La Vie En Sharke or My Bukowski Year by Zac Dunn | Art by Chris Austin

Free TV (study) by Chris Austin

La Vie En Sharke or My Bukowski Year
By Zac Dunn
Art by Chris Austin
Published Issue 127, July 2024

The tide sweeping into the slips just east of my ears is always a train ride away. After a lifetime stuck in a quagmire of LIES and BROKEN TOOLS used to build SHANTIES I hocked my dreams out of …

The animal kingdom and nature are places that I am from. My father was a BEAR and everyone called him this to his face. ZAC, CRAZY, JUICE, DRZEN, UZIEGO, or OGE was what people called me. 

He was a very loud man. His voice could carry over the roar of the loudest machines in the wood shop. Even the mighty PLANER passing MAHOGANY would not overpower my father’s ROAR. The violence of SOUND, VOICE, EFFORT and absorbing extreme trauma in the form of POWER TOOLS, RAGE, SCREAMING, EMOTIONAL FRAGILITY all handed to me directly as the STATUS QUO. It was expected that I would do what I was told without question as I was a SQUIRE learning an OLDE WAY that may have been out of place in SPACE and TIME. 

Almost like picking up an old book I learned to turn the pages very carefully. 

But I wasn’t careful enough to misstep in haste trying to step away from the rigid hands trying to save me from me in vain. 

I don’t remember the moment I chose to leave the path and not move to CHICAGO. 

Everything else is a blur now that I’ve BBQ’d all the hurt into a concrete slab I cast my bag of bones to. Never looking back long enough to consider why I told me to do anything. By pure luck I didn’t DIE a whole bunch of times despite many others not being able to continue. 

They would be real with me and give me an ATOMIC TRUTH I let live in me that they gave me. It wasn’t always a thing I could see inside the universe of people and experiences I consumed and used to expand my own heart and galaxy …

But the weight we take on and carry is all of a value and the size of that value is very important. I lost to battles and travels with shitty pants I chucked into the bathroom of MARGARITAVILLE trying to KILL THE PAIN. 

But after a long hard slag I finally understood the quote that I chose as a senior, by fellow LEFTY, JIMI HENDRIX

“My friends of fashion turned out to be my enemies of thought. They did my wine color slacks and socks. But someday I hope and pray they understand the BAG that I am LIVING IN.”

The shark swims and only knows forward motion with each fin glide of brave desperation. The engine is run on fuel that could be anything. SEALS, TIRES, PEOPLES, BIRDS or sweet sweet CHUM … 

We gaze in FEAR at the SEA as it is not our place to breathe and swim. 

We FEAR the unknown and the known that makes us anxious. But the hunger that we share with the fins that break into bays and reefs is boundless in any elemental context. The moon and sun chase the space they cast shadows and GAMMA RAYS on that burn and warm the ever-whipping rock in space. Too profoundly in motion for all to see that it moves at all times to the LEFT. Much like the SHARK opens its month to feel the meat and choose. It has many tools but SOFT HANDS are not one of them. 

The teeth that dig in are always replaced by more rows of jagged definition. TEETH are bones that protrude from FACE HOLES and rupture structure into delicious calories. But the SHARK lives in motion as we sleep in circles that spin CLOCKWISE to the LEFT. The mighty wheel whirls us all at the same rate no matter where we stand, sleep, eat, swim or become the once-beating thing in the belly of the great white belly slowly swimming on into utter nothingness. 

The question mark we both embark upon is the same one that my hero posed to me and took up like a sword pulled from an old stone. 

CHARLES BUKOWSKI stated that one must do what they love for ONE FULL year. Only then, after paying the price however high and hard, would a writer have earned the mark to stand and write the words on the level I understand. 

To live as a MAN of the streets that meets the mustard that can plug the words and be more absurd than any of the icons whose jocks and lives lesser fools pretend to ride for, the syntax must become the context and vice versa. 

The person who was GG ALLIN was probably a lot more like me than people care to remember. It’s fun and cool to watch the UNDERBELLY so smelly or HOARDERS or RICH GREEDY people acting predictably. The SHARK does not allow a conversation or accept a CURRENCY OF PAIN, as that is not a real thing. The only currency the SHARK knows is MEAT. MEAT is real and feels a certain way in the mouth that can choose to bite or release the next mouthful. We choose many things and many choose us by context and gravity. But the waters we break and the chances we take would be all too brazen for us to hide the heart we share with the SHARKS we FEAR and eat small bites of pretending to be BRAVE. 

WHEN the mouthful of SHARK FIN is paid out in the QUID PRO QUO of the JUNGLE SEA EARTH and SKY is consumed please remember that a living thing dreams at the bottoms of the ocean hoping we were less hungry for a CRUEL MEAL that we feel is our RIGHT to EAT. 

6:01 a.m. HOD NYC 5.28.24.00000003


Zac Dunn is a psycho-social mechanic, father, musician and dreamer. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter Instagram | Tumblr.


Chris Austin is a painter and sculptor living and working in Toronto, Canada, whose paintings depict captivating scenes imbued with a surreal luminescence. His works are inspired by his travels through North America, and in particular, the Pacific Northwest. See more of his work on Instagram.


Check out Zac’s June piece, BONES, and Chris’ last Birdy install, King Street Pass, in case you missed it, or head to our Explore section to see more of his work.