Goodbye and thank you, 2011. You were a revelation.

in this cage some songs are born
Charles Bukowski

I write poetry, worry, smile,
continue for a while
just like most of us
just like all of us;
sometimes I want to hug all
Mankind on earth
and say,
god damn all this that they’ve brought down
upon us,
we are brave and good
even though we are selfish
and kill each other and
kill ourselves,
we are the people
born to kill and die and weep in dark rooms
and love in dark rooms,
and wait, and
wait and wait and wait.
we are the people.
we are nothing

How I cope with my Monday: I watch Tom Waits reading Bukowski.

The Laughing Heart
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.

Sifting through the madness.

so you want to be a writer?
Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

I’ve reached a stalemate with my manuscript. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write any more until the end of this month, even if I’m just five days away. What else is there to write — oh, a lot, a lot. But it’s getting to a point where everything sounds the same and I feel like I’ll never be able to come up with something pure and true again. Or maybe this is just exhaustion speaking, at five in the morning, when I’m all bitter and dry and bled out. I should just sleep on it before I do something only an emotional fuckwit can accomplish with such efficiency, like go out for a smoke and burn everything — the outlines, the notes on tissue papers, the journal, the whole shebang — which has happened before. And then I will forever wallow in regret, which is what I deserve, really, in the end.

oh yes
Charles Bukowski

there are worse things than being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
too late.

Browsing through my bookshelf earlier. Saw a McCullers title I’ve yet to read but didn’t pick it up. Hesitated on getting Bukowski which was sitting under a big pile. And now, this poem. Are you trying to tell me something, dear universe?

Carson McCullers
Charles Bukowski

she died of alcoholism
wrapped in a blanket
on a deck chair
on an ocean

all her books of
terrified loneliness

all her books about
the cruelty
of loveless love

were all that was left
of her

as the strolling vacationer
discovered her body

notified the captain

and she was quickly dispatched
to somewhere else
on the ship

as everything
continued just
she had written it

Yesterday was my dog’s birthday. He was a German shepherd named Mitch. He died almost two years ago.

I still miss him.

White Dog
Charles Bukowski

I went for a walk on Hollywood Boulevard.
I looked down and there was a large white dog
walking beside me.
his pace was exactly the same as mine,
we stopped at traffic signals together.
a woman smiled at us.
he must have walked 8 blocks with me.
then I went into a grocery store and
when I came out he was gone.
or she was gone.
the wonderful white dog
with a trace of yellow in its fur.
the large blue eyes were gone.
the grinning mouth was gone.
the lolling tongue was gone.

things are so easily lost.
things just can’t be kept forever.

I got the blues.
I got the blues.
that dog loved and
trusted me and
I let it walk away.

My great grandmother died. And there is nothing more to say about it. I was on my way home Friday night when I got a call saying she passed away. She was 98. Quite a relic, actually.

Then again, she has turned into a child these last few years. I was glad it was all over. For her sake, at least. Deep down I know, the only reason why my mother’s family kept on bringing her to the hospital time and again when something happens, like when her heartbeat slows down, or when some other major cause of panic occurs, is because of their own damn selfishness. I don’t know if I’m much too jaded, but I think that this is all a part of the “this-is-what-families-do” crap, and I really did think if she was lucid enough she’d have issued a Do Not Rescuscitate order a long time ago.

It’s a peculiar thing, death.

She looked so frail inside the casket. As opposed to the towering figure I used to remember when I was a child. When I looked at her, I thought, no, she does not look like she’s only sleeping, or what other fucktards still say to reassure themselves. She was in pain for the past week, with water filling up her lungs. And she looked like it, lying there, beneath the glass, inspite of the new silk dress, the necklace, everything that was done because of the grieving’s denial, as if to say, “I’m only sleeping, darling, no, I am not dead.”

I wonder how she felt, what she was thinking, lying in the hospital, waiting for all her damn relatives to unplug the tube and just let her be in peace already. It irked me, that week, last week. It made me mad, how my mother’s family continued to prolong her life so her other relatives from all over the world can come home and see her before she dies. This conscious decision of having her in the ICU for days and days on end, while people come and go and look at her like she’s a damn creature on display – it made me really, really mad. What is this hypocrisy for? People left, went on with their lives, forgot about her. And now, now when she is making her way towards death, reaching out her arms to embrace the thing that happens after this life, now people are clamoring to come back. What for, what for?

I tried to understand it. I tried to think about it as I stand and look at her for what I believed would be the last time, a week ago. She was conscious, breathing, looking at something only she can see. She cannot hear me, cannot even remember me now, and I can’t even touch her, no. She no longer is the woman I once knew. I don’t know the person in bed before me, and that kind of dissonance, knowing that logically she is my great grandmother, burrows a hole inside my chest.

And now she is gone.

At the wake, people trickle in, and I was constantly annoyed and amazed at how many relatives she has. These relatives, where were day in the last few years while she was succumbing to the cruel way of nature, sliding back into childhood, erasing recognition, any trace of memory? And how they had the gall to smile, to greet their condolences like someone’s having a birthday party. And what of her own daughters, who continue to fight over who’s going to get the rest of her property, who’s going to stay the night to be with her corpse, who has the biggest flower arrangement of them all. It enrages me so much I wanted to scream.

I’ve only been at the wake for a day. I think it was enough. Everything that’s there, everything was a joke.

And I wanted to protect you, Lola, I wanted to keep you away from all of them. I know we’re all holding tight to our grief, and I know we all have a right to deal with it the only way we knew how, and I’ve never been that person who can hold her heart in her hands without breaking down, and so here is a poem, here is a poem, Lola, here is a poem – because it’s the only thing I can give without having to fight back the tears:

Charles Bukowski

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

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
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
you want to blow my book sales in

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 still singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do