Charles Bukowski: poetry from the underbelly of life
In the spirit of Charles Bukowski, the following excerpts from Jack Haas' autobiographical book, IN, AND OF, and from his book of poetry, THE DREAM OF BEING, present examples of modern-day Bukowskian living, writing, drinking, and dreaming.

For more insight into other projects Jack Haas is involved with, including photography and artwork, go to: www.spiritandflesh.net
    ...In the few years that I came to inhabit the Hotel, I often found myself locked away in my cell in that moribund cloister, as I had done in my apartments years earlier, though now my room was amidst a condemned fraternity of other men, most of whom were twice my age- in wearied appearance if not in years- most of whom who had fallen away from life, who were unemployed, divorced or never married, drunks and junkies, oddballs, idlers, morons, and thieves, and also a large number who simply had no desire for the troubles of respectability and success required in the showboat world; such outward ostentations were superfluous divergences for which they had no need and yet which the world still proceeded to hold up to them as mirrors of condemnation and judgment everyday.
     It was a domesticated pack of lone wolves in the Hotel, all seeking shelter from the unendurable rain, all under the same sorrowful roof, in rooms stained with a hundred years of blood, semen, urine, wine, and tears. A prideless pack of ugly ducklings, runts, scapegoats, hobbled stallions, and flightless eagles cursed to the ignominy of the crumbling perch.
     All that most of these men wanted- and all they got, for that matter- was a cold beer before noon, a cigarette every hour, a hot meal at night, and the deathly silence of the halls and rooms of this outcast's priory, in which each in his own solitude could slowly, methodically recount, contemplate, and admit to the broken steps which they had chosen and which had led to their troubled and valueless lives.
     The whole place was like a living morgue, where the undead cadavers moved about in sloth and melancholy, haunting their own rooms with a sentence placed upon them by no one but themselves.
Thus the many rooms I came to inhabit over the next few years became my inner-city castle and keep. It was within the protected confines of these cells that, locked away in the inner altar of the soul, the images and tribulations within me would ferment up and boil over, spilling out onto page after page as manic notes, taken like an incarcerated secretary receiving dictation from a verbose and brutal master. In short, I was becoming a writer, which is a simple way of saying- all hope was lost.
     I say this because I was not born blessed with an affinity for the artist's finesse in life, but rather for its rough and wild side, and so instead of effortlessly penning artful sentences, eloquently delineating the subtler aspects of life, I had to learn to write as one with only a battleaxe for a quill, and his own blood for the ink. ...
Excerpted from IN, AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas. To see more about this book, click on the image.
the wall

     A long time ago a person was chased to a wall and then slain before they could dig through it. And then came many others, similarly chased, similarly doomed to be slaughtered while digging at the same spot. Until after a great duration the mass of indistinguishable corpses created a tremendous labyrinth hindering both hunter and prey.
     Now, perhaps you are within this interminable structure. Perhaps even leaning against that very wall- a barrier attacked with bleeding fingers and panicked charges. You can sense the danger, the confinement, and the hidden anguish forming the foundation of it all. Yet you do not consider digging. Not until they are upon you.


the exile


     It is as if we are not wrecked, but intentionally cast onto this inhospitable shore- as if we are not stranded but chosen to stalk wildly into this land with the knowledge that we were sent, but without the knowledge of why we were sent here- and that is to know the lonely grief of duty, without remembering the call.
     Every moment is an improvisation, for no one has seen the script. The director is nowhere to be found, and the rest of the cast is a bloodthirsty mob of petty, ostentatious insufficiencies. And only because of this- because you are bored and pissed off, and because you know neither the plot, nor your part; it is only because of this that you eventually picked up your bags, and walked out of the theatre.
     The test is this: Anyone who does not refuse to take the test, fails the test.


lost bees

     There are bees in every hive with inherent imperfections: they cannot navigate from the directions given by others. They fly off everywhere. They are always getting lost. They never gather much pollen. Yet, by an incongruous twist of fate, these bees can still dance directions to others. And so they occasionally return from their misguided wanderings with delirious gospel of what they have found. Good god, what they have found! It is the lost bee who finds new flowers.
The above three pieces are excerpted from THE DREAM OF BEING: aphorism, ideograms, and aislings, by Jack Haas. To see more about this book, click on the image.
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