Calda luce, da “Sui gatti” (2015), Charles Bukowski

solo
stasera
in questa casa,
solo con
6 gatti
che mi dicono
senza
sforzo
tutto quello che c’è
da
sapere.

(Traduzione di Simona Viciani)

Warm Light

alone
tonight
in this house,
alone with
6 cats
who tell me
without
effort
all that there
is
to know.

Incluso nella raccolta The Last Night of Earth Poems, 1992. In Italia pubblicato in “Seduto sul bordo del letto mi finisco una birra nel buio”, Minimum Fax, 2002.

_________________________________________

The Cat & The Mouse (Aaron Copland)
Performed during LangLang Master Class Hong Kong Langham Hotel (10Aug2011)
Kate Lee (10 years old)

Manx, da “Sui gatti” (2015), Charles Bukowski

questa è come la scoperta
dell’acqua calda.
non bisogna essere
dei geni
per capire che
stiamo sbagliando ancora.
ridiamo sempre meno,
diventiamo sempre più equilibrati.
tutto ciò che vogliamo è
l’assenza degli altri.
persino la musica classica
è stata ascoltata troppo spesso,
i libri belli sono stati
letti.
sospettiamo ancora
come abbiamo fatto fin dall’inizio
che siamo
strani, deformi e che non andiamo bene
da nessuna parte qui…
mentre scriviamo questo
c’è un terribile ronzio
qualcosa di plana sui
capelli
si conficca lì.
solleviamo una mano
tiriamo freneticamente
mentre ci morde le dita,
che dannata cosa insignificante
è mai questa
nel bel mezzo
della notte?
adesso se ne è andata…

c’è una porta scorrevole
di vetro
e vediamo fuori
un bianco Manx seduto lì
con un occhio strabico.
ha la lingua penzoloni
di lato.
apriamo la porta
e lui scivola dentro
le zampe anteriori corrono
in una direzione, quelle dietro
nell’altra.
riesce ad arrivare verso di noi
con un’angolazione maldestra
salta sulle nostre gambe
sul nostro petto
piazza le sue zampe anteriori
come fossero braccia
vicino alle nostre spalle
pianta il muso
piuttosto vicino al nostro naso
e ci guarda
nel modo migliore che può;
confusi come lui, gli restituiamo lo sguardo.

qualche sera,
vecchio ragazzo,
qualche volta,
in qualche modo.
intrappolati insieme
qui.

sorridiamo ancora
come facevamo un tempo.
di colpo il Manx
salta via
correndo sghembo
sul tappeto
inseguendo qualcosa
che nessuno di noi
può vedere.

Manoscritto del 23 dicembre 1979; pubblicato nella raccolta “Open All Night” – Traduzione di Simona Viciani

Manx

this is just a long call
from a short space.
it doesn’t engender up
any special brilliance
to know that
we are going wrong again.
we laugh less and less,
become more sane.
all we want is
the absence of others.
even the classical music
has been heard too often,
the good books have been
read.
we suspect again
as we did in the beginning
that we are
odd, deformed, fit
nowhere here…
as we write this
there is an ugly buzzing
something lands in our
hair
becomes imbedded there.
we reach up
yank it free
as it bites our finger.
what damned nonentity
is this
in the middle of
the night?
it’s gone…

there is a sliding
glass door
and we see outside
a white Manx sitting there
with one cross-eye.
his tongue sticks out
sidewise.
we pull the door open
and he slides in
front legs running
in one direction,
rear
in the other.

he makes it toward us
in a scurvy angle
runs up our legs
our chest
places front legs
like arms
near our shoulders
sticks his snout
quite near our nose
and looks at us
best he can;
also befuddled,
we look back.

some night,
old boy,
some time,
some way.
stuck together
here.

we smile again
like we used to.
suddenly the Manx
leaps away
scattering across the
rug sideways
chasing something
that none of us
can see.

___________________________________

CATcerto, original performance. Mindaugas Piečaitis, Nora The Piano Cat

Cosa vogliono, da “L’amore è un cane che viene dall’inferno”, Charles Bukowski

Vallejo che scrive sulla
solitudine mentre muore di
fame;
l’orecchio di Van Gogh rifiutato da una
troia;
Rimbaud che scappa in Africa
a cercare oro e trova
un caso incurabile di sifilide;
Beethoven diventato sordo;
Pound trascinato per le strade
in una gabbia;
Chatterton che beve il topicida;
il cervello di Hemingway che cade
nel succo d’arancia;
Pascal che si taglia i polsi
nella vasca;
Artaud rinchiuso coi matti;
Dostoevskij messo al muro;
Crane che si butta da un piroscafo;
Lorca fucilato per strada dalla milizia
spagnola;
Berryman che salta da un ponte;
Burroughs che spara alla moglie;
Mailer che accoltella la sua.
– ecco cosa vogliono:
uno stramaledetto show
un’insegna luminosa
in mezzo all’inferno.
ecco cosa vuole,
quel pugno di
ottusi
incapaci d’esprimersi
prudenti
tetri
ammiratori delle
carnevalate.

(Traduzione di Katia Bagnoli)

what they want

Vallejo writing about
loneliness while starving to
death;
Van Gogh’s ear rejected by a
whore;
Rimbaud running off to Africa
to look for gold and finding
an incurable case of syphilis;
Beethoven gone deaf;
Pound dragged through the streets
in a cage;
Chatterton taking rat poison;
Hemingway’s brains dropping into
the orange juice;
Pascal cutting his wrists
in the bathtub;
Artaud locked up with the mad;
Dostoevsky stood up against a wall;
Crane jumping into a boat propeller;
Lorca shot in the road by Spanish
troops;
Berryman jumping off a bridge;
Burroughs shooting his wife;
Mailer knifing his.
-that’s what they want:
a God damned show
a lit billboard
in the middle of hell.
that’s what they want,
that bunch of
dull
inarticulate
safe
dreary
admirers of
carnivals.

From: Love Is a Dog from Hell (1977)

Piccole tigri ovunque, da “Sui gatti” (2015), Charles Bukowski

Sam del bordello
ha scarpe scricchiolanti
e cammina su e giù per
il cortile
scricchiolando e parlando
ai gatti.
pesa 140 chili,
un bestione
e parla ai gatti.
frequenta le donne del centro
massaggi e non ha fidanzate
né automobile
non beve e non si droga
e suoi vizi più grandi sono
masticare sigari e
dare da mangiare ai tutti i gatti del
quartiere.
qualche gatta rimane
incinta
e così finisce che ci sono
sempre più gatti e
ogni volta che apro la porta
uno o due gatti corrono
in casa e a volte mi
dimentico che sono dentro e
mi cagano sotto al letto
o mi sveglio di notte
sentendo dei rumori
salto in piedi con il mio coltello
sgattaiolo in cucina e
trovo uno dei gatti di Sam
del bordello che gironzola sopra
al lavandino o che è seduto sopra
al frigorifero.

Sam gestisce il locale di sesso
dietro l’angolo
e le sue ragazze stanno sulla
soglia sotto il sole
e il semaforo diventa
rosso e verde e rosso e verde
e tutti i gatti di Sam
possiedono un certo significato
come i giorni e le notti.

(Traduzione di Simona Viciani)

little tigers everywhere

Sam the whorehouse man
has squeaky shoes
and he walks up and down
the court
squeaking and talking to
the cats.
he’s 310 pounds,
a killer
and he talks to the cats.
he sees the women at the massage
parlor and has no girlfriends
no automobile
he doesn’t drink or dope
his biggest vices are
chewing on a cigar and
feeding all the cats in
the neighborhood.
some of the cats get
pregnant
and so finally there are
more and more cats and
everytime I open my door
one or two cats will
run in and sometimes I’ll
forget they are there and
they’ll shit under the bed
or I’ll awaken at night
hearing sounds
leap up with my blade
sneak into the kitchen and
find one of Sam the whorehouse
man’s cats walking around on
the sink or sitting on top
of the refrigerator.

Sam runs the love parlor
around the corner
and his girls stand in the
doorway in the sun
and the traffic signals go
red and green and red and green
and all of Sam’s cats
possess some of the meaning
as do the days and the nights.

Sì, da “Sull’amore” (2016), Charles Bukowski

non importa con chi sto
la gente dice sempre,
stai ancora con lei?

la mia relazione tipo dura
due anni e mezzo.
nonostante guerre
inflazione
disoccupazione
alcolismo
gioco d’azzardo
e il mio nervosismo degenerato,
penso di cavarmela abbastanza bene.
Mi piace leggere il giornale della domenica a letto.
mi piacciono i nastri arancioni legati intorno al collo del gatto.
mi piace dormire addosso a un corpo che conosco bene.

mi piacciono ciabatte nere ai piedi del letto alle 2 del pomeriggio.
mi piace vedere come sono venute le fotografie.

mi piace che mi aiutino a superare le feste:
4 Luglio, Festa dei Lavoratori, Halloween, il Ringraziamento, Natale, Capodanno.

sanno come scendere queste rapide
e sono meno impaurite dall’amore di quanto lo sia io.

riescono a farmi ridere quando comici professionisti non ce la fanno.

e poi uscire a comprare il giornale insieme.
ha i suoi vantaggi essere soli
ma si avverte un calore insolito nel non esserlo.

mi piacciono le patate rosse bollite.
mi piacciono dita e occhi migliori dei miei che sanno sciogliere i nodi delle stringhe.

mi piace lasciarle guidare l’auto nelle sere buie
quando la strada e il tragitto mi pesano,
l’autoradio che va
accendiamo sigarette e parliamo un po’
e ogni tanto
stiamo zitti.

mi piacciono le forcine sui tavoli.
mi piace vedere le solite pareti
la solita gente.

non mi piacciono le litigate folli e inutili che scoppiano sempre
e non mi piaccio in queste occasioni
quando non do nulla
quando non capisco nulla.

mi piacciono gli asparagi bolliti
mi piacciono i ravanelli
i porri.
mi piace portare la macchina all’autolavaggio,
mi piace quando vinco dieci dollari per una giocata
data sei a uno.
mi piace la mia radio che suona continuamente
Šostakovič, Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler.

mi piace quando sento bussare alla porta
ed è lei.

non importa con chi sto
la gente mi dice sempre,
stai ancora con lei?

magari pensano che le seppellisco tutte
sulle colline di Hollywood.

(Traduzione di Simona Viciani)

yes

no matter who I’m with
people always say,
are you still with her?

my average relationship lasts
two and one half years.
with wars
inflation
unemployment
alcoholism
gambling
and my own degenerate nervousness
I think I do well enough.

I like reading the Sunday papers in bed.
I like orange ribbons tied around cat’s necks.
I like sleeping up against a body that I know well.

I like black slips at the foot of my bed
at 2 in the afternoon.
I like seeing how the photos turned out.

I like to be helped through the holidays:
4th. of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving,
Christmas, New Year’s.
they know how to ride these rapids
and they are less afraid of love than I am.

they can make me laugh where professional comedians
fail.

there is walking out to buy a newspaper together.

there is much good in being alone
but there is a strange warm grace in not being alone.

I like boiled red potatoes.

I like eyes and fingers better than mine that can
get knots out of shoelaces.

I like letting her drive the car on dark nights
when the road and the way have gotten to me,
the car radio on
we light cigarettes and talk about things
and now and then
become silent.

I like hairpins on tables,
on the floor.
I like knowing the same walls
the same people.

I dislike the insane and useless fights which always
occur
and I dislike myself at these times
giving nothing
understanding nothing.

I like boiled asparagus
I like radishes
green onions.
I like to put my car into a car wash.
I like it when I have ten win on a six to one
shot.
I like my radio which keeps playing
Shostokovitsch, Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler.

I like it when there’s a knock on the door and
she’s there.

no matter who I’m with
people always say,
are you still with her?

they must think I bury them in
the Hollywood Hills.

____________________

HAUSER – Waltz No. 2 (Shostakovich)

We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, Charles Bukowski

call it the greenhouse effect or whatever
but it just doesn’t rain like it used to.
I particularly remember the rains of the
depression era.
there wasn’t any money but there was
plenty of rain.
it wouldn’t rain for just a night or
a day,
it would RAIN for 7 days and 7
nights
and in Los Angeles the storm drains
weren’t built to carry off that much
water
and the rain came down THICK and
MEAN and
STEADY
and you HEARD it banging against
the roofs and into the ground
waterfalls of it came down
from roofs
and there was HAIL
big ROCKS OF ICE
bombing
exploding smashing into things
and the rain
just wouldn’t
STOP
and all the roofs leaked-
dishpans,
cooking pots
were placed all about;
they dripped loudly
and had to be emptied
again and
again.
the rain came up over the street curbings,
across the lawns, climbed up the steps and
entered the houses.
there were mops and bathroom towels,
and the rain often came up through the
toilets:bubbling, brown, crazy,whirling,
and all the old cars stood in the streets,
cars that had problems starting on a
sunny day,
and the jobless men stood
looking out the windows
at the old machines dying
like living things out there.
the jobless men,
failures in a failing time
were imprisoned in their houses with their
wives and children
and their
pets.
the pets refused to go out
and left their waste in
strange places.
the jobless men went mad
confined with
their once beautiful wives.
there were terrible arguments
as notices of foreclosure
fell into the mailbox.
rain and hail, cans of beans,
bread without butter;fried
eggs, boiled eggs, poached
eggs; peanut butter
sandwiches, and an invisible
chicken in every pot.
my father, never a good man
at best, beat my mother
when it rained
as I threw myself
between them,
the legs, the knees, the
screams
until they
separated.
“I’ll kill you,” I screamed
at him. “You hit her again
and I’ll kill you!”
“Get that son-of-a-bitching
kid out of here!”
“no, Henry, you stay with
your mother!”
all the households were under
siege but I believe that ours
held more terror than the
average.
and at night
as we attempted to sleep
the rains still came down
and it was in bed
in the dark
watching the moon against
the scarred window
so bravely
holding out
most of the rain,
I thought of Noah and the
Ark
and I thought, it has come
again.
we all thought
that.
and then, at once, it would
stop.
and it always seemed to
stop
around 5 or 6 a.m.,
peaceful then,
but not an exact silence
because things continued to
drip
drip
drip

and there was no smog then
and by 8 a.m.
there was a
blazing yellow sunlight,
Van Gogh yellow-
crazy, blinding!
and then
the roof drains
relieved of the rush of
water
began to expand in the warmth:
PANG!PANG!PANG!
and everybody got up and looked outside
and there were all the lawns
still soaked
greener than green will ever
be
and there were birds
on the lawn
CHIRPING like mad,
they hadn’t eaten decently
for 7 days and 7 nights
and they were weary of
berries
and
they waited as the worms
rose to the top,
half drowned worms.
the birds plucked them
up
and gobbled them
down;there were
blackbirds and sparrows.
the blackbirds tried to
drive the sparrows off
but the sparrows,
maddened with hunger,
smaller and quicker,
got their
due.
the men stood on their porches
smoking cigarettes,
now knowing
they’d have to go out
there
to look for that job
that probably wasn’t
there, to start that car
that probably wouldn’t
start.
and the once beautiful
wives
stood in their bathrooms
combing their hair,
applying makeup,
trying to put their world back
together again,
trying to forget that
awful sadness that
gripped them,
wondering what they could
fix for
breakfast.
and on the radio
we were told that
school was now
open.
and
soon
there I was
on the way to school,
massive puddles in the
street,
the sun like a new
world,
my parents back in that
house,
I arrived at my classroom
on time.
Mrs. Sorenson greeted us
with, “we won’t have our
usual recess, the grounds
are too wet.”
“AW!” most of the boys
went.
“but we are going to do
something special at
recess,” she went on,
“and it will be
fun!”
well, we all wondered
what that would
be
and the two hour wait
seemed a long time
as Mrs.Sorenson
went about
teaching her
lessons.
I looked at the little
girls, they looked so
pretty and clean and
alert,
they sat still and
straight
and their hair was
beautiful
in the California
sunshine.
the the recess bells rang
and we all waited for the
fun.
then Mrs. Sorenson told us:
“now, what we are going to
do is we are going to tell
each other what we did
during the rainstorm!
we’ll begin in the front row
and go right around!
now, Michael, you’re first!. . .”
well, we all began to tell
our stories, Michael began
and it went on and on,
and soon we realized that
we were all lying, not
exactly lying but mostly
lying and some of the boys
began to snicker and some
of the girls began to give
them dirty looks and
Mrs.Sorenson said,
“all right! I demand a
modicum of silence
here!
I am interested in what
you did
during the rainstorm
even if you
aren’t!”
so we had to tell our
stories and they were
stories.
one girl said that
when the rainbow first
came
she saw God’s face
at the end of it.
only she didn’t say which end.
one boy said he stuck
his fishing pole
out the window
and caught a little
fish
and fed it to his
cat.
almost everybody told
a lie.
the truth was just
too awful and
embarrassing to tell.
then the bell rang
and recess was
over.
“thank you,” said Mrs.
Sorenson, “that was very
nice.
and tomorrow the grounds
will be dry
and we will put them
to use
again.”
most of the boys
cheered
and the little girls
sat very straight and
still,
looking so pretty and
clean and
alert,
their hair beautiful in a sunshine that
the world might never see
again.
and

From The Last Night of the Earth Poems
Published in 1992 by Black Sparrow Press

Consiglio amichevole a molti giovani uomini, Charles Bukowski

Andate in Tibet.
Cavalcate un cammello.
Leggete la bibbia.
Tingetevi le scarpe di blu.
Fatevi crescere la barba.
Fate il giro del mondo in una canoa fatta di carta.
Abbonatevi al Saturday Evening Post.
Masticate soltanto dalla parte sinistra della bocca.
Sposate una donna con una gamba sola e fatevi la barba con un rasoio a lama.
E incidete il vostro nome sul suo braccio.

Lavatevi i denti con la benzina.
Dormite tutto il giorno e arrampicatevi sugli alberi la notte.
Fatevi monaci e bevete pallettoni e birra.
Tenete la testa sott’acqua e suonate il violino.
Fate la danza del ventre davanti a candele rosa.
Uccidete il vostro cane.
Candidatevi a sindaco.
Vivete in una botte.
Rompetevi la testa con un’accetta.
Piantate tulipani nella pioggia.

Ma non scrivete poesie.

Friendly advice to a lot of young men

Go to Tibet.
Ride a camel.
Read the Bible.
Dye your shoes blue.
Grow a Beard.
Circle the world in a paper canoe.
Subscribe to “The Saturday Evening Post.”
Chew on the left side of your mouth only.
Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor.
And carve your name in her arm.

Brush your teeth with gasoline.
Sleep all day and climb trees at night.
Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer.
Hold your head under water and play the violin.
Do a belly dance before pink candles.
Kill your dog.
Run for mayor.
Live in a barrel.
Break your head with a hatchet.
Plant tulips in the rain.

But don’t write poetry.

From “The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966”

Saggio pennello, fiore…, da “Sui gatti” (2015), Charles Bukowski

saggio pennello, fiore
addormentato, mi sveglio

il cacciatore va alla mia finestra
4 piedi inchiodati nella luminosa immobilità di una notte
gialla e blu.

stranezza crudele la fa da padrona nelle guerre, nei giardini –
la notte gialla e blu esplode dinanzi a
me, atomica, chirurgica,
piena di stellati diavoli
salmastri…
poi il gatto salta sulla
staccionata, un grasso gatto spaventato,
stupido, solitario…
baffi come una vecchia nel
supermercato
e nudo come la luna.

ne sono fugacemente
deliziato.

(Traduzione di Simona Viciani)

sensible brush, sleeping…

sensible brush, sleeping
flower, I awaken

the hunter goes by my window
4 feet locked in the bright stillness of a
yellow and blue
night.

cruel strangeness takes hold in wars, in
gardens–
the yellow and blue night explodes before
me, atomic,
surgical,
full of starlit salty
devils…
then the cat leaps up on the
fence, a tubby dismay,
stupid, lonely…
whiskers like an old lady in the
supermarket
and naked as the
moon.

I am temporarily
delighted.

_________________________________
Poesia senza titolo pubblicata nella Hiram Poetry Review 1, autunno-inverno 1966; pubblicata in The Days Run Away Like Wilde Horses Over the Hills.

Ascoltando la radio all’1.35 di mattina, da “Mentre Buddha sorride” (2015), Charles Bukowski

cambio stazione:
un uomo suona il piano con stile
pomposo.

da qualche altra parte
ci sono belle case
sulla riva dell’oceano
dove puoi
sorseggiare il tuo drink
fuori sulla veranda
e
startene tranquillo e
guardare le onde
ascoltare le onde
frangersi al buio
e però
allo stesso tempo
puoi stare di merda anche
lì…

proprio come me adesso
che in una lotta tra cani
lotto per la vita
dentro queste 4 mura
30 chilometri nell’entroterra.

(Traduzione di Simona Viciani)

Listening to the radio at 1:35 a.m.

I switch the station:
a man plays the piano in grand
fashion.

somewhere else
there are nice homes
on the ocean shore
where you can
take your drink
out on the veranda
and
stand at ease and
watch the waves
listen to the waves
crashing in the dark
and yet
at the same time
you can feel crappy there
too-

just like me now
having a dog fight
fighting for my life
within these 4 walls
20 miles inland.