s gone during this day, and the air is gray and dense and the snow falls like ash, he works quickly, trying to get the foundation done. Once he’s finished with the foundation, he decides that to impress her – and he wants to impress her in some way every day and wants always to want to impress her – he will need at least three walls up on the house by the time she gets home.