In Reply to ‘How Is Your Heart’ by Charles Bukowski

assorted wine bottles

Dear Charles,

My heart is fine, no thanks to you.

The times I spent on the street corners, under street lamps, in the bathrooms and the shooting galleries, living with men who saw me as nothing but a cunt on legs open for their use so they could fool themselves into a orgasm-addled pastiche of contentment that imparted happiness to neither them nor me. Imparted no happiness yet left a mark. Left a mark yet failed to blow it up for once and for all.

I would not call it a balance in the ether, rather a continuation of the imbalance which creates armies of dead-on-the-inside girls who give themselves up to men like you.

While my body subdued the beast inside the men who would rent it for this hour or that act, nothing helped with daily little death brought by diversion into little jobs. I typed for insurance men, or filed plans of other people’s houses, or wept along to the the beep beep of the checkout line.

Nothing subdued the outrage inside of me, except the warm embrace of infusions that drowned out the coldness of man. No man ever brought me true comfort, not that they cared: men always come first, don’t they Charles? As long as men are helped by the sacrifice of women to get them through their masculine little wars and battles, their bar room brawls and their falls and discontents, their hangovers and needs and their speed-antics and the desperate trips to hospitals that they do not care to co operate with. As long as men are helped through life at the cost of women, then nothing changes in the way the world turns. Of course these men are content with the way the world turns.

Dear Charles, do not not see how this is not fair at all? Pale pastiches of your glorious drunk self threw some interest into my day to day life, but it cost, baby, it cost everything. Artistic men are rarely kind, their sensitivity rarely breeds any measure of the kindness promised in their fragility and depth of feeling.

Where was the contentment for me to wait in cheap motel rooms while nervous boyfriends/drug buddies head out with my money to score? Where was the happiness in drawing the curtains of $40 motels waiting for the sound of the boots smacking outside on the walkway heading home to me and my open arms.

Charles, you are Every-Drunk. You are Everyman. You are not nearly as bad as you could have been.

Yet where is the contentment in looking into a floor length mirror screaming silently, and inverse Alice, praying with my arms raised, naked and iced, praying for something that will help me ignore the fact that you you you will never be quite enough for me?

He said I sway my ass as I walk, shot disgust at me along with the shreds of that last best hook that he loved me any any any way. That he loved me despite the fact I am a whore. I wonder how I can walk without swaying, how I can be less of a whore? Heavy boots and straight leg Levi’s. Ramones tee shirts. A chain hanging from my belt. Hair hacked off short. Does that dissolve my whoredom? Does that soften the blow? What more can a girl do, except avoid men, men like you?

No one takes you seriously until you have a few scars and the flames are licking round your trailer, and even then, even then…to test your soul against windmills and bottles, bags and fists is not so much a quest as a masochistic self destruction.

Yes, Charles, my heart is fine, it barely breaks at all, shall we go swim in the motel pool?

Leave a Reply