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Run with the Hunted: Charles Bukowski Reader, aby Charles Bukowski
Synopses & Reviews
"And the great white horses come up & lick the frost of the dream"
The first thing I remember is being under something. It was a table, I saw a table leg, I saw the legs of the people, and a portion of the tablecloth hanging down. It was dark under there, I liked being under there. It must have been in Germany. I must have been between one and two years old. It was 1922. I felt good under the table. Nobody seemed to know that I was there. There was sunlight upon the rug and on the legs of the people. I liked the sunlight. The legs of the people were not interesting, not like the tablecloth which hung down, not like the table leg, not like the sunlight.
Then there is nothing . . . then a Christmas tree. Candles. Bird ornaments: birds with small berry branches in their beaks. A star. Two large people fighting, screaming. People eating, always people eating. I ate too. My spoon was bent so that if I wanted to eat I had to pick the spoon up with my right hand. If I picked it up with my left hand, the spoon bent away from my mouth. I wanted to pick the spoon up with my left hand.
Two people: one larger with curly hair, a big nose, a big mouth, much eyebrow; the larger person always seeming to be angry, often screaming; the smaller person quiet, round of face, paler, with large eyes. I was afraid of both of them. Sometimes there was a third, a fat one who wore dresses with lace at the throat. She wore a large brooch, and had many warts on her face with little hairs growing out of them. "Emily," they called her. These people didn't seem happy together. Emily was the grandmother, my father's mother. My father's name was "Henry." My mother's name was "Katherine." I never spoke tothem by name. I was "Henry, Jr." These people spoke German most of the time and in the beginning I did too.
The first thing I remember my grandmother saying was, "I will bury "all" of you!" She said this the first time just before we began eating a meal, and she was to say it many times after that, just before we began to eat. Eating seemed very important. We ate mashed potatoes and gravy, especially on Sundays. We also ate roast beef, knockwurst and sauerkraut, green peas, rhubarb, carrots, spinach, string beans, chicken, meatballs and spaghetti, sometimes mixed with ravioli; there were boiled onions, asparagus, and every Sunday there was strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream. For breakfasts we had french toast and sausages, or there were hotcakes or waffles with bacon and scrambled eggs on the side. And there was always coffee. But what I remember best is all the mashed potatoes and gravy and my grandmother, Emily, saying, "I will bury "all" of you!"
She visited us often after we came to America, taking the red trolley in from Pasadena to Los Angeles. We only went to see her occasionally, driving out in the Model-T Ford.
"Will you stop that?" my father said loudly.
"Let the boy play the piano," said my grandmother.
My mother smiled.
"That boy," said my grandmother, "when I tried to pick him up out of the cradle to kiss him, he reached up and hit me in the nose!"
They talked some more and I went on playing the piano.
"Why don't you get that thing tuned?" asked my father
ice for the eagles
under the moon
"I'm sorry, sir, you needn't pay. Just leave."
"I'll leave, all right! But I'll be back! I'll burn this god-damned place down!"
Once we were in a drug store and my mother and I were standing to one side while my father yelled at a clerk. Another clerk asked mymother, "Who "is" that horrible man? Every time he comes in here there's an argument."
"That's my husband," my mother told the clerk.
Yet, I remember another time. He was working as a milkman and made early morning deliveries. One morning he awakened me. "Come on, I want to show you something." I walked outside with him. I was wearing my pajamas and slippers. It was still dark, the moon was still up. We walked to the milk wagon which was horsedrawn. The horse stood very still. "Watch," said my father. He took a sugar cube, put it in his hand and held it out to the horse. The horse ate it out of his palm. "Now you try it . . ." He put a sugar cube in my hand. It was a very large horse. "Get closer! Hold out your hand!" I was afraid the horse would bite my hand off. The head came down; I saw the nostrils; the lips pulled back, I saw the tongue and the teeth, and then the sugar cube was gone. "Here. Try it again . . ." I tried it again. The horse took the sugar cube and waggled his head. "Now," said my father, "I'll take you back inside before the horse shits on you."
The first children of my age that I knew were in kindergarten. They seemed very strange, they laughed and talked and seemed happy. I didn't like them. I always felt as if I was going to be sick, to vomit, and the air seemed strangely still and white. We painted with watercolors. We planted radish seeds in a garden and some weeks later we ate them with salt. I liked the lady who taught kindergarten, I liked herbetter than my parents. "--Ham on Rye"
rags, bottles, sacks
as a boy
The best of Bukowski's novels, stories, and poems, this collection reads like an autobiography, relating the extraordinary story of his life and offering a sometimes harrowing, invariably exhilarating reading experience. A must for this counterculture idol's legion of fans.
About the Author
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) achieved international fame with his 45 books of prose and poetry, including the novels Post Office, Factotum and Women, and the screenplay for the film Barfly.
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