4.22.2006

Working A Con On Death

I am a writer.

What is this dream?

Why has my culture tried so hard to warp it?

I want to write. I have always wanted to write. Comic books have become my chosen medium, for better or worse.

The 9 to 5 march has always torn me to shreds. Even jobs that were only mildly offensive chewed me up and spit me out. I cannot succumb to the 8 hour shift, the pounding clock that steals a glance every other breath, the lurking manager with trustless eyes, the bitter customer satisfied only by the sound of your defeat.

I am a writer.

My culture has tricked me into wanting words to bring me some kind of wealth and/or fame. Trying to separate my desire to write and my desire to make money has become increasingly difficult as the years go by.

Writing a good poem has nothing to do with money. Producing an amazing comic book has nothing to do with money. Except, I cannot attempt either without money getting it’s grubby little hands all over my brain.

Why am I writing? If an idea doesn’t have a financial objective, is it valid to pursue?


These are questions I’d prefer having simple answers for. Trust me, I could give you an impassioned tirade about how important words are to me, how I will write until the day I die whether it makes me money or not. And it would all be TRUE.

It doesn’t change that fact that the desire for financial success is constantly slamming me against brick walls. Quite frankly, I’m sick of cleaning up all the blood.

Which is when I turn to the king of tough for inspiration. Charles Bukowski reminds me that writing IS the goal. Hours spent at the keyboard stringing words together IS the point. Not money, not recognition, not some lousy pat on the back from my fucked up, bankrupt culture.

The work is the reason, and goddamnit, I’m stealing my 5 minutes…and a whole lot more.

death is smoking my cigars
by Charles Bukowski

you know: I’m drunk once again
here
listening to Tchaikovsky
on the radio.
Jesus, I heard him 47 years
ago
when I was a starving writer
and here he is
again
and now I am a minor success as
a writer
and death is walking
up and down
this room
smoking my cigars
taking hits of my
wine
as Tchaik is working away
at the Pathetique,
it’s been some journey
and any luck I’ve had was
because I rolled the dice
right:
I starved for my art, I starved to
gain 5 god-damned minutes, 5 hours,
5 days—
I just wanted to get the word
down;
fame, money, didn’t matter:
I wanted the word down
and they wanted me at a punch press,
a factory assembly line
they wanted me to be a stock boy in a department store.

well, death says, as he walks by,
I’m going to get you anyhow
no matter what you’ve been:
writer, cab-driver, pimp, butcher,
sky-diver, I’m going to get
you…

o.k. baby, I tell him.

we drink together now
as one a.m. slides to 2
a.m. and
only he knows the
moment, but I worked a con
on him: I got my
5 god-damned minutes
and much
more.

END
dished by ty gorton


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