Joan Jobe Smith: Bukowski / Movies
Joan Jobe Smith, Founding Editor of Pearl and The Bukowski Review. Her art, poetry, stories and reviews have appeared internationally in more than 1000 publications that has included Ambit (UK), Beside the City of Angels, Outlaw Bible and Wormwood Review. A Pushcart Prize recipient, a Forward Prize finalist (1999), she’s published 22 books of poetry + a cookbook; fall, 2012 Silver Birch Press will publish her literary profile,Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) and World Parade Books will publish her memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl.
Bukowski Chugs Cheap Beer @ the Go-Go a No-No
Bukowski laughed har har har when I told him I’d
been a go-go girl for 7 years, the bad luck time for
breaking a mirror, minimum sentence for a felony
conviction. In 1973 Bukowski’d thought me one of
those feminists who wanted to kick his ass, booed,
stomped en masse out of his poetry readings. Worse,
he’d thought me another bored housewife going back to
college, my hard working schmuck hubby buying my
books, tuition and bellbottoms, cooking his own supper,
diapering the baby while I read Sexton, Plath and Jong
and flirted with cute professors. Bukowski never drank
at any of those go-go bars I worked those 7 years. Too
expensive, too uppity and all that rock ‘n’ roll too noisy.
No, he preferred the basso nova and cheap beer at the
Go-Go a No-No’s where barmaids wore overalls, not
fringed bikinis and could toss out any drunk, including
him, with one bare hand. Midnights Buk phoned me long
distance, drunk because his Woman had left him again,
he listened intently to my go-go girl tales about men like
him, broke, lonely who drank too much, said wild things,
talk of men not like him: astronauts, murderers, rich men
wearing diamond pinky rings while Bukowski chugged his
cheap beer in his cheap apartment in L.A., blew smoke
from cheap cigars into the telephone at me sipping cheap
white wine 40 miles away till one night Bukowski finally
said: You gotta write about all that madness, kid. So I did.
What I Learned At The Movies
When I hear shocking news, I will faint.
When my fiance leaves me holding a candlestick on the haunted house
staircase to go for help 20 miles away, the vampire will bite my neck.
When my fiance and the bad guy fight over the nitroglycerin/
uranium or something that will destroy every living thing on earth if
spilled, I will hit on the head with a Ming vase, Baseball bat or Maltese
Falcon my fiance. When the handsome singing cowboy who saved my
life and my father’s ranch from the dastard banker or Apaches kisses me
and rides off into the horizon on his white horse, I will smile and disappear.
When I am in the family way and ride a horse or walk down stairs, I will
fall and the lose the child I am carrying. When my child coughs or sneezes,
he/she will die. When my child dies, my husband will blame me and I will
take to streetwalking and drinking whisky with stevedores along the wharf,
lose my looks and will to live and throw myself beneath the wheels of a
locomotive or a black La Salle sedan. When a telegram arrives, it will
always tell me that my fiance has died in the War. When the moon is
full, a man will either kiss me or kill me. When I wear marabou and
contemplate suicide while gazing at the Manhattan skyline, Fred Astaire
will ask me to dance. When Elvis tries to kiss me on the balcony, a gang
of girls will ask him to sing while they push me over the railing into a
swimming pool. When Marilyn Monroe is near, I will suddenly bear a
striking resemblance to a bean and egg burrito. When I am 40 like Blanche
Dubois, yet still have smooth crème fraiche skin, I will place paper lanterns
over light bulbs of desire to hide my aging face to spare young men from
shrinking from the hideousness of my old woman-ness and when I am 50
like Norma Desmond, even though I still have skin as smooth as cream
cheese, I will beg for a close-up so’s to terrify every man on earth with my
antiquity and when I am 70 or more and must scrub floors to earn a living, I
will work on my hands and knees with rags and buckets while the men use
mops and smoke cigars. And when I cry OH! and they call for a doctor and
he tells them to boil water, I will die.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked 7 years as a go-go girl before graduating from CSULB and the UCI MFA Program. Since 1950 her art, poetry, prose, cooking columns, memoirs and reviews have been published in more than 1000 literary journals, newspapers, anthologies--and one billboard when she was age 9 and won a Red Cross Safety Poster contest with her rhyming aphorism: "Always wait for the green/And you will become a Safety Queen." With her poet husband Fred Voss she has done 7 reading tours of UK and Scotland, debuting at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 1991, and last appearing 2012 at the Hull Literature Festival and the Betsey Trotwood pub in London. Her UK-published poetry collection THE POW WOW CAFE was a finalist for the 1999 Forward Prize. A Pushcart honoree with 23 poetry books (including 2 cookbooks), her award-winning work has recently appeared in AMBIT (UK), Swallow Dance, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Like A Girl, Circe's Lament, Ladyland: Litteratur Feminine Americaine (France) and the Silver Birch Poetry Series. Her 2012 literary profile Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) and her 2014 memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl are available via amazon.com and for sale @ Gatsby's Books and Fingerprints, in Long Beach, California. Fall, 2016, the New York Quarterly will publish her selected/new poetry Moonglow a Go-Go.