Bukowski’s Dream Girls

A few weeks ago, I used this prompt in a workshop I’d been leading for formerly incarcerated men and it produced some incredibly inspired writing. Perhaps not surprisingly, several of the pieces written in response to the prompt were similar in content (though not in form). Which leads me to believe the source of the prompt strikes a universal chord (at least among men). In any case, the prompt begins by reading aloud in its entirety a Charles Bukowski poem entitled “Those Girls We Followed Home.”


The poem begins like this:

in junior high the two prettiest girls were/Irene and Louise,/they were sisters;/Irene was a year older, a little taller/but it was difficult to choose between/them;/they were not only pretty but they were/astonishingly beautiful/so beautiful/that the boys stayed away from them;/they were terrified of Irene and/Louise/who weren’t aloof at all;/even friendlier than most/but/who seemed to dress a bit/differently than the other girls;/they always wore high heels,/silk stockings,/blouses,/skirts,/new outfits/each day;/and/one afternoon/my buddy, Baldy, and i followed them/home from school;/you see, we were kind of/the bad guys on the grounds/so it was/more or less/expected,/and/it was something:/walking along ten or twelve feet behind them;/we didnt say anything/we just followed/watching/their voluptuous swaying,/the balance of the/haunches.

The rest of the poem—which goes on to tell the tale of how the narrator and Baldy never scored with Irene and Louise but that 50 years later the narrator still dreams about it—can be found here, as well as in the excellent collection of Bukowski poems entitled You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense.

And once you’re finished reading the poem aloud (warning: the poem contains a four-letter word perhaps unsuitable for children under a certain age and may cause some folks above a certain age to blush), the rest of the prompt is this: write about someone you (or a character) still dream about and/or wish you’d been better acquainted with.