One evening last week I drank a whole bottle of wine and watched "Born Into This," a wild documentary on the poet Charles Bukowski. He's one of a number of writers I dip into occasionally, because he has some medicine that's good for me if I take it in the right doses.
I found myself scribbling notes, writing down Bukowski quotes. "Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality," said Bukowski. "Love is a drug from hell," he added.
Talking about why he turned from prose to poetry early in his career, he called poetry "a seflish form where you can scream a little bit. I guess I needed to scream a little bit."
Bukowski once said that Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse ruined America. In the documentary, a friend explained that Bukowski "could not handle the fact that the power over multimillions of human beings was in the hands of this three-fingered foolish creature that taught you nothing whatsoever, that expressed nothing real, total absurd fucking fantasy—not even good, not even creative. He was appalled by Mickey Mouse."
But reality, he could deal with. He suffered from ulcers as a young man. "Blood came out of my mouth and out of my ass," he recalls. "You'd be surprised how much blood there is in a person. It keeps coming. And it's purple."
"You know what I think I ought to think?" I wrote, swept off by good language. "I shouldn't feel sheepish about having once believed that I could be a better writer than Ernest Hemingway and as good as F. Scott Fitzgerald and maybe E.E. Cummings. I should be glad I once felt that way. And any writer who never did feel that way ought to be jealous of David Murray, age 20. He was a great writer in the making—and he lived to tell the tale!"
I also wrote a short letter to the current appalling foolish creature:
Dear Donald Trump,
Quit wiping your shit all over me, and my country.
It was quite an evening. I awoke the next day not feeling hungover, as much as feeling I'd been up late, working.