The Last (Faxed) Poem of Charles Bukowski

On Feb­ru­ary 18, 1994, Charles Bukows­ki had a fax machine installed in his home and imme­di­ate­ly sent his first Fax poem to his pub­lish­er:

oh, for­give me For Whom the Bell Tolls,
oh, for­give me Man who walked on water,
oh, for­give me lit­tle old woman who lived in a shoe,
oh, for­give me the moun­tain that roared at mid­night,
oh, for­give me the dumb sounds of night and day and death,
oh, for­give me the death of the last beau­ti­ful pan­ther,
oh, for­give me all the sunken ships and defeat­ed armies,
this is my first FAX POEM.
It’s too late:
I have been

Alas this was also Bukowski’s last poem. Just 18 days after Bukows­ki embraced tech­nol­o­gy, the poet (once famous­ly called the “lau­re­ate of Amer­i­can lowlife” by Pico Iyer) died of leukemia in Cal­i­for­nia. He was 73 years old. Accord­ing to John Mar­tin at Black Spar­row Press, the Fax poem has nev­er been pub­lished or col­lect­ed in a book. Book­tryst has a whole lot more on the sto­ry, and we have the singer/songwriter Tom Waits read­ing Charles Bukowski’s poem, The Laugh­ing Heart. You can also lis­ten to three oth­er Bukows­ki poems (in audio) here on YouTube:

Find more great reads in our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books.

via Poet­ry Foun­da­tion

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