My Favorite Poet/Poem


You knew sooner or later I was going to post some Bukowski. Like him or not, too bad. This is my favorite poem. It may not be his "best" poem, but it was the first one I read that packed a huge punch. I'd already read several of his novels before I bought a poetry collection called Love is a Dog From Hell. I already felt I knew the man because I had some insight from reading Ham on Rye and a few other novels, so there was some context. Once I got to this poem, the tears poured. That's when I became a lover of most of his poems. This one remains my favorite for that reason.

Note: There are three versions of this poem. Read about WHY here.

The Crunch

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or


strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving winebottles
bayoneting and fucking

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners.

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place

unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don't ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we have not yet
though of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says that there is a chance.

it will not say
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There is a lot said in that poem Arty and I can see influences of it in some of your art. 😘
I was shocked to read how the work of Bukowski had been altered. Looking at the comparison pieces of poetry it is clearly a travesty. A willful parody by an inferior being with no understanding of the crime he has committed.
My partner has put a labor of love into And many Bukowski scholars have been working on gathering the manuscripts to make these comparisons. One day, some books should be published with the real work, but I'm not sure when or how exactly. People are on it though. There have been volumes created privately, but you'd have to ask mjp or Roni how those books are acquired, if you're interested. I'm an insider and even I don't know!
John Martin tried to sanitize everything Bukowski wrote, as to hide the grit and rawness of who he was. It is a travesty!