Archives for category: Birthdays


“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” STEPHEN KING, Salem’s Lot

On this day in 1947, Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. From his first novel, Carrie (1974) to his upcoming Doctor Sleep — a sequel to The Shining scheduled for a 2013 release — King has written over 80 novels and short story collections, releasing about two books per year during a nearly 40-year writing career.


For his dedication to his craft and love of books and writing, Stephen King is a true inspiration. Happy birthday, Stephen!


two nights before my 72nd birthday

poem by Charles Bukowski

sitting here on a boiling hot night while
drinking a bottle of cabernet sauvignon
after winning $232 at the track.
there’s not much I can tell you except
if it weren’t for my bad right leg
I don’t feel much different than I did
30 or 40 years ago (except that
now I have more money and should be able
to afford a decent
burial). also,
I drive better automobiles and have
stopped carrying a
I am still looking for a hero, a role model,
but can’t find one.
I am no more tolerant of Humanity
than I ever was.
I am not bored with myself and find
that I am the only one I can
turn to in time of
I’ve been ready to die for decades and
I’ve been practicing, polishing up
for that end
but it’s very
hot tonight
and I can think of little but
this fine cabernet,
that’s gift enough for me.
sometimes I can’t
believe I’ve come this far,
this has to be some kind of goddamned
just another old guy
blinking at the forces,
smiling a little,
as the cities tremble and the left
hand rises,

Note: Bukowski wrote this poem in 1992, about a year and a half before he passed away.

Image: Bukowski cake by Tess Munster.


In August 2010, Skylight Books in Los Feliz hosted a gala event to celebrate Charles Bukowski‘s 90th birthday. Gerald Locklin read poems, Linda Bukowski was in the audience, Pamela “Cupcakes” Wood stopped by. When the festivities started, one of the hosts read a trivia question and promised a Bukowski T-shirt to first person who called out the answer. I won the first “I’d rather be reading Bukowski” T-shirt of the night! (The winning answer was “John Fante.” The question was: Who is Skylight Books’ top-selling writer? I figured it was a trick question, considering we were all there to celebrate Buk’s birthday.)


SWEET — Poem by Charles Bukowski

I have been going to the track for so
long that
all the employees know
and now with winter here
it’s dark before the last
as I walk to the parking lot
the valet recognizes my
slouching gait
and before I reach him
my car is waiting for me,
lights on, engine warm.
the other patrons
(still waiting)
“who the hell is that

I slip the valet a
tip, the size depending upon the
luck of the
day (and my luck has been amazingly
good lately)
and I then am in the machine and out on
the street
as the horses break
from the gate.

I drive east down Century Blvd.
turning on the radio to get the result of that
last race.

at first the announcer is concerned only with
bad weather and poor freeway
we are old friends: I have listened to his
voice for decades but,
of course, the time will finally come
when neither one of us will need to
clip our toenails or
heed the complaints of our
women any longer.

meanwhile, there is a certain rhythm
to the essentials that now need
attending to.
I light my cigarette
check the dashboard
adjust the seat and
weave between a Volks and a Fiat.
as flecks of rain spatter the
I decide not to die just
this good life just smells too



by Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said,”not much
chance…give him these pills…his backbone
is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off…”
I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn’t work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough
one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
“you can make it,” I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.
you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left…
and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look
at this!”
but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you
say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
“no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!”
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
it’s then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.


“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”  ANDY WARHOL

Graphic based on photo of Andy Warhol and Archie by Jack Mitchell


Art is what you can get away with.” ANDY WARHOL

Illustration: Andy Warhol, self-portrait


An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he — for some reason — thinks it would be a good idea to give them.”


ILLUSTRATION: Andy Warhol, self-portrait

ImageApologies to Tom Robbins for the 4-day delay in wishing him a happy birthday. I have been an uber Robbins fan for many years. My favorite is still his first novel, Another Roadside Attraction, which was like a revelation to me. You mean, it’s okay to make up wild, crazy metaphors, concoct outlandish stories, and invent outrageous characters? Count me in.

When I first starting reading his books, I was so taken with Robbins’ writing that I sent him a letter in care of his publisher — and he was kind enough to write back. I kept up a running correspondence with Robbins for many years — and met him a couple of times when he stopped in Chicago during his book tours. He was even kind enough to give me a book blurb. What a guy! Not only a great writer but a great human being.

Thank you for all those postcards, Tom — and, of course, thank you for all of your wonderful books. Hope you had a happy birthday!

Photo: Cade Martin, All Rights Reserved