My ProCrasstheNation “Author Love of the Day” goes out to Charles Bukowski.
Hank found me at a time in my life when I needed him most. His gut-punching prose guided me through a pretty harrowing period of disillusionment. He made me feel that it was okay to throw your hands in the air and just launch a big ol’ bird at life.
Bukowski’s “Post Office” was gifted to me by a great friend, a best friend. He knew me well enough to know that I needed a post in the road, a distraction, some sage advice. Ever since that time, Bukowski has been a welcome voice in my head as well as a witness of the suffering that can be endured in this life.
He’s a hard man for many to love. His shortcomings, which are many, alienate those who can’t think critically in the knee jerk reality of a politically correct driven universe. However, if you can sit back and allow him to invade your space, Bukowski shows an adept ability to grab you with his words and make you realize that when you’re dealing with life there is no politics, just what exists despite our best efforts to contort what comes our way into mind-numbing saccharin delusions.
Below is a poem, that has always spoken to me. It is especially apropos in light of the shitshow currently surrounding us on many levels. Give Bukowski a chance. You won’t be sorry. There is integrity and compassion in the suffering he painted in his words, and there is nothing more gratifying to me than in finding a soul in this world that can articulate how I feel, even though I didn’t know I felt that way to begin with.
Born like this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
Born like this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter.
Not just live and let live, but live and help live
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Twisted tales of times true
We're all on a road to somewhere.