Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘Charles Bukowski’

30 JANUARY, 2012

Charles Bukowski on What Love Is

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Once again, Bukowski captures a great truth and tragedy of the human condition:

Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It’s just a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.”

More in Bukowski’s Love is a Dog From Hell — because, some days, poetry just holds so much more truth about love than does science.

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13 JANUARY, 2012

A Beautiful Animated Adaptation of Bukowski’s Poem “Bluebird”

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Visual whimsy to make Bukowski’s magic shine.

Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Bluebird,” originally published in his 1992 anthology The Last Night of the Earth Poems (public library), is a quietly profound meditation on an all too familiar facet of the human condition — our compulsion to conceal and stifle our most tender and vulnerable selves underneath tough, controlled, meticulously architected exteriors.

This mesmerizingly beautiful animated adaptation of the poem by Cambridge School of Art student Monika Umba is the perfect piece of visual whimsy to bring to life Bukowski’s magic.

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?

Complement with Bukowski on the ideal conditions and myths of creativity and his magnificent letter of gratitude to the man who helped him quit his soul-sucking day job to become a full-time writer.

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30 DECEMBER, 2009

Tom Waits Reads Bukowski

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On finding light in darkness, knowing chances and the ownership of life.

Short and sweet, our 2010 wish to Brain Pickings readers, from the lips of Tom Waits reading “The Laughing Heart” by the great Charles Bukowski.

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

In 2009, we spent more than 200 hours a month bringing you Brain Pickings. That’s over 2,400 hours for the year — the equivalent of 24 feature-length films, 60 music albums or 800 bathroom visits. If you found any joy and inspiration here this year, please consider supporting us with a modest donation — it lets us know we’re doing something right and helps us pay the bills.





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17 DECEMBER, 2009

Uncovered Gem: Bono Reads Bukowski’s “Roll The Dice”

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“If you’re gonna try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.”

Today, we’re doing a short-and-sweet on the convergence of two cultural icons — Bono reading Bukowski, easily the most influential and most imitated contemporary poet.

“Roll The Dice” comes from the brilliant What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Bukowski’s second posthumous collection spanning 200+ poems from the 70’s through the 90’s.

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