“Corny Stuff”

One of my favourite pieces of writing by Charles Bukowski comes from his correspondence with Sheri Martinelli.

It’s a short account of his haemorrhoidectomy and it’s quintessential Buk.

It goes:


the month of March is over. I went into the hospital on the 2nd., was sliced on the 3rd., and there was a bit of horror and disbelief—locked in with the whining crowd. and their T.V. sets and many of them with imagined ills, only wanting the great Mother because society has cut their balls off and they have lost touch with the undiscovered and important gods. no souls—just mouths, bodies pewking the misery of the sell-out. the bit of pain from the knives was nothing compared to being locked-in with them! at least on the job, you know that in a dozen hours you will be walking down the street alone—4 a.m.—with the last of the moon sinking into your skin and bones, the quiet air giving you no con-game… you slowly fill again, you go home. the mirror is hell, but that’s where you came from. but there’s always that stirring inch LEFT! that something you held all the way through. a seed. a lucky charm. love. guts. spinach. you name it. you know it. but in a hospital—that’s it. they’ve got you—(the docs and the nurses and the patients)—to talk to, fondle, slice, arrg. but I found me a little Mexican mop-up girl—all eyes and sadness, we had some laughs, corny stuff, I’d say, “Hey sweetie, you come to mop my white socks again?” “do they need it?” “oh yeah, once lightly!” and the little wench mopped my socks again! laughing. I always seem to meet these little Mexican girls working at dirty jobs, for nothing. beautifully real and easy. “If I could get out of this bed I’d chase you all around the room!” “why don’t you try it, you might catch me!” silly stuff, I guess. she’s 25 years younger than I am. old horny goat, Buk. but a lift. sure. she brought me a new pair of stockings when I left, threw them on my chest. “here! for your big stinky feet!” I didn’t have the guts to ask for her whereabouts when she wasn’t working.

Note: the Mexican mop-up girl he talks about is around 75 years old today—if she is still around somewhere.

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I wonder…

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Did she get the COVID jab?

Where does she live?

Does she remember Buk?

Does she have kids?

What is her go to ice cream flavor?

When was the last time she laughed and about what?

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speaking of favourites…

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I like to prowl ordinary places
and taste the people—
from a distance.
I don’t want them too near
because that’s when attrition
starts.
but in supermarkets
laundromats
cafes
street corners
bus stops
eating places
drug stores
I can look at their bodies
and their faces
and their clothing—
watch the way they walk
or stand
or what they are doing.
I’m like an x-ray machine
I like them like that:
on view.
I imagine the best things
about them.
I imagine them brave and crazy
I imagine them beautiful.

I like to prowl the ordinary places.
I feel sorry for us all or glad for us
all
caught alive together
and awkward in that way.

there’s nothing better than the joke
of us
the seriousness of us
the dullness of us
buying stockings and carrots and gum
and magazines
buying birth control
candy
hair spray
and toilet paper.

we should build a great bonfire
we should congratulate ourselves on our
endurance

we stand in long lines
we walk about
we wait.

I like to prowl ordinary places
the people explain themselves to me
and I to them

a woman at 3:35pm
weighing purple grapes on a scale
looking at that scale very
seriously
she is dressed in a simple green dress
with a pattern of white flowers
she takes the grapes
puts them carefully into a white paper
bag

that’s lightning enough

the generals and the doctors may kill us
but we have
won.

59 Cents a Pound

Adding Blue to Red Yields Magenta

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what’s more interesting than the polarization intensifying in the global culture right now is the fact that there seems to be two major types of humans—each with their strengths (virtues) and weaknesses (sins). while some of us lean more toward socialism others of us tend more toward individualism. apparently.

the problem with communism and socialism (as I see it) is that it is based on the dynamics of codependence: wherein the parties are at the mercy of those who become the dominant members of the group; and the problem with individualism is that it is based on the psychology of separation and distrust.

in codependence the parties can abuse each other to the extent they are reliant on one another. in independence the individual is left to their own limited devices and is exposed to the elements.

these are the psycho-energetic poles we are magnetized toward when operating from existential anxiety. we either seek solace in the crowd or in the illusion of control of a self-directed life.

. . .

polarity is not something to be resolved, though. polarity is a creative tension or force that drives development and growth.

in a way we were all waiting for the present stir of events. that’s why it’s here. and all that we can do is embrace for impact.

precisely what we are aching to do.

Attention Quarantined

You become what you agree to attend to.

And your freedom turns on it.

Literally.

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Effort of attention is … the essential phenomenon of will.

William James

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The way Social Media can in effect anti-socialize us and Smart technologies dumb us down is the way that our capacity for discerning attention is under great threat in the Black Hole Glut of the Attention (=Distraction) Economy.

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And it all happens when we have no distinct idea about who we actually are and what we actually stand for.

Absent clarity of intent and intuitive self-reliance we’re bound to forfeit our agency and to defer to what (ever) is being curated for us.

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Free will then is not exempt from causes and conditions but is rather the flexible coordination of attention, intention and emotion in skillful action. That’s what it means to be free from a psychological and phenomenological perspective.

Evan Thompson

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Which reminds me of a profound poem by A. R. Ammons—which arrested my attention the very first time I read it:

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ATTENTION

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Down by the bay I

kept in mind

at once

the tips of all the rushleaves

and so

came to know

balance’s cost and true:

somewhere though in the whole field

is the one

tip

I will someday lose out of mind

and fall through.

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The Candid Are a Little Wild

“Honesty’s on short supply and we subsist on mendacities in times of grave crises. We cannot afford such luxuries as truth or common sense in drastic times.”

Norman Spineles

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they are worse than zombies. they are holier than thouing their willfully blind way through the china shop of your conscience.

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The meek shall inherit the earth.

the hell,

all that the meek can accomplish is be weak

and thus a vehicle for evil.

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it’s only the little wild

who can

open their heart a little wide.

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I Meditates /tesserae

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read HERE

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1

there is clean air and green

undergrowth

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the sound of birds here and

there

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a fly buzzing by a couple of

cars in the

distance a tractor roaring

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the sun dancing in blobby

patches on my upper body

light breeze whispering

through leaves in the trees

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the shadow of leaves

on my yellow T minuscule

green bugs

on my arms bugs a-whirl

under the leafage

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a dog’s barking insects in

the grass

pigeon cooing

a plane droning overhead

in the sky—

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the texture feels balming

and silky—

like silk shirt rippling on

the fine dough of my body

in the early summer oven

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oh yeah!

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2

I am the son of the sun.

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3

when you sit down to meditate: ask yourself directly what you are expecting from doing it. where do you expect to arrive at. what psychological state are you in fact chasing. what are you actually after?

for me: it is basically a sense of feeling OK. a sense of being right there where I belong. a sense of being grounded in the given moment and place. among the people who matter to me and the people to whom I matter. where I feel satisfied with where and what and how I am. where everything’s in its place. where I feel integral to a whole.

or basically a sense of having a clear conscience. a sense of being responsible for myself and for my life. that I am not a burden on anyone. that I am not an imposition. on the contrary: that my presence adds something of value to the people and the world around me. that I am conducive to the well-being of the world around me. that my contribution matters. that my talents are relevant.

yes.

I expect to be relieved of the pressure of feeling guilty for who I am. I expect to be guilt- and shame-free. I expect to feel that my existence is of use and of value and that I am a PLUS rather than a MINUS (i.e. a useless hunk of mushy flesh—a waste of precious resources).

that’s basically what I expect to feel.

and then: I allow myself the feeling.

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4

nowadays the attitude of enjoying quietude is a rather neglected aptitude.

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5

each moment you can choose between opening up—or contracting around a trickle and shallow treat of yet another distraction.

the more you choose the latter: the less you’ll feel alive and well.

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6

the heavy flapping of pigeon wings wrinkles up the smooth fabric of quietude.

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7

the whimper of a lawn mower

a mile away

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a car’s door slamming shut

the engine revving up

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a neighbor sweeping their

backyard

a couple houses down the

street

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a black ant reconnoitering

on my left knee

green apple snug on

the wet sand in front of me

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a cockchafer riding the air

like chopper

the train at the edge of the

town passing by

in the direction of the capital

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8

when a sliver of a childhood feeling pierces me. the richness of it overwhelms me. to such an extent that it feels too much to take. without breaking down into sobbing. how simple it was. and how free of the mind. of the demands of the ego.

it was so pure and so simple.

so natural.

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9

the clouds morph into sky. the apple rots on the ground. there is coming and going. and a restless madness in between.

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10

what a cruel joke is this. we learn how to properly live only in retrospect. we realize what matters only after it’s gone. we find true joy in the finality of our sadness.

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11

being honest with yourself is difficult: precisely to the extent that you refrain from being bored—sitting in silence meditating on stuff by putting questions to yourself and inquiring—on a regular basis.

because the less you work out your honesty-muscle the more atrophied it gets.

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12

the sun’s sons we are.

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13

there’s church bell tolling and a

pig groaning

in a sty nearby (must be big from

the sound of it)

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and the sound of the pen on the

paper I am holding

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mosquito fixing to start drilling

near my ankle on my left leg

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there is constant stirring.

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stillness indeed is a shifty business.

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COVID tesserae

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1

some call it Corona. some say COVID-19. some use the formula SARS-CoV-2.

I personally prefer COVID 84. but COVID 22 sounds quite apt as well—IMO.

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2

the irony of being censored for sharing stuff that is supposedly harmful for impressionable minds—when all the censors are doing is propagating content that is appealing to the reactive part of our mind.

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3

THE TECH PLATFORMS HAVE LITTLE FINANCIAL MOTIVE FOR PRIORITIZING TRUTH OVER ENGAGEMENT.

David Fuller

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4

yet another exercise in distracting from the real pandemic unfolding: that of a technocracy with its so-called smart gadgets—which indeed are instrumental in the ‘social distancing’ trending since a couple of decades already.

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5

here’s one rule of thumb: the more blatantly they talk to you as if to a naïve child—admonishing from an opinionated and pontificating standpoint—the less you are to trust what they are saying.

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6

YOU ATTRACT WHAT YOU PUT UP WITH.

Adyashanti

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7

if you’re beaver enough to demand that we all wear a face mask then do not half-ass it when you are wearing it. you ain’t Pinocchio with too big of a nose to properly sport it. just wear it the way it is intended to be worn—dummy. exercise your cluelessness. advertise your hypocrisy.

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8

IF WE LED OUR LIVES ACCORDING TO THE WAYS INTENDED BY NATURE AND THE LESSONS TAUGHT BY HER, WE SHOULD BE INTUITIVELY OBEDIENT TO OUR PARENTS; LATER WE SHOULD ADOPT REASON AS OUR GUIDE AND BECOME SLAVES TO NOBODY.

Étienne de La Boétie

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9

the sheepish feel so embarrassed in the face of the skeptics that they feel compelled to find a way to shame them.

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10

as the war on communism demanded of the citizens to enlist in the service of democracy—as their patriotic duty—so does the War on COVID (WC) demand of the citizens that they get vaccinated?

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11

JUST EXPOSE AND ELIMINATE THOSE BAD GUYS. THAT IS THE PREVAILING HOLLYWOOD FORMULA FOR RIGHTING THE WORLD’S WRONGS: A HEROIC CHAMPION CONFRONTS AND DEFEATS THE BAD GUY, AND EVERYONE LIVES HAPPILY EVER AFTER. WHICH IS THE SAME BASIC FORMULA, INCIDENTALLY, AS BLAMING ILL HEALTH ON GERMS AND KILLING THEM WITH THE ARSENAL OF MEDICINE, SO THAT WE CAN LIVE SAFE HEALTHY LIVES EVER AFTER, OR KILLING THE TERRORISTS AND WALLING OUT THE IMMIGRANTS AND LOCKING UP THE CRIMINALS, ALL AGAIN SO THAT WE CAN LIVE SAFE HEALTHY LIVES EVER AFTER.

Charles Eisenstein

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12

it doesn’t matter how blatant a lie is when enough people are psychologically invested in it.

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13

the real problem is not the fact that the deadly pandemic story (or is it a paradigm?) is most dubious—but that for most people it is important that it be real (whether it is indeed true or not).

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because it gives us an excuse to have a break from our 9 to 5 nightmare of decent and respectable (i.e. spiritually abject and wretched) citizenship.

and we get a free pass to regress to an infantile state—that in all likelihood we have yet to develop and evolve beyond anyway.

as we get to be comfortably numb and irresponsible (vulnerable little infants in need of paternal protection) while performing the act of being responsible: by socially distancing and muzzling ourselves and as good as bleaching our hands with disinfectants like OCD maniacs.

in other words: the real problem is that many of us are actually invested in the narrative being true.

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14

THE DOCTORS ARE COMPROMISED. THE PROFESSORS ARE COMPROMISED. THE JOURNALISTS ARE COMPROMISED. THE POLITICIANS ARE COMPROMISED. ABOUT THE ONLY THING THAT ISN’T BADLY COMPROMISED ARE PEOPLE WITH AN INDEPENDENT SOURCE OF SUSTENANCE—INDIVIDUALS AND VERY SMALL GROUPS ARE ABOUT THE ONLY THING THAT IS FREE OF THIS DISEASE OF THE EMBEDDED GROWTH OBLIGATION.

Eric Weinstein

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15

STAY ALERT

otherwise what? what happens otherwise? I fail to detect the little beastie? sneaking up on me sorry ass? or I cease perchance to worry? and unwittingly give my immune.sys a break and a chance to properly replenish itself?

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CONTROL THE VIRUS

that invisible insidious menace. the boogey bug. the horde at the gates. and the best way to face the little bugger’s to hide from it and weaken myself further by over-sterilizing my environment and further degrading my immune system. sounds pretty sound a strategy indeed.

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SAVE LIVES

whose life? mine? (if mine: relax! and don’t bother mate! I am actually okay with you BEING FREE.) or is it gramp’s or grannie’s life? (apart from meeting the kids and the grandkids they don’t have much life anyway.) what lives are we supposed to save again? (in what twisted world is disengagement the way to healing?)

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how about ‘’KEEP COOL BUT CARE’’ instead.

or: ‘’KEEP IT BOUNCING.’’

doesn’t it make more sense to heed slogans like these?

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17

IT’S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, HERE AND NOW, TO START THINKING ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS — NOT TO LET OURSELVES BE TAKEN BY SURPRISE BY THE NEW ADVANCES OF TECHNOLOGY.[…] WE CAN FORESEE, AND WE CAN DO A GREAT DEAL TO FORESTALL. AFTER ALL, THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE.

Aldous Huxley

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18

fkn shop assistant sent me out of the supermarket with a half-full shopping cart because I was wearing a scarf instead of a mask. he ordered me to leave at once.

I asked him if the scarf was not okay and how come and then if he could sell me a mask. he answered me by insisting that I left the premises. immediately and at once. pushing as he spoke with a rabid dour scowl the cart away from me.

and I smiled it off and told the guy to cool it and just keep it cool. and slowly I wended my way toward the exit.

bitch was baiting a scene from the get though. approached with a vengeance already angry.

I knew the guy was only following orders (and enjoying it). which was pathetic at best. but his autocue antagonism still hurt me somewhat.

what a pointless interaction. what a waste of emotional energy. but at least it got me thinking.

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19

MUST THE CITIZEN EVER FOR A MOMENT, OR IN THE LEAST DEGREE, RESIGN HIS CONSCIENCE TO THE LEGISLATION? WHY HAS EVERY MAN A CONSCIENCE, THEN? I THINK THAT WE SHOULD BE MEN FIRST, AND SUBJECTS AFTERWARD. IT IS NOT DESIRABLE TO CULTIVATE A RESPECT FOR THE LAW, SO MUCH AS FOR THE RIGHT. THE ONLY OBLIGATION WHICH I HAVE A RIGHT TO ASSUME IS TO DO AT ANY TIME WHAT I THINK RIGHT.

Henry David Thoreau

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20

to wear it or not to wear it. that is the question. to obey authority or to defy authoritarianism.

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this mask phenomenon’s indeed way beyond a health and safety issue or an ethical question. it’s more like an existential dilemma in fact.

do you continue to place your trust in the leaders or do you start deferring at last to your deeper instincts and intuitions?

the answer is not that simple.

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on the one hand it does seem advisable to wear it—even if only as a ‘gesture’ toward society. on the other though—when that society is trending toward a decentralized form of despotism and a subliminal type tyranny—it is as good as imperative that you refuse to wear it—as an assertion of spiritual integrity and self-reliance.

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but then: who the hell can afford that?

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21

IT’S NOT A HEALTH CRISIS. IT’S A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS.

YouTube comment

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Thoreau on the Lockdown

to obey or not to obey. that is the question.

for one: take Henry David Thoreau’s definitive take on the issue:

THEY ONLY CAN FORCE ME WHO OBEY A HIGHER LAW THAN I.

now there’s a great sentence. there’s a great sentiment.

truly. one needs not say more.

authorities mandating masks and social distancing and all sorts of lockdown measures (god forbid: vaccination)—based on spurious statistics and fear-mongering sensationalist narratives—all but activate the dormant gene of civil disobedience in anyone with a functioning conscience.

why?

because them solemn sullen suited goons’re more opportunistic than caring. because they prioritize ‘insurance’ over ‘faith.’ because their law’s ultimately avoiding conflict (besides conflicts of interest) rather than seeking the truth.

but like I said: one needs not say more.

THERE ARE NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE PATRONS OF VIRTUE TO ONE VIRTUOUS MAN.

literally.

Why

so here I am and I am here and I say yes:

I allow what is and I roll with what gives,

I say yes because I am here and I say yes,

not because I want to change the world,

or to change the people of the world, no

I say yes because I’m here and life is yes,

life is yes and so I say yes: simple as that,

I take what life gives and I give what life

takes, yes: I say yes because even if it is

a goddamn mess, in the end, life is a yes

 

Buk’s Finest Lines

One of the most touching and inspiring figures of the 20th century is a writer who is considered to be and indeed is popular for being one of the rawest and most apathetic writers of the 20th century.

Even today, still too few and not too many truly appreciate the sensitivity and delicate sensibility that he actually possessed and embodied and expressed. But this is just the way it is and has always been: the more honest and transparent a person gets, inevitably: the more others will relate to this person as they relate to life in general—which is to say: the more they’ll project their own confusions and petty frustrations onto this person.

We still have difficulty with ‘’gambling‘’ (i.e. taking chances) and contending with the truthful and the real. No wonder ‘’everybody is always angry about the truth / even though they claim to / believe in it.’’

At any rate: here are a few of the finest lines by Charles Bukowski I’ve encountered so far. In fact, I’ve put together a little collection that you can download >>here<< if you are interested in more.

and down in the water / the fish cry / and all the water / is their tears.

Christ should have laughed on the cross, / it would have petrified his killers

we must bring / our own light / to the / darkness.

the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them

the bite of reality doesn’t kill, / it only clears the mind.

We need knock nothing down. It’s time we begin picking up. saving what is left. what is worth saving.

nothing’s equal […] the balance is in the differences

if you are telling the truth it’s done without preaching

Everybody thinking that they alone know the angle. Dumb lost egos. I’m one of those.

this is the price we now pay: we can’t go / back, we can’t go forward and we hang helpless, nailed to a / world / of our own / making.

my love grows sadder, my life grows realer.

how we said / no, no, no, no, / to the most beautiful / YES / ever uttered: // life / itself.

The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.

each evening bent like the point of a thumb tack / that will no longer stick / in / each kiss a hope of returning to the first kiss / each fuck the same / each person nailed against diminishing / returns / we are slaves to hopes that have run to / garbage / as old age / arrives on schedule.

I don’t know why people think effort and energy / have anything to do with / creation.

look Mike, no man is / invincible / someday / you’ll be sent mad by / eyes like a child’s crayon / drawing.

she speaks of love / then breaks each man / to her will / shark-mouthed / grubby interior / we see it too late: / after the cock gets swallowed / the heart follows

Everybody imagined themselves special, privileged, exempt.

take a writer away from his typewriter / and all you have left / is / the sickness / which started him / typing / in the / beginning.

every person, I suppose, has / their eccentricities / but in an effort to be / normal / in the world’s / eye / they overcome them / and therefore / destroy their / special calling.

it / takes / a lot of // desperation // dissatisfaction // and disillusion // to / write //a / few / good / poems.

and the years move slow and the years / move fast and the years move / past.

you were / nature’s / idiot, / not proving but / being / proved. / not a man but a / plan / unfolding, / not thrusting but / being / pierced.

they become unalive / because they are unable to / pause / undo themselves / unkink / unsee / unlearn / roll clear.

People waited all their lives. They waited to live, they waited to die. They waited in line to buy toilet paper. They waited in line for money. And if they didn’t have any money they waited in longer lines. You waited to go to sleep and then you waited to awaken. You waited to get married and you waited to get divorced. Your waited for it to rain, you waited for it to stop. You waited to eat and then you waited to eat again.

People who solved things usually had lots of persistence and some good luck. If you persisted long enough, the good luck usually came. Most people couldn’t wait on the luck, though, so they quit.

When love burns to the ground do not be ashamed of your grief, or even your madness or bitterness.

When you go up fast, you usually come down that way.

only time poetry gets any good is when it forgets its holiness.

there is nothing to declare here, / just a waiting. / each faces it alone.

we are destroyed by expecting / more than there is

for want of something to do / we keep slaying our small dragons / as the big one waits.

lay down and wait until it charges then you / must get / up / face it get / it before it gets / you

Any time you pay somebody to tell you what to do you are going to be a loser. And this includes your psychiatrist, your psychologist, your broker, your workshop teacher and your etc. There is nothing that teaches your more than regrouping after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with the family, runs through school and goes into the business world.

We move toward the mirage, our lives wasted like everybody else’s.

There are thousands of traps in life and most of us fall into many of them. The idea though, is to stay out of as many of them as possible. Doing so helps you remain as alive as you might until you die.

Most of them speak what they have been taught, not what they have learned. And what they lack most are two things: gamble and humor.

You have to know when to duck and when to swing and how to say ’’no.’’

If I’ve learned anything through the years it’s that people don’t change very much.

Even if you feel like it, even if you mean it, when you get into moralizing you are begging off. Always stay beyond good and evil, just photograph the action and leave the reader on his own.

Leaving this will not be a horrible thing. Yet I’m glad, somehow, that I threw my few words into the air: confetti, celebrating nothing.

They have no idea where it comes from. It comes from pain, damnation and impossibility. The blow to the soul of the gut. It comes from getting burned and seared and slugged. It comes from being too alive in the middle of death.

Life keeps nipping you at the balls to let you know where it’s at. It’s painful but it might be worth it. The whole scheme operates on a system of balances. Too much pain and travail can take you out too. The gods give those they favor the proper dosages.

It’s better to fail your way than to succeed their way.

It’s day by day with me and all I want to do is play it loose and free.

I always figure if a writer is bored with his work / the reader is going to be / bored too. // and I don’t believe in / perfection, I believe in keeping the / bowels loose

to endure is only / meaningful / if you come out / with / something / at the other / end. / but to endure / simply in order to / endure / is the unfortunate / plight / of millions.

seagulls / are mad angels / trying to tell us something.

don’t feel sorry for me. / I am a competent, / satisfied human being. // be sorry for the others / who / fidget / complain // who / constantly / rearrange their / lives / like / furniture. // juggling mates / and / attitudes // their / confusion is / constant // and it will / touch / whoever they / deal with. // beware of them: / one of their / key words is / ’’love.’’ // and beware those who / only take / instructions from their / God // for they have / failed completely to / live their own / lives.

magic persists with / or without us / no matter how / we may try to / destroy it

I never stop women when they / want to / leave. / I figure if they are dumb enough / to leave me / they don’t deserve / me.

the most terrible thing about life / is finding it gone.

Those constipated minds that seek / larger meaning / will be dispatched with the other / garbage. / back off. / if there is light / it will find / you.