Hemingway Never Did This – Charles Bukowski


I read that he lost a suitcase full of manuscripts on a
train and that they never were recovered.
I can’t match the agony of this
but the other night I wrote a 3-page poem
upon this computer
and through my lack of diligence and
and by playing around with commands
on the menu
I somehow managed to erase the poem
believe me, such a thing is difficult to do
even for a novice
but I somehow managed to do

now I don’t think this 3-pager was immortal
but there were some crazy wild lines,
now gone forever.
it bothers more than a touch, it’s some-
thing like knocking over a good bottle of

and writing about it hardly makes a good
still, I thought somehow you’d like to

if not, at least you’ve read this far
and there could be better work
down the line.

let’s hope so, for your sake



By Charles Bukowski
Read more of his poetry
BukTapes (SoundCloud)


20 thoughts on “Hemingway Never Did This – Charles Bukowski

  1. I tend to lose data when I switch / upgrade my computer. It bothers me to lose stuff that I have just written – even comments. I cant recall the same the thoughts later.

    It used to bother me a lot when I did not know what I have lost during computer backups. I have made my peace with it now – to an extent I find it even funny. If I know I have lost something but don’t know what and don’t miss it either, why bother until I do miss it?

    1. I’m more likely to lose a writing idea in my head, because I never get to write it down before I forget! šŸ˜€

      I’ve been very lucky so far not have completely lost files. I do however temporarily lose files, not so much with writing but more with scans and photos. I either end up putting them in the wrong folder or reorganise files so I can find them easier, but that often causes more confusion. It scares me how many files I have now, I try not to keep anything I don’t have to, but over the years it soon mounts up. I know what you mean by not missing them, I feel a l lot like that too. At least it’s not like a home, it takes very small devices to save all those files – that’s a bonus! šŸ˜€

  2. I deeply feel for your missing words dear poet it feels like missing your new born child forever.

    1. Ah, well this is not one of my poems, but Charles Bukowski talking of his experience of those very early computers. I know just about anyone can mislay files on a computer, but I think those old style computers of the late 70’s and 80’s were not quite so user friendly. So far, I’ve managed not to do this, but I find as time moves on, keeping a track of it all could get very tricky! šŸ™‚

      1. Well ,I think I did address Charles Buckskin as dear poet here.Thanks for sharing his wonderful poetry dear Suzy.

  3. I believe that some of Shakespeare’s missing sonnets have been rediscovered. No, that’s not true. But I can identify with lost writings. It’s why I got rid of a laptop within 2 weeks of buying it. Not dependable. For a writer, that’s the death knell. so, who knows? Maybe that old story is true. Thanks for sharing, Suzy.

    1. Haha, yes I’ve heard something about missing sonnets! But there’s always some new thing to be found (or maybe not) and nearly always someone ultra famous. Perhaps Shakespeare lost them like this! šŸ˜‰ Or possibly because he wrote so much, he got a bit careless with bits of loose writings everywhere!! šŸ˜€

      Oh, was the laptop making documents disappear? I’ve never owned a laptop. My brother is my computer man, sets it all up for me, and I know he’s not keen on laptops either. Some people seem to get on fine with them. It probably comes down to the make, I’m sure they’re not all the same. I’ve heard some of the cheaper ones, are more efficient than the really costly snazzy ones!

      You’re absolutely right, it is a death knell for a writer! šŸ˜ Always best to have several copies of work backed up, but it’s amazing how many people don’t bother. I’ve heard of entire novels, gone astray on a laptop that was stolen on a train or somewhere travelling, always by a famous current author though – that does make me a little suspicious it could be “Oh, did you know I’m writing a new novel? It nearly didn’t happen, so you might want to buy it when it comes out?” I never really feel I can fully trust any story I read!

      Thanks for digging this one out for a read Judy, much appreciated! šŸ™‚

      1. It was a great read, Suzy, and a pleasure to find.

        I bought a laptop with the new Windows 8 – hated it. To compound my frustration with the new setup, the laptop was unreliable. I’d be typing and then my copy would jump into a previous paragraph … or, disappear altogether. (Those in the know say the problem was the mother board – whatever that is.) I kept my Windows 7 desktop and purchased an Apple laptop. Both have been very agreeable. šŸ˜‰

  4. Funny you should mention that. But recently my sweetheart produced, from some hidden place, a treasure trove of my older sonnets. I truly did think i had copies of nearly everything; however, it is obvious that there was this sequence of 11 sonnets that I once, as a very lovesick boy, sent to her. Approximately 9 of the 11 are ones I do not ever remember writing! Although I do remember having sent some sonnets to her each in very large script on its own page very long ago. I almost always have paper copies of such things (which is a rather old fashioned type of backup, however, in some ways feels more secure) However I do not seem to have these among my older collected works. I must have had digital copies of these at some point, but I am not sure what happened to them.

    I do plan to post these soon–possibly on successive weekends–I have not yet decided.

    And I almost forgot. I was going to mention in my comment above that there was a silver lining to this data loss. The chapters were really quite fresh in my mind, and I very, very much enjoyed rewriting them. It was my first experience doing such a thing, and I is liberating to know that i can. I actually think the rewritten ones are better than the originals. Perhaps this is because the characters were, at that time, more firmly fixed in my mind.

    I do find skydrive, google docs, &c, a valuable resource for such preservation as well.

  5. Strangely enough I have had a most similar experience! For me, it was something like 20 chapters–no laughing matter. It was painful, especially because I have taken measures to prevent such things. Still one cannot protect oneself entirely from ones own ineptness. However since then, I have taken a new approach with writing and saving–always saving a new and complete numbered copy of everything each time I sit down to work on an ongoing project. Writing does not take up much space, really and so having 100 copies of your manuscript on skydrive and other cloud storage as well as local, hardly makes a dent anywhere on ones 5 gigs of free storage.

    Consumer level on-line backups are not something I recommend, because if one accidentally deletes a file or it disappears through some digital aberration, it will be deleted on the backup as well. Only if (as far as I know now, although it has been a while since I have checked up on this) one buys or pays for commercial grade backup is one truly safe because such services (as well as backup servers one runs oneself) really do save every version of every file.

    I would use a consumer level on-line backup if it was very inexpensive, but only in conjunction with such as I have described above.

    1. Well, so far I’ve managed to avoid this happening! I tend to use memory sticks for backups and always two copies on two memory sticks, just in case one fails to work! But it is easy to forget about backing up work. Obviously Shakespeare didn’t ever experience losing any of his sonnets or other works through lack of back ups, wonder if he ever mislaid any of them!
      Suzy šŸ˜€

    1. I’m very new to Charles Bukowski, I like quite a lot of his, they are brilliant stories of life really! I shared a You Tube video of Bluebird on here, which I think is my favourite, so I was really pleased to find one actually read by Charles himself – very special, I hope it doesn’t disappear, You Tube has a habit of deleting some of the best stuff on there!
      Thanks for having a browse!
      Suzy šŸ˜€

  6. I have done this , sadly work and words gone ! Being a computer novice I’ve become much more cautious . Humans and computers , not always a good mix . I do appreciate the depth of this post ! I searched my files for an hour hoping to find what I’d lost .

    1. Oh dear, poor you! Losing anything in life is horribly frustrating, but trying to find something lost on a computer is downright weird! I keep thinking I’ve lost something, and then it turns up, it was there all along, just couldn’t see it – very annoying that!
      Suzy šŸ˜€

    1. So far I’ve not managed to do this!
      I had to double check this was a genuine poem, because I wasn’t sure when Charles Bukowski died. He died in 1994, so I guessed this must have happened in the 80’s. You never know on the internet, even Shakespeare could turn up with a deleted sonnet story!!
      Suzy šŸ˜€

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