“CHINASKI! Get over here!!!”

Post Office is Charles Bukowski’s first novel. Bukowski was a United States postal worker for several years in his hometown of L.A. He sorted mail, carried mail and delivered the mail.

Henry Chinaski is the book’s subject. It’s pretty close to the author’s real name. In fact, it’s a damn near perfect resolution: Charles Bukowski breathe in, Henry Chinaski breathe out.

Bukowski makes reference to his character’s muscular legs quite often. Physically it was the only thing that he thought women found attractive about him.

When I read this book, I could feel a lonesome and familiar quality. It tells the story of a struggling worker, who doesn’t say much, but can instantly observe the meaning behind people’s actions. He knows when a woman on his route wants to go to bed with him, when his boss is torturing him for no reason other than his own enjoyment and how to navigate the lie of bourgeois and educated manners—but he would have them pay for his dinner. He’s a lazy hustler, but he knows he’s a lazy hustler.

Chinaski’s needs are very basic: a shower, a drink, food, a cigarette, sex, a payday and a beater car to get him around the L.A. freeways. He’s someone who isn’t trying to step on people to get ahead, because he knows there’s nothing over there that isn’t already here. He knows humans step on each other all the time.

A postal worker, especially before the digital mail revolution, was so vital to everyday life in America. Chinaski in the Pony Express! It’s a great vehicle for Bukowski to write about the world and the crazy folks in it. You got a boss, you got a tough route, you got a crazy dog chasing you (the world's full of crazy animals), and you have people laying their shit on you. “Bills, bills, bills—all you ever bring me is bills”.

Bukowski has a tough jaw for a dead man. I think he gets a bad rap. I think there’s more love in his writing than anything else. He has this sort of funny reputation: that he hates everyone. I don’t know see it that way. I think he tells the world like it is and that’s what gives people a tough time.

Post Office isn’t my favorite book. It doesn’t have those sentences that D.H. Lawrence had or Poe, but that’s what’s great about it —it’s for the time it was written, this one, a time of no references.

Excellence is now beyond mass recognition and the world could actually physically explode under the right circumstances, intentions and malfunctions. There’s no handbook for that. Writers shouldn’t masturbate in the shower with the rusted waters of university-approved literature (Bukowski trashes Shakespeare, it’s like Johnny Ramone throwing rocks at the Beatles at Shea). Writers now have too many references. We’re ‘taught’.

Here I go, writing about writing and not actually writing about the writing of Post Office. No wonder I don’t see value in reviews. I’m alive and glad to be. But don’t let anyone fool you, today is the worst day in human history, somebody has to show you that.


The Men's forthcoming new album, Drift, is due out March 2nd via Sacred Bones. Check out 'Killed Someone' below, and be sure to catch them live at Oslo, London on June 1st.