A Very Brief Boy Story

I read Bukowski and thought of him.

At first I think it was because he told me that he liked Kerouac, and I said that ‘On the Road’ wasn’t any good, and he asked if I had read it and I said no, and he told me it was very stupid to say it wasn’t any good when I hadn’t even read it. When I phrase it in this way it sounds like he was right, but I still maintain that he was wrong. His temper was one of his traits that bothered me.

I was later reminded of him through all the talk of boils and terrible skin. He smoked a lot. I had never liked that he smoked so much, but the first time that I smoked a full cigarette was because he was smoking too. I guess that means that I cannot judge him for it. I always thought that the smoking would be bad for his skin, and it was. It made him look much older. It was also bad because it had left him with circular grey scars from putting out cigarettes on his forearm.

He also had bad skin in that he had a lot of acne on his face. This made me feel better about my own skin because I knew his was worse than mine and so he couldn’t criticise me. For a long time I had wanted to tell him how Chevy Chase told Bill Murray that his face looked like something that Neil Armstrong had landed on. I wanted to share this because I thought it was funny, but I knew that it would make him feel self-conscious.

I had told him another story though, of how I was once in a room with three other girls who went about deciding who was the most attractive boy in school and how he had won. He hadn’t won. They had talked extensively of how much they liked his body but concluded that this was ruined by his face. I personally did not mind his face. Many people had told him that he looked like Clark Kent. I told him this too, and then proceeded to fall asleep with his arm around me and to wake up with him gone. I never mentioned Bukowski to him.