There are three typewriters that feature in “Bukowski: Born Into This” a documentary I bought on DVD:

A fleeting glimpse of a Royal HH…

Bukowski_Royal

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Some nice shots of an Underwood Standard …

Bukowski_RoyalHH

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And an Olympia SG minus its ribbon cover …

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The Olympia is now on permanent display at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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One typewriter that failed to put in an appearance (interestingly enough) is this IBM Selectric …

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I’m guessing Hank spilt his wine over it, which could explain why the Selectric was never seen again (and explain what he’s doing in the picture above!). Still at least he left us a poem to remember it by …

IBM Selectric
by Charles Bukowski

humming,
it will do almost anything you
ask it to do.

humming
beneath its smooth gray paint

the machine
knows.

even death stands back and
asks, “what the hell is
this?”

humming,
it astonishes the walls, the
windows, the cats, the ashtray,
the wooden Buddha and
me.

this machine can save my life.

this machine *has* saved my
life.

this machine can create a woman
more beautiful than
any you have ever seen
or
it can
punch a bully in the
nose.

humming,
this machine is
love found again
in a flood of
fire.

this machine is
a dance floor
a wild circus
a refuge for the
nearly insane.

this machine
sprouts tiny flowers of courage
in the middle of the night.

this machine
throws off sparks of light
when the dark is as dark as
dark can get.

when I recognize
the futility of my
efforts,
when I feel
age like the blade of death,
when I feel
like jumping out of the window
at 2 a.m.
this machine
this amazing machine
stands between me
and that

as it creates
magical poems on
8 1/2 by 11
sheets of paper
which
literally save
my poor
ass.

this old electric
typewriter
that sounds like
a
washing
machine.

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