Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Nights will flame with fire

My old boss, Jim, who became my roommate, who became my friend, who became a professor, first introduced me to Charles Bukowski.

"Read this, you're gonna love this guy."

Naturally, I didn't, because frankly poetry was not in my wheelhouse.

"This is different. It's not daffodils and doilies. This guy writes about drinking, shitting and working. It's funny and it's dark and it's right up your alley."

I was in my early twenties and my alley was about getting money and getting laid.

Eventually, I came around.

And now my house is littered with Bukowski books. Some of which I've actually cracked open. And I did become a fan of his gritty, muscular and surprisingly-insightful work.

For a quick introduction you could stream the Mickey O'Rourke bio-pic, Barfly. But I found his over-the-top performance distracting and way too Hollywood. The better choice is Factotum, starring Matt Dillon as Bukowski's brooding alter ego, Henry Chinaski.

All of which is a longwinded preface to my current annoyance.

It appears some dipshit millennials have exploited the writer's legacy, purposely de-gentrified a former dry cleaning store and built themselves a hipster douchebag dive bar, cleverly (though not really) named Barkowski.

From the red leatherette booths to the low rent pool tables, everything has been faithfully and meticulously recreated to harken the Trilby-hat wearing poser crowd to a different era.

Only it hasn't.

Because in a total affront to the man and the man's authenticity, the "bar" does not even serve whiskey.

They have beer and something called soju -- a Korean rice liquor, that according to Wikipedia is often mixed with yogurt and enjoyed in slushy form.

If Bukowski were to pass through the doors of this Disneyfied abortion of a bar I have no doubt he'd be hurling all over the sawdust covered floor before the bartender could say...

"Can I get you an artisan-blended blueberry soju?"


BONUS: One of my favorite poems. If you wanted to honor Bukowski, this is the bar you should have built. (NSFW)

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