Saturday, December 20, 2008

The History of One Tough Muthafucka

¡Hola! Everybody... When I was a child, I was considered gifted. Most of the adults around me recognized something ion me and saw in me the potential to become something. It wasn’t that I was given a favored status (quite the contrary), it was more like to some people I represented the promise of our people.

My mother wouldn’t allow us to have pets, but in a very real way, she collected stray people. People who had lost in life, or had committed some taboo or another, to be rejected from wherever they came from. They were the lost ones, the “losers” who, having known defeat, had somehow also emerged somewhat who;le, if terribly fractured. It was these imperfect human beings who were often the most kind to me, the ones who really saw and wanted to support whatever it was they saw in me. I came to love those people.When I write, I often think of these people, the unforgiven, the lost but kind souls who came into and out of my life.

Carles Bukowski is an admittedly acquired taste, a man who never had a formal education and who “left writing in favor of drinking” until he couldn’t drink anymore and began writing again (and then left for some more drinking). Bukowski felt that as the hero of his own life, he had the right to make up the details of his stories, which he told with so much conviction and authenticity that readers accepted them as the unvarnished truth. While I would never compare my meager writing skills to his, Bukowski and I both share an intense identification with and love for “the defeated, the demented, and the dammed.”

* * *

-=[ The History Of One Tough Motherfucker ]=-
by Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said,"not much
chance...give him these pills...his backbone
is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he's been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there...also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off..."
I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn't eat, he
wouldn't touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn't go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn't work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I'd had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough
one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
"you can make it," I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn't want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.
you know the rest: now he's better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left...
and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,"look, look
at this!"
but they don't understand, they say something like,"you
say you've been influenced by Celine?"
"no," I hold the cat up,"by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!"
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he's relaxed he knows...
it's then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it's bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

* * *


No comments:

Post a Comment

What say you?


[un]Common Sense