Tag Archives: Born Into This

Born Into This

18 Aug


Spent July 4th by myself, blowing off an L.A. suburban party that would have created more anxiety than I needed. I preferred being alone, writing and watching movie after movie. I finally got Hollywood Video to accept my membership card from New Jersey. I dove into a four-day DVD orgy, one film after another – from The Squid and the Whale to The Devil’s Rejects.

One film I watched was the Bukowski documentary, Born Into This. In some ways Bukowski was his own worst enemy – the drunken persona he created was so well realized that it made him an easy target. I’ve loved the guy since 1976, ever since I read an interview in Rolling Stone, which printed his poem about the neighborhood mutt tearing the crap out of the doctor’s dog.

The documentary revealed several moments of vulnerability that aren’t expressed in his writing, especially a scene where, reading a poem about the pure happiness he felt with Linda King, he begs her to be gentle when she takes her love away. Remembering as he reads, sitting on a broken down couch in his apartment in Hollywood, the pain is freshened and he begins to weep.

When you add these moments to the mix of his accomplished art, only those with an artistic agenda could continue to disparage him. Bukowski’s not above criticism, but to hate him reveals a small heart. I’ve always felt that artists were working to create a huge mosaic of expression – each of us adds something to the mosaic. Critics who deny Bukowski his part of the mosaic – that’s an impulse inspired by a kind of psychic fear.

One thing made me laugh.

When Bukowski was 54, he achieved success and moved out of a broken-down East Hollywood apartment to a beautiful home in San Pedro.

When I was 54, I moved from a nice home to a dark studio sublet in East Hollywood.

The funny thing is, Bukowski would love this place, Koreatown.