In a change to our usual obsessions of beer and music or beer and beer, I thought we could chance a bit of beer and poetry (Or “writing” if it makes you feel better). But, as we can’t stray to far from the pleasures of malted barley, hops, water and yeast how about we share a poem with you called (and about) “Beer?”, written by a man with a true renegade spirit , that has been brought to life with a really cool animation.
Undeniably Charles Bukowski could really write. Equally undeniably Charles Bukowski could really drink. Drinking provided enough of the subject matter of his prose and verse — and, in life, enough of the fuel for the existence he observed on the page with such rough-edged evocative artistry — that we can hardly imagine his writing without his drinking, or his drinking without his writing. It was therefore inevitable that at some point during his notorious career Bukowski would put pen to paper to eulogise about the favourite of his chosen poisons.
“Beer,” which appeared in Bukowski’s 1971 poetry collection Love Is a Dog from Hell, pays tribute to the countless bottles the man drank “while waiting for things to get better,” “after splits with women,” “waiting for the phone to ring,” or “waiting for the sounds of footsteps.” Although all is not perfect with the beverage, as he writes “The Female” knows not to consume beer to excess in the male manner”, as “she knows its bad for the figure.” However, not one to worry about such trivial matters as ones figure, Bukowski, finds in his beer a kind of solace.
The prose of “Beer” come to life in the animation below, produced by Nerdo. The producer, feeling the writing was a snapshot of the author’s way of life, decided to go inside the author’s mind (surely not a safe journey) to visualise the unfiltered thoughts through the usual visual signifiers of the Bukowskian experience: neon signs, cigarettes, decaying city blocks, tawdry Polaroids — and, of course, beer, literally “rivers and seas of beer,” which no less a fellow animated enthusiast of the beverage than Homer Simpson once, just as eloquently, pronounced “the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
And for those of you who want to read along, here is the prose:
Beer – Charles Bukowski
I don’t know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things
to get better
I dont know how much wine and whisky
I have consumed after
splits with women-
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
“what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!”
the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows its bad for the figure.
while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horny cowboys.
well, there’s beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle falls through the wet bottom
of the paper sack
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.
rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.