Charles Bukowski |
either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you
when i was a young man
I felt these things were
I had bad blood,a twisted
mind, a pecarious
I was hard as granite,I
leered at the
I trusted no man and
I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
I challenged everything,
was continually being
out of fights,in and aout
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at,i had no male
I changed jobs and
cities,I hated holidays,
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
and flowers were for
peace an happiness to me
were signs of
tenants of the weak
but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
began to occur to
that I wasn't diffrent
others, I was the same,
they were all fulsome
glossed over with petty
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
the lie was the
weapon and the
darkness was the
cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
I found moments of
peace in cheap
just staring at the
knobs of some
or listening to the
rain in the
the less i needed
the better i
maybe the other life had worn me
I no longer found
in topping somebody
or in mounting the
body of some poor
whose life had
slipped away into
I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
but there were parts,
tenous magic parts
open for the
I re formulated
I don't know when,
but the change
something in me
i no longer had to
prove that i was a
I did'nt have to prove
I began to see things:
coffe cups lined up
behind a counter in a
or a dog walking along
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
with its body,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
and they were
then- it was
I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.
I've missed too many
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, "i am going
to have to let you go"
"it's all right" i tell
He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children.
expenses, most probably
I am sorry for him
he is caught.
I walk onto the blazing
the whole day is
(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
everybody is despondent,
I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels,breasts,
(dont get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems justr for
the sake of
this is a sheild and a
The knife got near my
I almost turned on the
but when the good
I did'nt fight them off
like an alley
I let them take me,
i luxuriated in them,
I bade them welcome
I even looked into
once having thought
myself to be
I now liked what
a bit ripped and
but all in all,
not too bad,
better at least than
some of those movie
like the cheeks of
and finally I discovered
real feelings fo
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wif in bed,
her head there
centuries of the living
and the dead and
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the toteboard waiting for
I saw the shape of my
she so still,
i ached for her life,
just being there
i kissed her in the,
got down the stairway,
got into my marvelous
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
feeling warm to
down to my
foot on the gas
I entered the world
drove down the
past the houses
full and emptey
i saw the mailman,
John Wilmot |
At five this morn, when Phoebus raised his head
From Thetis' lap, I raised myself from bed,
And mounting steed, I trotted to the waters
The rendesvous of fools, buffoons, and praters,
Cuckolds, whores, citizens, their wives and daughters.
My squeamish stomach I with wine had bribed
To undertake the dose that was prescribed;
But turning head, a sudden curséd view
That innocent provision overthrew,
And without drinking, made me purge and spew.
From coach and six a thing unweildy rolled,
Whose lumber, card more decently would hold.
As wise as calf it looked, as big as bully,
But handled, proves a mere Sir Nicholas Cully;
A bawling fop, a natural Nokes, and yet
He dares to censure as if he had wit.
To make him more ridiculous, in spite
Nature contrived the fool should be a knight.
Though he alone were dismal signet enough,
His train contributed to set him off,
All of his shape, all of the selfsame stuff.
No spleen or malice need on them be thrown:
Nature has done the business of lampoon,
And in their looks their characters has shown.
Endeavoring this irksome sight to balk,
And a more irksome noise, their silly talk,
I silently slunk down t' th' Lower Walk,
But often when one would Charybdis shun,
Down upon Scilla 'tis one's fate to run,
For here it was my curséd luck to find
As great a fop, though of another kind,
A tall stiff fool that walked in Spanish guise:
The buckram puppet never stirred its eyes,
But grave as owl it looked, as woodcock wise.
He scorns the empty talking of this mad age,
And speaks all proverbs, sentences, and adage;
Can with as much solemnity buy eggs
As a cabal can talk of their intrigues;
Master o' th' Ceremonies, yet can dispense
With the formality of talking sense.
From hence unto the upper walk I ran,
Where a new scene of foppery began.
A tribe of curates, priests, canonical elves,
Fit company for none besides themselves,
Were got together.
Each his distemper told,
Scurvy, stone, strangury; some were so bold
To charge the spleen to be their misery,
And on that wise disease brought infamy.
But none had modesty enough t' complain
Their want of learning, honesty, and brain,
The general diseases of that train.
These call themselves ambassadors of heaven,
And saucily pretend commissions given;
But should an Indian king, whose small command
Seldom extends beyond ten miles of land,
Send forth such wretched tools in an ambassage,
He'd find but small effects of such a message.
Listening, I found the cob of all this rabble
Pert Bays, with his importance comfortable.
He, being raised to an archdeaconry
By trampling on religion, liberty,
Was grown to great, and looked too fat and jolly,
To be disturbed with care and melancholy,
Though Marvell has enough exposed his folly.
He drank to carry off some old remains
His lazy dull distemper left in 's veins.
Let him drink on, but 'tis not a whole flood
Can give sufficient sweetness to his blood
To make his nature of his manners good.
Next after these, a fulsome Irish crew
Of silly Macs were offered to my view.
The things did talk, but th' hearing what they said
I did myself the kindness to evade.
Nature has placed these wretches beneath scorn:
They can't be called so vile as they are born.
Amidst the crowd next I myself conveyed,
For now were come, whitewash and paint being laid,
Mother and daughter, mistress and the maid,
And squire with wig and pantaloon displayed.
But ne'er could conventicle, play, or fair
For a true medley, with this herd compare.
Here lords, knights, squires, ladies and countesses,
Chandlers, mum-bacon women, sempstresses
Were mixed together, nor did they agree
More in their humors than their quality.
Here waiting for gallant, young damsel stood,
Leaning on cane, and muffled up in hood.
The would-be wit, whose business was to woo,
With hat removed and solemn scrape of shoe
Advanceth bowing, then genteelly shrugs,
And ruffled foretop into order tugs,
And thus accosts her: "Madam, methinks the weather
Is grown much more serene since you came hither.
You influence the heavens; but should the sun
Withdraw himself to see his rays outdone
By your bright eyes, they would supply the morn,
And make a day before the day be born.
With mouth screwed up, conceited winking eyes,
And breasts thrust forward, "Lord, sir!" she replies.
"It is your goodness, and not my deserts,
Which makes you show this learning, wit, and parts.
He, puzzled, butes his nail, both to display
The sparkling ring, and think what next to say,
And thus breaks forth afresh: "Madam, egad!
Your luck at cards last night was very bad:
At cribbage fifty-nine, and the next show
To make the game, and yet to want those two.
God damn me, madam, I'm the son of a whore
If in my life I saw the like before!"
To peddler's stall he drags her, and her breast
With hearts and such-like foolish toys he dressed;
And then, more smartly to expound the riddle
Of all his prattle, gives her a Scotch fiddle.
Tired with this dismal stuff, away I ran
Where were two wives, with girl just fit for man -
Short-breathed, with pallid lips and visage wan.
Some curtsies past, and the old compliment
Of being glad to see each other, spent,
With hand in hand they lovingly did walk,
And one began thus to renew the talk:
"I pray, good madam, if it may be thought
No rudeness, what cause was it hither brought
Your ladyship?" She soon replying, smiled,
"We have a good estate, but have no child,
And I'm informed these wells will make a barren
Woman as fruitful as a cony warren.
The first returned, "For this cause I am come,
For I can have no quietness at home.
My husband grumbles though we have got one,
This poor young girl, and mutters for a son.
And this is grieved with headache, pangs, and throes;
Is full sixteen, and never yet had those.
She soon replied, "Get her a husband, madam:
I married at that age, and ne'er had 'em;
Was just like her.
Steel waters let alone:
A back of steel will bring 'em better down.
And ten to one but they themselves will try
The same means to increase their family.
Poor foolish fribble, who by subtlety
Of midwife, truest friend to lechery,
Persuaded art to be at pains and charge
To give thy wife occasion to enlarge
Thy silly head! For here walk Cuff and Kick,
With brawny back and legs and potent prick,
Who more substantially will cure thy wife,
And on her half-dead womb bestow new life.
From these the waters got the reputation
Of good assistants unto generation.
Some warlike men were now got into th' throng,
With hair tied back, singing a bawdy song.
Not much afraid, I got a nearer view,
And 'twas my chance to know the dreadful crew.
They were cadets, that seldom can appear:
Damned to the stint of thirty pounds a year.
With hawk on fist, or greyhound led in hand,
The dogs and footboys sometimes they command.
But now, having trimmed a cast-off spavined horse,
With three hard-pinched-for guineas in their purse,
Two rusty pistols, scarf about the ****,
Coat lined with red, they here presume to swell:
This goes for captain, that for colonel.
So the Bear Garden ape, on his steed mounted,
No longer is a jackanapes accounted,
But is, by virtue of his trumpery, then
Called by the name of "the young gentleman.
Bless me! thought I, what thing is man, that thus
In all his shapes, he is ridiculous?
Ourselves with noise of reason we do please
In vain: humanity's our worst disease.
Thrice happy beasts are, who, because they be
Of reason void, and so of foppery.
Faith, I was so ashamed that with remorse
I used the insolence to mount my horse;
For he, doing only things fit for his nature,
Did seem to me by much the wiser creature.
Robert Burns |
EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth’rin Dedication,
To roose you up, an’ ca’ you guid,
An’ sprung o’ great an’ noble bluid,
Because ye’re surnam’d like His Grace—
Perhaps related to the race:
Then, when I’m tir’d-and sae are ye,
Wi’ mony a fulsome, sinfu’ lie,
Set up a face how I stop short,
For fear your modesty be hurt.
This may do—maun do, sir, wi’ them wha
Maun please the great folk for a wamefou;
For me! sae laigh I need na bow,
For, Lord be thankit, I can plough;
And when I downa yoke a naig,
Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg;
Sae I shall say—an’ that’s nae flatt’rin—
It’s just sic Poet an’ sic Patron.
The Poet, some guid angel help him,
Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him!
He may do weel for a’ he’s done yet,
But only—he’s no just begun yet.
The Patron (sir, ye maun forgie me;
I winna lie, come what will o’ me),
On ev’ry hand it will allow’d be,
He’s just—nae better than he should be.
I readily and freely grant,
He downa see a poor man want;
What’s no his ain, he winna tak it;
What ance he says, he winna break it;
Ought he can lend he’ll no refus’t,
Till aft his guidness is abus’d;
And rascals whiles that do him wrang,
Ev’n that, he does na mind it lang;
As master, landlord, husband, father,
He does na fail his part in either.
But then, nae thanks to him for a’that;
Nae godly symptom ye can ca’ that;
It’s naething but a milder feature
Of our poor, sinfu’ corrupt nature:
Ye’ll get the best o’ moral works,
’Mang black Gentoos, and pagan Turks,
Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi,
Wha never heard of orthodoxy.
That he’s the poor man’s friend in need,
The gentleman in word and deed,
It’s no thro’ terror of damnation;
It’s just a carnal inclination.
Morality, thou deadly bane,
Thy tens o’ thousands thou hast slain!
Vain is his hope, whase stay an’ trust is
In moral mercy, truth, and justice!
No—stretch a point to catch a plack:
Abuse a brother to his back;
Steal through the winnock frae a whore,
But point the rake that taks the door;
Be to the poor like ony whunstane,
And haud their noses to the grunstane;
Ply ev’ry art o’ legal thieving;
No matter—stick to sound believing.
Learn three-mile pray’rs, an’ half-mile graces,
Wi’ weel-spread looves, an’ lang, wry faces;
Grunt up a solemn, lengthen’d groan,
And damn a’ parties but your own;
I’ll warrant they ye’re nae deceiver,
A steady, sturdy, staunch believer.
O ye wha leave the springs o’ Calvin,
For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin!
Ye sons of Heresy and Error,
Ye’ll some day squeel in quaking terror,
When Vengeance draws the sword in wrath.
And in the fire throws the sheath;
When Ruin, with his sweeping besom,
Just frets till Heav’n commission gies him;
While o’er the harp pale Misery moans,
And strikes the ever-deep’ning tones,
Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans!
Your pardon, sir, for this digression:
I maist forgat my Dedication;
But when divinity comes ’cross me,
My readers still are sure to lose me.
So, sir, you see ’twas nae daft vapour;
But I maturely thought it proper,
When a’ my works I did review,
To dedicate them, sir, to you:
Because (ye need na tak it ill),
I thought them something like yoursel’.
Then patronize them wi’ your favor,
And your petitioner shall ever——
I had amaist said, ever pray,
But that’s a word I need na say;
For prayin, I hae little skill o’t,
I’m baith dead-sweer, an’ wretched ill o’t;
But I’se repeat each poor man’s pray’r,
That kens or hears about you, sir.
“May ne’er Misfortune’s gowling bark,
Howl thro’ the dwelling o’ the clerk!
May ne’er his genrous, honest heart,
For that same gen’rous spirit smart!
May Kennedy’s far-honour’d name
Lang beet his hymeneal flame,
Till Hamiltons, at least a dizzen,
Are frae their nuptial labours risen:
Five bonie lasses round their table,
And sev’n braw fellows, stout an’ able,
To serve their king an’ country weel,
By word, or pen, or pointed steel!
May health and peace, with mutual rays,
Shine on the ev’ning o’ his days;
Till his wee, curlie John’s ier-oe,
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow,
The last, sad, mournful rites bestow!”
I will not wind a lang conclusion,
With complimentary effusion;
But, whilst your wishes and endeavours
Are blest with Fortune’s smiles and favours,
I am, dear sir, with zeal most fervent,
Your much indebted, humble servant.
But if (which Pow’rs above prevent)
That iron-hearted carl, Want,
Attended, in his grim advances,
By sad mistakes, and black mischances,
While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him,
Make you as poor a dog as I am,
Your humble servant then no more;
For who would humbly serve the poor?
But, by a poor man’s hopes in Heav’n!
While recollection’s pow’r is giv’n—
If, in the vale of humble life,
The victim sad of fortune’s strife,
I, thro’ the tender-gushing tear,
Should recognise my master dear;
If friendless, low, we meet together,
Then, sir, your hand—my Friend and Brother!