Charles BUKOWSKI and ‘Good night to you’

They called him 'the marginal poet', the 'borderline poet', drunkard, genius, trickster, solitary, cursed, misunderstood ...

Ashok Silwal

Henry Charles, «Hank» Bukowski jr (1920-1994), born in Germany Heinrich Karl Bukowski, also know by the pseudonym Henry Chinaski, his literary alter ego, was an American poet and writer.

He has written six novels, hundreds of short stories and thousands of poems (for a total of sixty books!)

He ‘belongs’ to the movement called DIRTY REALISM or TRANSGRESSIVE FICTION but his works did not gain much mainstream or academic attention until well after his death.

His work provided a voice for the ‘lowlife’, the poor, the vulgar and the ‘bad’ side of urban living. It concerned with people who tend to live on the fringes of society, such as drug addicts, sex workers, the homeless and the impoverished.

He wrote about taboo and controversial subjects like sex, promiscuity, alcohol…

He often wrote about his relationship with alcohol.

He had a difficult childhood, beaten by his father and teased about his German accent when speaking American language.

The Great Depression was the backdrop of his teenage years , when he suffered also from very severe acne. Then, alcool consumption became a prevalent and characteristic theme in his work.

He began writing poetry after a near death experience due to internal bleeding and massive blood loss.

He became known for his simple, straightforward and unadorned style that contrasted with the flowery and ornate popular image of poetry.

But, it is not question of writing an in-depth biography of BUKOWSKI here but of giving some points of reference to, perhaps, better appreciate the following beautiful poem, I recently and casually read, browsing the Internet.

I like to share it here. This poet has always fascinates me with his frankness of expression and contents.


Good night to you
Who right now should be here
And not- who knows where.
Good night to those
Whose night will be lost, too,
Among tears and thoughts.
Good night to those
Who have hoped and struggled
To those who have bared their claws
But nevertheless have lost.
Good night to me
Who waits for you
And prays every night
To see you come back.
Good night to the cowards
To the ‘I do it for you’ sayers,
To those who have placed Their dreams in the drawer,
To those who have fallen
But have the strength and the courage to get up again,
To those who do not want different eyes,
To whose who do not succeed,
To those who try in spite of resistance,
To those who suffer in silence,
To those who laugh but feel bad.
To those who cannot walk,
To those who have been left,
To those whose hearts are broken.
Good night because this night
Has nothing good in it.
And I will stay awake thinking of you.
Imagining you and wondering how you are.
What you are doing.
If you are smiling,
If you are happy,
If you miss me,
If you are okay even without me.
Who warms your night
Who watches you sleep
Who smiles at you out of nowhere?
I don’t know
But I’m afraid,
Because, at night, we become weaker
Because, at night, we fall,
Thoughts rush and tears run.
Where are you, who are you with?
I miss you.

And the official critique then said he was ‘a punch in the face, filthy like a latrine, abrasive like sandpaper.’

Everyone will evaluate with their own sensitivity.

If you want to publish anything, we nepalnamcha welcome you with a smile. Just remember for it.

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