Many years ago I read a novel titled Postoffice by a controversial L. A. author named Charles Bukowski. I remember reading him in a column in one of the L. A. underground newspapers as The Dirty Old Man but I left Southern California in the late ’60s (one reason, to escape Ronald Reagan and also to go to graduate school in St. Louis) and the L. A. underground became a memory.
When I did get back to reading Bukowski I had become more sophisticated and less rebellious and the dirty old man was more of a fond memory than an active influence in my literary life. But I still read the old reprobate, a novel here, a poem there and especially since his death I have become quite fond of Bukowski’s writing. His subjects are generally grim but the background of a Los Angeles I was quite familiar, adding just the right amount of immediacy and charm. Now there’s a strange one: Charles Bukowski and the word charm in the same sentence.