Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukowski’s The Laughing Heart And Nirvana

Bukowki read WAits Tom

 

Charles Bukowski read by Tom Waits. It’s an easy fit. The two Californians grow larger in the other’s company. They like their gin and juice with “the rinds and the seeds and pulp left in”. They each know how to tell a story.

Waits met the writer he was moved to call a “father figure”. They went for a drink. Waits recalls that if you try to match Bukowski drink for drink “you’re a novice, you’re a child. You’re drinking with a roaring pirate”.

 

booze

 

Bukowski was, of course, a ‘good’ drinker. He told Sean Penn for Andy Warhol’s Interview in 1987: “Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth – alongside of me. Yes…these are two of the greatest arrivals upon the surface of the earth. So…we get along.”

 

notes

 

Waits first became aware of Bukowski by reading his LA Free Press column Notes of a Dirty Old Man. (The column earned Bukowski an F.B.I. investigation.) Waits thought him a “writer of the common people and street people, looking in the dark corners where no one seems to want to go.”

 

cb

 

One seat of learning in Holland didn’t want to go there.

In 1985, Bukowski’s book Tales of Ordinary Madness was removed from the Public Library in Nijmegen for being ““very sadistic, occasionally fascist and discriminatory against certain groups (including homosexuals).” Bukowski wrote to journalist Hans van den Broek:

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.

These facts lurk in the shadows, in solitude, where eternity is touched upon. Waits likes these places. His favourite song is In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra (1955). The lyrics are poetry:

 

In the wee small hours of the morning,
While the whole wide world is fast asleep,
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never, ever think of counting sheep.

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson,
You’d be hers if only she would call,
In the wee small hours of the morning,
That’s the time you miss her most of all.

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson,
You’d be hers if only she would call,
In the wee small hours of the morning,
That’s the time you miss her most of all.

 

Waits wants us to take us into the mindful recesses, where you compose ways to resolve loneliness, or try to. Hereunder he reads aloud Bukowski’s resigned The Laughing Heart and the melancholy Nirvana, the lyrical tale of a traveller “on the way to somewhere”.

They are both wonderful:

 

The Laughing Heart:

 

 

Nirvana: