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Романы - - Дневник последних лет жизни (engl)

Проза и поэзия >> Переводная проза >> Буковски, Чарльз >> Романы
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Юбмхшф Взукчгуя. Дйечйяу лкгхедйяъ хен пяфйя (engl)



     (вщх яфдбй кндехшйкс уйяткс) Charles Bukowski. The captain is out to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship


     8/28/91 11:28 PM

     Good day at the track, damn near swept the card.

     Yet it gets boring out there, even when you're winning. It's the minute wait between races, your life leaking out into space. The people look gray out there, walked through. And I'm there with them. But where else could I go? An Art Museum? Imagine staying home all day and playing at writer? I could wear a little scarf. I remember this poet who used to come by on the bum. Buttons off his shirt, puke on his pants, hair in eyes, shoelaces undone, but he had this long scarf which he kept very clean. That signaled he was a poet. His writing? Well, forget it...

     Came in, swam in the pool, then went to the spa. My soul is in danger. Always has been.

     Was sitting on the couch with Linda, the good dark night descending, when there was a knock on the door. Linda got it.

     "Better come here, Hank..."

     I walked to the door, barefooted, in my robe. A young blond guy, a young fat girl and a medium sized girl.

     "They want your autograph..."

     "I don't see people," I told them.

     "We just want your autograph," said the blond guy, "then we promise never to come back."

     Then he started giggling, and holding his head. The girls just stared.

     "But none of you have a pen or even a piece of paper I said.

     "Oh," said the blond kid, taking his hands from his head, "We'll come back again with a book! Myabe at a more proper time..."

     Tha bathrobe. The bare feet. Maybe the kid thought i was eccentric. Maybe I was.

     "Don't come in the morning," I told them.

     I saw them begin to walk off and I closed the door...

     Now I'm up here writing about them. You've got to be a little hard with them or they'll swarm you. I've had some horrible expreriences blocking that door. So many of them think that somehow you'll invite them in and drink with them all night. I prefer to drink alone. A writer owes nothing except to his writing. He owes nothing to the reader except the availability of the printed page. And worse, many of the doorknockers are not even readers. They've just heard something. The reader and the best human is the one who rewards me with his or her absence.


     8/29/91 10:55 PM

     Slow at the track today, my damned life dangling on the hook. I am there every day. I don't see anybody else out there every day except the employees. I probably have some malady. Saroyan lost his ass at the track, Fante at poker, Dostoevsky at the weel. And it's really not a matter of the money unless you run out of it. I had a gambler friend once who said, "I don't care if I win or lose, I just want to gamble." I have more respect for the money. I've had very little of it most of my life. I know what a park bench is, and the landlord's knock. There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.

     I suppose there's always something out there we want to torment ourselves with. And at the track you get the feel of the other people, the desperate darkness, and how easy they toss it in and quit. The racetrack crowd is the world brought down to size, life grinding against death and losing. Nobody wins finally, we are just seeking a reprieve, a moment out of the glare. (shit, the lighted end of my cigarette just hit one of my fingers as I was musing on this purposelessness. That woke me up, brought me out of this Sartre state!) Hell, we need humor, we need to laugh. I used to laugh more, I used to do everything more, except write. Now, I am writing and writing and writing, the older I get the more I write, dancing with death. Good show. And I think the stuff is all right. One day they'll say, "Bukowski is dead," and then I will be truly discovered and hung from stinking bright lampposts. So what? Immortality is the stupid invention of the living. You see what the racetracks does? It makes the lines roll. Lightning and luck. The last bluebird singing. Anything I say sounds fine because I gamble when I write. Too many are too careful. They study, they teach and they fail. Convention strips them of their fire.

     I feel better now, up here on this second floor with the Macintosh. My pal.

     And Mahler is on the radio, he glides with such ease, taking big chances, one needs that sometimes. Then he sends in the long power rises. Thank you, Mahler, I borrow from you and can never pay you back.

     I smoke too much, I drink too much but I can't write too much, it just keeps coming and I call for more and it arrives and mixes with Mahler. Sometimes I deliberately stop myself. I say, wait a moment, go to sleep or look at your 9 cats or sit with your wife on the couch. You're either at the track or with the Macintosh. And then I stop, put on the brakes, park the damned thing. Some people have written that my writing has helped them go on. It has helped me too. The writing, the roses, the 9 cats.

     There's a small balcony here, the door is open and I can see the lights of the cars on the Harbor Freeway south, they never stop, that roll of lights, on and on. All those people. What are they doing? What are they thinking? We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.

     Keep it going, Mahler! You've made this a wonderous night. Don't stop, you son-of-a-bitch! Don't stop!


     9/11/91 1:20 AM

     I should cut my toenails. My feet have been hurting me for a couple of weeks. I know it's the toenails yet I can't find time to cut them. I am always fighting for the minute, I have time for nothing. Of course, if I could stay away from the racetrack I would have plenty of time. But my whole life has been a matter of fighting for one simple hour to do what I want to do. There was always something getting in the way of my getting to myself.

     I should make a giant effort to cut my toenails tonight. Yes, I know there are people dying of cancer, there are people sleeping in the streets in cardboard boxes and I babble about cutting my toenails. Still, I am probably closer to reality than some slug who watches 162 baseball games a year. I've been in my hell, I'm still in my hell, don't feel superior. The fact that I am alive and 71 years old and babbling about my toenails, that's miracle enough for me.

     I've been reading the philosophers. They are really strange, funny wild guys, gamblers. Descartes came along and saind, there fellows have been talking pure crap. He said that mathematics was model for absolute self- evident truth. Mechanism. Then Hume came along with his attack on the validity of scientific causal knowledge. And then came Kierkegaard: "I stick my finger into existence -- it smells of nothing. Where am I?" And then along came Sartre who claimed that existence was absurd. I love there boys. They rock the world. Didn't they headaches thinking that way? Didn't a rush of blackness roar between their teeth? When you take men like these and stack them againts the men I see walking along the street or eating in cafes or appearing at tv screen the difference is so great that something wrenches inside of me, kicking me in the gut.

     I probably won't do the toenails tonight. I'm not crazy but I'm not sane either. No, maybe I'm crazy. Anyway, today, when daylight comes and 2 p.m. arrives it ill be the first race of the last day of racing at Del Mar. I played every day, every race. I think I'll sleep now, my razor nails slashing at the good sheets. Good night.


     9/12/91 11:19 PM

     No horses today. I feel strangely normal. I know why Hemingway needed the bullfights, it framed the picture for him, it reminded him of where it was and what it was. Sometimes we forget, paying gas bills, getting oil changes, etc. Most people are not ready for death, theirs or anybody else's. It shocks them, terrifies them. It's like a great surprise. Hell, it should never be. I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: "Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I'll be ready."

     There's nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their mindes are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can't hear it. Most people's deaths are a sham. Thare's nothing left to die.

     You see, I need the horses, I lose my sense of humor. One thing death can't stand is for you to laugh at it. Trues laughter knocks the logest odds right on thir ass. I haven't laughed for 3 or 4 weeks. Something is eating me alive. I scratch myself, twist, look about, trying to find it. The Hunter is clever. Your can't see him. Or her.

     This computer must go back into the shop. Won't bless you with the details. Some day I will know more about computers than the computers themselves. But right now this machine has me by the balls.

     There are two editors I know who take great offense at computers. I have these two letters and they rail against the computer. I was very surprised about the bitterness in the letters. And the childishness. I am aware that the computer can't do the writing for me. If it could, I wouldn't want it. They both just went on too long. The inference being that the computer wasn't good for the soul. Well, few things are. But I'm for convenience, if I can write twice as much and the quality remains the same, then I prefer the computer. Writing is when I fly, writing is when I start fires. Writing is when I take death out of my left pocket, throw him against the wall and catch him as he bounces back.

     These guys think you always have to be on the cross and bleeding in order to have soul. They want you half mad, dribbling down your shirt front. I've had enough of the cross, my tak is full of that. If I can stay off the cross, I still have plenty to run on. Too much. Let them get on the cross, I'll congratulate them. But pain doesn't create writing, a writer does.

     Anyway, back into the shop with this and when these two editors see my work typewritten again they'll think, ah, Bukowski has his soul back. This stuff reads much better.

     Ah, well, what would we do without our editors. Or better yet, what would they do without us?


     9/13/91 5:25 PM

     The track is closed. There is no inter-track wagering with Pomona, damned if I'm going to make that damned hot drive. I'll probably end up with night racing at Los Alamitos. The computer is out of the shop once more but it no longer corrects my spelling. I've hacked at this machine trying to dig it out. Will probably have to phone the shop will ask the fellow, "What do I do now?" And he will say something like, "You have to transfer it from your main disk to your hard disk." I'll probably end up erasing everything. The typewriter sits behind me and says, "Look, I'm still here."

     There are night when this room is the only place want to be. Yet I get up here and I'm an empty husk. I know I could raise hell and dance words on this screen if I got drunk but I have to pick up Linda's sister at the airport tomorrow afternoon. She's coming for a visit. She's changed her name from Robin to Jharra. As women get older, they change their names. Many do, I mean. Suppose a man did that? Can you see me phoning somebody:

     "Hey, Mike, this is Tulip."

     "Who?"

     "Tulip. Formerly Charles, but now Tulip. I will no longer answer to Charles."

     "Fuck you, Tulip."

     Mike hangs up...

     Getting old is very odd. The main thing is that you have to keep telling yourself, I'm old, I'm old. You see yourself in the mirror as you descend the escalator but you don't look directly at the mirror, you give a little side glance, a wary smile. You don't look that bad, you look something like a drusty candle. Too bad, screw the gods, screw the game. You should have been dead 35 years ago. This is a little extra scenery, more peeks at the horror show. The older a writer is the better he should write, he's seen more, endured more, he's closer to death. The page, that white page, 8 and 1/2 by 11. The gamble remains. Then you always remember a thing or two one of the other boys have said. Jeffers: "Be angry at the sun." All too wonderful. Or Sartre: "Hell is other peopple." Right on and through the target. I'm never alone. The best thing is to be alone but not quite alone.

     To my right, the radio works hard bringing me more great classical music. I listen to 3 or 4 hours of this a night as I am doing other things, or nothing. It's my drug, it washes the crap of the day right out of me. The classical composers can do this for me. The poets, the novelists, the short story writes can't. A gang of fakes. What is it? Writers are the most difficult to take, on the page or in person. And they are worse in person than on the page and that's pretty bad. Why do we say "pretty bad"? Why not "ugly bad"? Well, writers are pretty bad and ugly bad. And we love to bitch about one another. Look at me.

     About writing, I write basically the same way now as I did 50 years ago, maybe a little better but not much. Why did I have to reach the age of 51 I could pay the rent with my writing? I mean, if I'm right and my writing is no different, what took so long? Did I have to wait for the world to catch up with me? And now, if it has, where am I now? In bad shape, that's what. But I don't think I've gotten the fat head from any luck that I've had. Does a fathead ever realize that he's one? But I'm far from contented. Something is in me that I can't control. I can never drive my car over a bridge without thinking of suicide. I can never look at a lake or an ocean without thinking of suicide. I mean, I won't linger on it all. But it will flash on me: SUICIDE. Like a light going on. In the darkness. That there is an out helps you stay in. Get it? Otherwise, it could only be madness. And that's no fun, buddy. And whenever I get off a good poem, that's another crutch to keep me going. I don't know about other people, but when I bend over to put on my shoes in the morning, I think, Christ- oh-mighty, now what? I'm screwed by life, we don't get along. I have to takс little bites out of it, not the whole thing. It's like swallowing buckets of shit. I am never surprised that the madhouses and jails are full and that the streets are full. I like to look at my cats, they chill me out. They make me feel all right. Don't put me in a roomful of humans, though. Don't ever do that. Especially on a holiday. Don't do it.

     I heard they found my first wife dead in India and nobody in her family wanted the body. poor girl. She had a crippled neck that couldn't turn. Other than that she was perfectly beautiful. She divorced me and she should have. I wasn't kind enough or big enough to save her.


     9/21/91 9:27 PM

     Went to a movie premiere last night. Red carpet. Flash bulbs. Party afterwards. Didn't hear much said. Too crowded. Too hot. First party I got cornered at the bar by a young guy with very round eyes who never blinked. I don't know what he was on. Or off. Quite a few people like that about. The young guy had 3 rather nice looking ladies with him and he kept telling me how they liked to suck cock. The ladies just smiled and said, "Oh, yes!" And the whole conversation went on like that. On and on like that. I kept trying to figure out whether it was true or whether I was being put on. But after a while I just got weary of it. But the young guy just kept pressing me, talking on about how the girls liked to suck cock. His face kept getting closer and he kept on and on. Finally, I reached out and grabbed him by his shirt front, hard, and held like that and I said, "Listen, it wouldn't look good if a 71-year- old guy beat the shit out of you in front of all these people, would it?" Then I let go of him. He walked around the other end of bar, followed by his ladies. Damned if I could make any sense out of it.

     I guess I'm too used to sitting in a small room and making words do a few things. I see enough of humanity at the racetracks, the supermarkets, gas stations, freeways, cafes, etc. This can't be helped. But I feel like kicking myself in the ass when I go to gatherings, even if the drinks are free. It never works for me. I've got enough clay to play with. People empty me. I have to get away to refill. I'm what's best for me, sitting here slouched, smoking a beedie and watching this creen flash the words. Seldom do you meet a rare or interesting person. It's more than galling, it's a fucking constant shock. It's making a god-damned grouch out of me. Anybody can be a god-damned grouch and most are. Help!

     I just need a good night's sleep. But first, never a damned thing to read. After you've read a certain amount of decent literature, there just isn't any more. We have to write it ourselves. There's no juice in the air. But I expect to wake up in the morning. And the morning I don't, fine. I won't need any more window screeens, razor blades, Racing Forms or message- taking machines. The phone rings mostly for my wife, anyhow. The Bells do not Toll for Me.

     Sleep, sleep. I sleep on my stomach. Old habit. I've lived with too many crazy women. Got to protect the privates. Too bad that young guy didn't challenge me. I was in a mood to kick ass. Would have cheered me up immensely. Good night.


     9/25/91 12:28 AM

     Hot stupid night, the cats are miserable, caught in all that fur, they look at me and I can't do anything. Linda off to a couple of places. She needs things to do, people to talk to. It's all right with me but she tends to drink and must drive home. I'm not good company, talking is not my idea of anything at all. I don't want to exchange ideas -- or souls. I'm just a block of stone unto myself. I want to stay within that block, unmolested. It was that way from the beginning. I resisted my parents, then I resisted school, then I resisted becoming a decent citizen. It's like whatever I was, was there from the beginning. I didn't want anybody tinkering with that. I still don't.

     I think that people who keep notebooks and jot down their thougts are jerk-offs. I am only doing this because somebody suggested I do it, so you see, I'm not even an original jerk- off. But this somehow makes it easier. I just let it roll. Like a hot turd down a hill.

     I don't know what to do about the racetrack. I think it's burning out for me. I was standing around at Hollywood Park today, inter-track betting, 13 races from Fairplex Park. After the 7th race I am $72 ahead. So? Will it take some of those white hairs out of my eyebrows? Will it make and opera singer out of me? What do I want? I am beating a difficult game, I am beating an 18 take. I do that quite a bit. I do that quite a bit. So, it mustn't be too difficult. What do I want? I really don't care if there is God or not. It doesn't interest me. So, what the hell is it about 18 percent?

     I look over and see the same guy talking. He stands in the same spot every day talking to this person or that or to a couple of people. He holds the Form and talks about the horses. How dreary! What am I doing here?

     I leave. I walk down to parking, get in my car and drive off. It's only 4 p.m. How nice. I drive along. Others drive along. We are snails crawling on a leaf.

     Then I get into the driveway, park, get out. There's a message from Linda taped to the phone. I check the mail. Gas bill. And a large envelope full of poems. All printed on separate pieces of paper. Women talking about their periods, about their tits and breasts and about getting fucked. Utterly dull. I dump it in the trash.

     The I take a dump. Feel better. Take off my clothes and step into the pool. Ice water. But great. I walk along toward the deep end of the pool, the water rising inch by inch, chilling me. Then I plunge below the water. It's restful. The world doesn't know where I am. I come up, swim to the far edge, find the ledge, sit there. It must be about the 9th or 10th race. The horses are stil running. I plunge of my age hanging onto me like a leech. Still, it's o.k. I should have been dead 40 years ago. I rise to the top, swim to the far edge, get out.

     That was a long time ago. I'm up here now with the Macintosh IIsi. And this is about all there is for now. I think I'll sleep. Rest up for the track tomorrow.


     9/26/91 12:16 AM

     Got the proofs the new book today. Poetry. Martin says it will run to about 350 pages. I think the poems hold up. Uphold. I am an old train steaming down the track.

     Took me a couple of hours to read. I've had some practice at doing this thing. The lines roll free and say about what I want them to say. Now the main influence on myself is myself.

     As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Nobody escapes them. Some even live with them. The idea is to realize that a trap is a trap. If you are in one nad you don't realize it, then you're finished. I believe that I have recognized most of my traps and I have written about them. Of course, all of writing doesn't consist of writing about traps. There are other things. Yet, some might say that life is a trap. Writing can trap. Some writers tend to write what has pleased their readers in the past. Then they are finished. Most writers' creative span is short. They hear the accolades and believe them. There is only one final judge of writing and that is the writer. When he is swayed by the critics, the editors, the publishers, the readers, then he's finished. And, of course, when he's swayed with his fame and his fortune, you can float him down the river with the turds.

     Each new line is a beginning and has nothing to do with any lines which preceeded it. We all start new each time. And, of course, it isn't all that holy either. The world can live much easier without writing than without plumbing. And some places in the world have very little of either. Of course, I'd rather live without plumbing but I'm sick.

     There's nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him. And the longer he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with Death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it. Be the Clown in the Darkness. It's funny. It's funny. One more new line...


     9/26/91 11:36 PM

     A tittle for the new book. Sat out at the track trying to think of one. That's one place where one can't think. It sucks the brains and spirit out of you. A draining blow job, that's what that place is. And I haven't been sleeping nights. Something is sapping the energy out of me.

     Saw the lonely one at the track today. "How ya doin' Charles?" "O.k.," I told him, then drifted off. He wants camaraderie. He wants to talk about things. Horses. You don't talk about horses. That's the LAST thing you talk about. A few races went by and then I caught him looking at me over an automatic betting machine. Poor guy. I went outside and sat down and a cop started talking to me. Well, they call them security men. "They're moving the toteboard," he said. "Yes," I said. They had dug the thing out of the ground and were moving it further west. Well, it put men to work. I liked to see men working. I hand an idea that the security man was talking to me to find out if I was crazy or not. He probably wasn't But I got the idea. I let ideas jump me like that. I scratched my belly and pretended that I was a good old guy. "They're going to put the lakes back in," I said. "Yeah," he said. "This place used to be called the Track of the Lakes and Flowers." "Is that so?" he said. "Yeah," I told him, "they used to have a Goose Girl contest. They'd choose a goose girl and she went out in a boat and rowed around among the geese. Real boring job." "Yeah," said the cop. He just stood there. I stood up. "Well," I said, "I'm going to get a coffee. Take it easy." "Sure," he said, "pick some winners." "You too, man," I said. Then I walked away.

     A title. My mind was blank. It was getting chilly. Being on old fart, I thought it might be best to get my jacket. I took the escalator down from the 4th floor. Who invented the escalator? Moving steps. Now, talk about crazy. People going up and down escalators, elevators, driving cars, having garage door that open at the touch of a button. Then they go to health clubs to work the fat off. In 4,000 years we won't have any legs, we'll wiggle along on our assholes, or maybe we'll just roll along like tumbleweeds. Each species destroys itself. What killed the dinosaurs was that they ate everything around and the had to eat each other and that brought it down to one and the son-of-a-bitch just starved to death.

     I got down to my car, got my jacket, put it on, took the escalator back up. That made me feel more like a playboy, a hustler-leaving the place and then coming back. I felt as if I had consulted some special secret source.

     Well, I played out the card, had some luck. By the 13th race it was dark and beginning to rain. I bet ten minutes early and left. Traffic was cautious. Rain scares the hell out of L.A. drivers. I got on the freeway behind the mass of red taillights. I didn't turn on the radio. I wanted silence. A title ran through my brain: Bible for the Disenchanted. No, no good. I remebered some of the best titles. I mean, ot other writers. Bow Down to Wood and Stone. Great title, lousy writer. Notes from the Underground. Great title. Great writer. Also, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Carson McCullers, a very underrated writer. Of all my dozens of titles the one I liked best was Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts. But I blew that one away on a little mimeo pamphled. Too bad.

     Then the freeway stopped and I just sat there. No title. My head was empty. I felt like sleeping for a week. I was glad I had put the trash cans out. I was tired. Now I didn't have to do it. Trash cans. One night I had slept, drunk, on top of trash cans. New York City. I was awakened by a big rat sitting on my belly. We both, at once, leaped about 3 feet into the air. I was trying to be a writer. Now I was supposed to be one and I couldn't think of a title. I was a fake. Traffic began to move and I followed it along. Nobody knew who anybody else was and it was great. Then a great flash of lightning crashed above the freeway and for the first time that day I felt pretty good.


     9/30/91 11:36 PM

     So, after some days of blank-braining it, I awakened this morning and there was the title, it had come to me in my sleep: The Last Night of the Earth Poems. It fit the content, poems of finality, sickness and death. Mixed with others, of course. Even some humor. But the title works for this book and this time. Once you a title, it locks everything in, the poems find their order. And I like the title. If I saw a book with a title like that I would pick it up and try to read a few pages. Some titles exaggerate to attrat attention. They don't work because the lie doesn't work.

     Well, I'm done with that. Now what? Back to the novel and more poems. Whatever happened to the short story? It has left me. Here's a reason but I don't know what it is. If I worked at it I could find the reason but working at it wouldn't help anything. I mean, that time could be used for the novel or the poem. Or to cut my toenails.

     You know, somebody ought to invent a decent toenail clipper. I'm sure it can be done. The ones they give us to work with are really awkward and disheartening. I read where a guy on skid row tried to hold up a liquor store with a pair of toenail clippers. It didn't work there either. How did Dostoevsky cut his toenails? Van Gogh? Beethoven? Did they? I don't believe it. I used to let Linda do mine. She did an excellent job -- only now and then she got a little piece of flesh. Me, I've had enough pain. Of any kind.

    

... ... ...
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Приходит студент в столовую, подсаживается к профессору. Профессор ему: "Гусь свинье не товарищ" .
Студент: Ну, ладно, я полетел.
Профессор обидился и решил студента на экзамене завалить. Приходит студент на экзамен и отвечает все на «отлично»…
Профессор задает ему вопрос:

- Вот представь, идешь ты по дороге, видишь, два мешка стоят. Один с умом, другой с золотом. Какой возьмешь?
Студент: "С золотом".
Профессор: "А я б с умом взял"
Студент: "Ну, это кому чего не хватает".
Профессор разозлился и написал студенту в зачетке: "козел". Студент даже не посмотрел и ушел. Потом возвращается и говорит: "Профессор, вы тут расписались, а оценку не поставили".
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