bukowski

i remember sneaking into my parents room and seeing his books by the side of their bed on my dad’s side. i would open one, careful not to lose the page my dad left off on, and i would read his poems quietly. i knew his words were heavy and often times there were things i didn’t understand. but it was real and it was alarming and there were swear words and wild stories involving alcohol and women and anger and bitterness, but in the mist of his words there would be a line filled with hope and desire and throughout everything, truth.

my dad would take business trips to nyc when i was in high school and i would almost always go with him. during one trip we were walking around downtown and stumbled on the landmark sunshine theater. they happened to be showing a bukowski documentary that was starting in ten minutes. we went in and i watched with complete awe and suspense. he was so wild. and so sad. and so angry. and so real. and so funny. he was so troubled. but he was a genius. with the grainy black and white film on and my dad next to me in the middle of manhattan, i watched this man and for some reason, felt hopeful.
while pregnant with finn i would read bukowski inbetween the stack of parenting and labor and birthing books i had beside my bed. when i would get tired of reading advice on how to swaddle a baby and the correct way to hold an infant while nursing, i would pick up a bukowski book and read a few poems. the one that i would read over and over and over was bluebird. he would always make me feel better, even if at the time he was feeling much worse.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?

charles bukowski.

CARLY’S BLOG HERE

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