A dog from Hell

I was browsing books at our local Goodwill store on Saturday, and there, nestled among all the copies of “What to Expect…” and “Tax tips for the 1990s,” was a copy of Charles Bukowski’s “Love is a dog from Hell.”  I brought it home and started reading.  Bukowski can feel like the long-lost uncle you don’t really know if you want to invite to the family reunion.  He is hilarious and profane, self-centered and offensive, completely unapologetic for who he is.  He just seems to tell it like he sees it.  And in compelling style – at least to me.  After an hour with “Love is a dog from Hell” I wrote this response. (To share with friends at dVerse Poets Pub).


A dog from hell

He’s at it again,
chasing cockroaches across
the bathroom floor with
an ironic stream of piss

some nameless hooker
is lighting up in the bedroom
crouched on the headboard
and shouting at the television

he says he likes the ones
with personality, but I can’t
help noticing he chooses
the ones with big tits

he loves to tell about it while the
booze is flowing and the telephone rings
and he just ignores it all,
cave-painting in skeletal lines

and I hate him – the misogynistic asshole –
hate him because I am so damn jealous
of that clear, unapologetic voice.
No, I am not bored, Mr. Bukowski.



About Andrew Kreider

I'm a poet and musician,transplanted from London, England to beautiful northern Indiana. By day I am a stay-at-home dad with our three kids while my amazingly talented spouse conquers medical school one long shift at a time. At night, I'm a performer and trouble-maker. I love my life.

13 responses »

  1. Andrew, I’m sure he would love this poem–really enjoyed your characterization as “an uncle you’re not sure you want to invite to the family reunion–made me laugh. And what a scene you paint–Such vivid images–excellent poem!

  2. “That clear, unapologetic voice” attached to one who chases cockroaches with pee! Yeah, I agree with Sara, Bukowski would have loved this. You’ve caught the raw edge, the seamy bits that make his writing so unforgettable. Off to the library…! Great, Andrew. Peace, Amy

  3. Even though I pretty much am offput by Bukowski as a human being–what does that matter? I find his poetry still has the ability to enter my brain and make me admit how good it can be–precisely because it is what it is, and has no need for my, or anyone’s approval. You do indeed capture some of that arrogant appeal here.

  4. That was the first book of Bukowski’s I ever read and it changed what I thought poetry could be. Glad you found it too. My favorite poem in it is “I Made a Mistake.” Your poem was a great tribute. Yes,I still remain jealous of his huge talent and zen-like focus. Great job, Andrew.

  5. That last stanza rocks it…no we are not bored at all ~

  6. haha…he was certainly a broken man…but boy could he write some poetry…ironically i just reread this book over the last week….i like that he is who he is and does not make excuses for it…he does not pander for your attention he just puts it out there….and some of his verse you def see a softer side as well….

  7. I love Bukowski. I would have freaked out to have found that volume. Thanks for sharing the poem.

  8. I’ve never read Bukowski’s poetry. I read his fiction and well..it didn’t do for me what Henry Miller’s did which was just as raw much more literary in that, oh, Ernest Hemingway meets Jack Kerouac kind of way and so..I still haven’t found it. But your poem points out that it doesn’t matter who rings your bell, as long as it gets rung and helps you find your own voice! Here’s to YOUR poem!!

  9. I think Bukowski is one of the finest poets in the modern era. His work is a testament to his wry raw humour and I like his all seeing eye for the truth. Poets can be divided into two camps… pro Bukowski and agin. He seems to inspire strong reactions in both.

  10. What a raw and absolute intense reaction! Wow…. Loved this immensley! Not really familiar with Bukowski but now I’m just going to have to be!

  11. Oh, BTW, technically big tits do qualify as personality…..

  12. not read Bukowski myself, but having read this I’ll know what to expect if I do 😉


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