I’ve bought Bukowski’s Factotum for an adult (mid-fifties) English student of mine – very successful guy, strait-laced, big business, beautiful family. It took me a while to think of which books would suit him, and the straight direct pretty simple Bukowski style is right on. Most other good writers are a bit above him, and I need to secure his basics while still challenging him a bit here & there. Problem is this book is loaded with grime and sex, often very funny, but graphic. I think I’ll give this to him, but it’s a bit of a risk too. If you haven’t read it, there’s this towards the beginning:
Martha got up and turned on the radio. Loud. “I’m a good
dancer,” she said. “Watch me dance!”
She whirled in her green tent, kicking her legs. She wasn’t
so hot. Soon she had the smock up around
her waist and was waving her behind in my face. The pink
panties had a large hole over the right cheek. Then off
came the smock and she was just in her panties. Next the
panties were on the floor by the smock and she was doing
a grind. Her triangle of cunt hair was almost hidden by her
dangling, bouncing stomach.
Sweat was making her mascara run. Suddenly her eyes
narrowed. I was sitting on the edge of the bed. She leapt on
me before I could move. Her open mouth was pressed on
mine. It tasted of spit and onions and stale wine and (I
imagined) the sperm of four hundred men. She pushed her
tongue into my mouth. It was thick with saliva, I gagged and
pushed her off. She fell on her knees, tore open my zipper,
and in a second my soft packer was in her mouth. She
sucked and bobbed. Martha had a small yellow ribbon in
her short grey hair. There were warts and big brown moles
on her neck and cheeks.
My penis rose; she groaned, bit me. I screamed, grabbed
her by the hair, pulled her off. I stood in the center of the
room wounded and terrified. They were playing a Mahler
Symphony on the radio. Before I could move she was down
on her knees and on me again. She gripped my balls
mercilessly with both of her hands. Her mouth opened, she
had me; her head bobbed, sucked, jerked. Giving my balls
a tremendous yank while almost biting my pecker in half
she forced me to the floor. Sucking sounds filled the room
as my radio played Mahler. I felt as if I were being eaten by
a pitiless animal. My pecker rose, covered with spittle and
blood. The sight of it threw her into a frenzy. I felt as if I was
being eaten alive.
If I come, I thought desperately, I’ll never forgive myself.
As I reached down to try to yank her off by the hair, she
clutched my balls again and squeezed them without pity.
Her teeth scissored midpoint on my penis as if to slice me
in two. I screamed, let go of her hair, fell back. Her head
bobbed remorselessly. I was certain the sucking could be
heard all over the roominghouse.
“NO!” I yelled.
She persisted with inhuman fury. I began to come. It was
like sucking the insides out of a trapped snake. Her fury
was mixed with madness; she sucked at that sperm,
gurgling it into her throat.
She continued to bob and suck.
“Martha! Stop! It’s over!”
She wouldn’t. It was as if she had been turned into an
enormous all-devouring mouth. She continued to suck and
bob. She went on, on. “NO!” I yelled again… This time she
got it like a vanilla malt through a straw.
I collapsed. She rose and began dressing herself. She
“When a NewYork baby says goodnight - it’s early in the
goodnight, sweetheart - it’s early in the morning -
goodnight, sweetheart - milkman’s on his way home…”
I staggered to my feet, clutching the front of my pants and
found my wallet. I took out $5, handed it to her. She took the
$5, tucked it into the front of her dress between her breasts,
grabbed my balls playfully once again, squeezed, let go,
and waltzed out of the room.