It’s not holy—it’s more like Popeye the Sailor Man. But Popeye knew when to move.
Alert: this is personal! Here is a piece I wrote for the Poetry Foundation about Bukowski, his letters, his bad bad influence on my grandfather, the storage shed…all of that.
“This was an odd way to meet a writer, and an odd way to meet a relative. From the book came admiring memories of Lafe; from my mother came tender and hurtful memories. She would mimic his lunges to the fridge for a beer. Her brothers were angrier. They wrote about the bloated face, the dribble of blood from the mouth, the retching.
Said Bukowski: “I hate to see them laying it into you down there … hope you’ve come out of it by now and are eating a little … but your family lays it into you because they love you, man; nobody understands an alcoholic… .”
Said my mother: ‘I wasn’t proud when Daddy found a man to befriend whose writing glorified an even-worse home life.’”
That’s not personal, Molly, that’s universal.