Love (Pt. 8), or, Circling the Rim of Complete Love

Charles Bukowski: «The Best Love Poem I Can Write at the Moment» (live) [mp3]

Who doesn't dream of unconditional love? No such thing, of course, but it's one of those things you catch yourself longing for nevertheless. One of those lamentable, if obvious truths you'll intellectually acknowledge to yourself every once in a while—whenever you remember to, or the subject comes up: «Of course love's never unconditional; what are you, a child?!»—but which your behaviour and unconscious assumptions forget all about when you find yourself in love, skipping down the street daydreaming about a bright future devoid of life's pesky challenges, when everything will finally have come together, forever. Like a little kid who cannot get his head around not getting his will yet, you continue to expect and demand—or simply just want, in vain—this unreasonable, unconditional devotion, of yourself and of another. Perhaps you're even one of those sentimental, maudlin people who always promise what they cannot possibly keep, telling yourself as well as your significant other(s) that your love knows no bounds…

But what does this unconditional devotion really entail? Charles Bukowski—that no-nonsense bullshitter scribe of half-empty glass truisms—shows us in this poem how romance taken to its logical extreme is, well, perversion.

The closer love approaches the event horizon of the limitless and unconditional, the filthier and less morally or socially acceptable it becomes. And so perversion doesn't stand in the way of love, or cheapen it, as much as it heightens, strengthens and confirms it. It's simple, really: The harder it gets to go on loving someone—when, to paraphrase Ford Fairlane, the object of your desire doesn't play hard to get as much as hard to want—the more unconditional your love truly is. (Unless you bail, that is.)

The sappy romantic tends to dream and says things he doesn't even know that he doesn't really mean. Not if put to the test. Like bandying about with the term «forever», or tattooing their lover's name on their chest. The romantic can be all floaty words sometimes, and then it's only through the baptism of fire of perversion that the ideals of love are tested, proven and vindicated.

Similarly with depravity. Without love or romance, it's merely filth, degrading to everyone involved. The kind of filth that's in the gutter when you're not looking up at the stars. A cheap thrill isn't redeeming, isn't sublime until you've shared it with someone you love. But if you're lucky enough to be with someone with whom you may throw propriety (and, perhaps, hygiene) to the deviant wind, you'll find that the most depraved and repulsive act is pure. What's right is already right and what's wrong is merely wrong, but to make what's wrong right is transcendence, baby. You need to deviate, let loose and act like an out-of-control animal following irrational, unseemly, unhealthy and meaningless urges with love.

And so it's high time the romantics and the perverts come together. (Pun squarely intended.) There's no romance like a perverted one, and no perversion like a romantic one. Want to know if your love is real? Where romance meets perversion is where you'll find some truth in that minefield of self-delusions. So grab your dearest and go do something so nasty that you'd be ashamed to tell another living soul about it… and do it for love.

So whether you're in the gutter looking up at the stars, or in the stars looking down into the gutter, love your pervert and pervert your loved one today!

the best love poem i can write at the moment.

listen, I told her
why don't you stick your tongue up my ass

no, she said.

well, I said
if I stick my tongue up your ass first
then will you stick your tongue up my ass?

all right, she said.

I got my head down there and looked around
opened a section
then my tongue moved forward

not there, she said
not there, that's not the right place

you women have more holes than swiss cheese
I don't want you to do it

well, then I'll have to do it back
and then at the next party you'll tell people
I licked your ass with my tongue

suppose I promise not to tell?

you'll get drunk, you'll tell

o.k., I said
roll over
and I'll stick it in the other place

she rolled over
and I stuck my tongue in that other place

we were in love

we were in love except with what I said at parties
and we were not in love
with each others ass holes

she wants me to write a love poem
but I think if people can't love each others ass holes
and farts
and shits
and terrible parts
just like they love the good parts
that ain't complete love

so, as far as love goes
as far as we have gone
this poem will have to do.

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