Foolish Monkey

Foolish Monkey
MAGIC TOWN where the old never die, Connecticut,
January 31
*************************** "I find that I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain" -Red in The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King *************************** WARNING: I like to noodle. can't resist. and once is never enough either. ***************************

Foolish Monkey's Links

MARCH 12, 2012 4:28PM

COMMERCE by Charles Bukowski for TOM CORDLE

Rate: 9 Flag


I used to drive those trucks so hard

and for so long that

my right foot would

go dead from pushing down on the


delivery after delivery,

14 hours at a time

for $1.10 per hour

under the table,

up one-way alleys in the worst parts of


at midnight or at high noon,

racing between tall buildings

always with the stink of something

dying or about to die

in the freight elevator

at your destination,

a self-operated elevator,

opening into a large bright room,

uncomfortably so

under  unshielded lights

over the heads of many women

each bent mute over a machine,

crucified alive

on piecework,

to hand the package then

to a fat son of a bitch in red


he signs, ripping through the cheap


with his ballpoint pen,

that's power,

that's America at work.


you think of killing him

on the spot

but discard that thought and


down into the urine-stinking


they have you crucified too,

America at work,

where they rip out your intestines

and your brain and your

will and your spirit.

they suck you dry, then throw

you away.

the capitalist system.

the work ethic.

the profit motive.

the memory of your father's words,

"work hard and you'll be


of course, only if you make

much more for them than they pay



Out of the alley and into the

sunlight again,

into heavy traffic,

planning the route to your next stop,

they best way, the time-


you knowing none of the tricks

and to actually think about

all the deliveries that still lie ahead

would lead to


it's one at a time,

easing in and out of traffic

between other work-driven drivers

also with no concept of danger,

reality, flow or


you can feel the despair

escaping from their


their lives as hopeless and

as numbed as



you break through the cluster

of them

on your way to the next


driving through teeming downtown

Los Angeles in 1952,

stinking and hungover,

no time for lunch,

no time for coffee,

you're on route #10,

a new man,

give the new man the

ball-busting route,

see if he can swallow the



you look down and the

needle is on


almost no gas left.

too fucking bad.

you gun it,

lighting a crushed cigarette with

one hand from a soiled pack of



shit on the world.


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I just read this to my husband who said,
"he didn't like working".

And that's the way it is, then and always, but for a few years in the Sixties and Seventies I guess a few people believed it could somehow get better, and there's always a con-man somewhere selling "Hope and Change!"
Charles Monkey has done it again!
hey janie...Oh please find it. I'd love it.

thanks. ***
it's true jacob. I wish it wasn't but it is.

Chicken, isn't it something? He wrote that in the 1950s.
Monkey I know you wrote this with a few things in mind

almost no gas left.

too fucking bad.

you gun it,

lighting a crushed cigarette with

one hand from a soiled pack of


All I could think of was Thelma and Louise and the ultimate road trip.
So glad you are sharing this with us today. I did not even know who
CB was until I read your post yesterday. Now I cannot get enough of his poetry.
rated with love
"Home of the free......."

Yeah. Right.

Well done, and thank you; I'm honored beyond words, save for these:

Arbeit Macht Frei
Linda, I wish I wrote it. It's CB, once again. I'm so into him this week. I'm reading Women, which is great. Then I stumbled across Bluebird and now I'm totally all bukowski-ing.

Poetess...RIGHT? isn't his poetry astounding? I'm so glad I could give you his. He's truly a great American Poet!

Pixie...I know...I know. it's enough to make you puke.
Tom, thanks. I saw this poem and it came to me this has been going on for so long - the miserable exploitation of the working American. In the end, we're the pickings... to take or leave.

The post you linked to is one of your most powerful. I remember it. It's a great piece, very deserving. And so damned sad.

What has happened to America? Maybe America was never America in the first place. Maybe America was always something of a mirage. It makes me sad because I believe, still. Even now.
"... of course, only if you make

much more for them than they pay


With only one exception I can think of, these words apply to the publishing world too.

ps. I think your husband was right, too ;-)

My favourite Bukowski ( the only one I can recite from memory ) is The Day It Rained At The LA County Museum. Maybe because it was one of the first of his I read, & it stunned me.
Very good. "Crucified alive / on piecework"; "they have you crucified too."