Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Let It Enfold You


either peace or happiness, 
let it enfold you 

when I was a young man 
I felt these things were 
dumb, unsophisticated. 
I had bad blood, a twisted 
mind, a precarious 
upbringing. 

I was hard as granite, I 
leered at the 
sun. 
I trusted no man and 
especially no 
woman. 

I was living a hell in 
small rooms, I broke 
things, smashed things, 
walked through glass, 
cursed. 
I challenged everything, 
was continually being 
evicted, jailed,in and 
out of fights, in and out 
of my mind. 
women were something 
to screw and rail 
at, I had no male 
freinds, 

I changed jobs and 
cities, I hated holidays, 
babies, history, 
newspapers, museums, 
grandmothers, 
marriage, movies, 
spiders, garbagemen, 
english accents,spain, 
france,italy,walnuts and 
the color 
orange. 
algebra angred me, 
opera sickened me, 
charlie chaplin was a 
fake 
and flowers were for 
pansies. 

peace an happiness to me 
were signs of 
inferiority, 
tenants of the weak 
an 
addled 
mind. 

but as I went on with 
my alley fights, 
my suicidal years, 
my passage through 
any number of 
women-it gradually 
began to occur to 
me 
that I wasn't different 

from the 
others, I was the same, 

they were all fulsome 
with hatred, 
glossed over with petty 
greivances, 
the men I fought in 
alleys had hearts of stone. 
everybody was nudging, 
inching, cheating for 
some insignificant 
advantage, 
the lie was the 
weapon and the 
plot was 
empty, 
darkness was the 
dictator. 

cautiously, I allowed 
myself to feel good 
at times. 
I found moments of 
peace in cheap 
rooms 
just staring at the 
knobs of some 
dresser 
or listening to the 
rain in the 
dark. 
the less I needed 
the better I 
felt. 

maybe the other life had worn me 
down. 
I no longer found 
glamour 
in topping somebody 
in conversation. 
or in mounting the 
body of some poor 
drunken female 
whose life had 
slipped away into 
sorrow. 

I could never accept 
life as it was, 
i could never gobble 
down all its 
poisons 
but there were parts, 
tenous magic parts 
open for the 
asking. 

I re formulated 
I don't know when, 
date, time, all 
that 
but the change 
occured. 
something in me 
relaxed, smoothed 
out. 
i no longer had to 
prove that I was a 
man, 

I did'nt have to prove 
anything. 

I began to see things: 
coffee cups lined up 
behind a counter in a 
cafe. 
or a dog walking along 
a sidewalk. 
or the way the mouse 
on my dresser top 
stopped there 
with its body, 
its ears, 
its nose, 
it was fixed, 
a bit of life 
caught within itself 
and its eyes looked 
at me 
and they were 
beautiful. 
then- it was 
gone. 

I began to feel good, 
I began to feel good 
in the worst situations 
and there were plenty 
of those. 
like say, the boss 
behind his desk, 
he is going to have 
to fire me. 

I've missed too many 
days. 
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 
him. 

He must do what he 
must do, he has a 
wife, a house, children. 
expenses, most probably 
a girlfreind. 

I am sorry for him 
he is caught. 

I walk onto the blazing 
sunshine. 
the whole day is 
mine 
temporailiy, 
anyhow. 

(the whole world is at the 
throat of the world, 
everybody feels angry, 
short-changed, cheated, 
everybody is despondent, 
dissillusioned) 

I welcomed shots of 
peace, tattered shards of 
happiness. 

I embraced that stuff 
like the hottest number, 
like high heels, breasts, 
singing,the 
works. 

(dont get me wrong, 
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism 
that overlooks all 
basic problems just for 
the sake of 
itself- 
this is a shield and a 
sickness.) 

The knife got near my 
throat again, 
I almost turned on the 
gas 
again 
but when the good 
moments arrived 
again 
I did'nt fight them off 
like an alley 
adversary. 
I let them take me, 
i luxuriated in them, 
I bade them welcome 
home. 
I even looked into 
the mirror 
once having thought 
myself to be 
ugly, 
I now liked what 
I saw,almost 
handsome, yes, 
a bit ripped and 
ragged, 
scares, lumps, 
odd turns, 
but all in all, 
not too bad, 
almost handsome, 
better at least than 
some of those movie 
star faces 
like the cheeks of 
a baby's 
butt. 

and finally I discovered 
real feelings of 
others, 
unheralded, 
like lately, 
like this morning, 
as I was leaving, 
for the track, 
i saw my wife in bed, 
just the 
shape of 
her head there 
(not forgetting 
centuries of the living 
and the dead and 
the dying, 
the pyramids, 
Mozart dead 
but his music still 
there in the 
room, weeds growing, 
the earth turning, 
the toteboard waiting for 
me) 
I saw the shape of my 
wife's head, 
she so still, 
I ached for her life, 
just being there 
under the 
covers. 

I kissed her in the, 
forehead, 
got down the stairway, 
got outside, 
got into my marvelous 
car, 
fixed the seatbelt, 
backed out the 
drive. 
feeling warm to 
the fingertips, 
down to my 
foot on the gas 
pedal, 
I entered the world 
once 
more, 
drove down the 
hill 
past the houses 
full and empty 
of 
people, 
I saw the mailman, 
honked, 
he waved 
back 
at me. 

Charles Bukowski 


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