Featured Poem: Combat Primer

Combat primer by Charles Bukowski

they called Celine a Nazi

they called Pound a fascist

they called Hamsun a Nazi and a fascist.

they put Dostoevsky in front of a firing


and they shot Lorca

gave Hemingway electric shock treatments

(and you know he shot himself)

and they ran Villon out of town (Paris)

and Mayakovsky

disillusioned with the regime

and after a lovers’ quarrel,


he shot himself too.

Chatterton took rat poison

and it worked.

and some say Malcolm Lowry died

choking on his own vomit

while drunk.

Crane went the way of the boat

propellor or the sharks.


Harry Crosby’s sun was black.

Berryman preferred the bridge.

Plath didn’t light the oven.


Seneca cut his wrists in the

bathtub (it’s best that way:

in warm water).

Thoma and Behan drank themselves

to death and

there are many others.

and you want to be a



it’s that kind of war:

creation kills,

many go mad,

some lose their way and

can’t do it


a few make it to old age.

a few make money.

some starve (like Vallego).

it’s that kind of war:

casualties everywhere.


all right, go ahead

do it

but when they sandbag you

from the blind side

don’t come to me with your



now I’m going to smoke a cigarette

in the bathtub

and then I’m going to


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