A Special #ReadAnFnBookFridays With Charles Bukowski


I tried reading a book for this week’s post, per usual, but ditched the idea when I realized the book I was trying to read sucked, and I don’t want to feature books that suck on #ReadAnFnBookFridays. I hate having to rip into someone else’s creative work just because I don’t care for it, especially when there are apparently others, according to some reviews I read, who think it’s great.

So I’m just skipping it, and moving on to Plan B.

Plan B is inspired by a recent episode of the WTF? Podcast with Marc Maron, in which he interviews comedian Duncan Trussell. The comedians’ conversation eventually gets to a discussion about a Charles Bukowski poem called The Shoelace.

Bukowski, if you’re not familiar, was a notoriously drunken poet, novelist, who found fame in the 60s and 70s with his bleak views. Among his most popular work, is the story that became the film Barfly starring Mickey Rourke. He’s also well known for his book Post Office, which recounts his years of doing mind-numbing work for the USPS prior to devoting his life to writing and drinking full time.


Bukowski’s The Shoelace is a poem explaining its the little things in life that ultimately get to us, and drive us all nuts. I was only introduced Bukowski during the past five or six years. The Shoelace was one of the first pieces I found I could connect with, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.

Wow. Right?

Bukowski’s notoriety as a drinker and misfit sometimes overshadows his work to the point where you’re often left wondering if I just found this stuff somewhere, and didn’t know anything about Bukowski, would I still even like it?

Ultimately, I think the answer for some is yes. And those few are the ones who are probably just as mentally askew as he was. The rest of us, would probably just pass a lot of it off as being scribblings of a madman. This makes documentaries about his life quite interesting.

There are several documentaries on YouTube to check out, including The Bukowski Tapes, nearly four hours of seemingly just about every interview ever filmed, but this one is far shorter, and hits all the same highlights.

And of course, as a pop culture icon of sorts, there are plenty of Bukowski spoofs out there, the best of which in recent years is Bill Cosby Bukowski, an artistic mashup by comedian Jon Daly, known for writing stunning Jelloems.

Here he is on the Comedy Death Ray Podcast, which eventually became Comedy Bang Bang,  alongside Scott Aukerman and Nick Swardson. Here he reads the poem, “I Wish I had Titties” and “Who is the Most Fuckable Huxtable” I think this is the first appearance of Bill Cosby Bukowski I ever heard.

Next week, I know I have a good book lined up, because I started it last night and can’t wait to get back into it and finish it off. I’m not going to reveal the title yet, but it is a book about weed-crazy hamsters in Amsterdam. Until then, why don’t you read a fucking book or something.