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Charles Bukowski: 6 hopeful poems to read on his 103rd birthday

The works of Charles Bukowski brims with reality and he stood beside himself and his thoughts firmly. The bohemian approach to writing and relentless effort to unhide his personality is what his poems are.  by Leona Merlin Antony              

Charles Bukowski: 6 hopeful poems to read on his 103rd birthday LMA
First Published Aug 16, 2023, 11:56 AM IST

Charles Bukowski was an American poet and novelist. He was born in Germany and had a dysfunctional childhood. This became the main focus theme in his poetry - the ballads of a troubled psyche. "Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail” was the first poem collection published by Bukowski in 1959. As a friend told, taking some time from our day without being guilty for it is the most you can achieve.  “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can”, said Charles Bukowski and on his birthday, take some time to dive into the beauty of his poetry.

1. “Let it Enfold You” 

This poem is perfect for the times when you feel you are falling short of time. Bukowski explains how he started letting go. He started noticing small things, which demand your attention and began to feel happy again, even in the worst situations. The poem was featured in “The Beautiful Boy” starring Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrel. 


2. “Bluebird” 

We all have bluebirds who want to get out occasionally. But no one has explained the reality of letting it live inside you in such simple words. The manipulative gaze we have towards the hardships of our life has never been easier. Read the poem and savour the connection you feel with Bukowski’s poetry. 


3. “The Genius of the Crowd” 

The poem is specific about the double standards people harbour. But while looking from a different angle, it tells us the answer of ‘why’ people might be doing it. Bukowski never writes about ‘them’, the implied understanding is that he is indeed talking about ‘you’ and ‘me’. 


4. “Go All the Way”

We fear to go all the way for something. The worse thing we can do is beat ourselves up for it. Being insecure is part of the journey but overcoming it is also essential. Bukowski’s answer to our failures is that we never try our best. Especially, in this generation we live in, we do everything with a half-heart. Let this poem give you an insight.


5. “So Now”

A strong thought of how we all are waiting to live. Waiting for the breakthrough, the extraordinary; while the reality is that it never happens. Sometimes we just freeze. We freeze and then we see life happening around us without us being in it. Bukowski narrates that it is a collective feeling - how it feels to be numb when there is still life inside you. 


6. “The Crunch”

The heaving reality of ourselves and the people around us. The poem tells how people treat each other. No one is kind since the belief is that hatred is strength. We harm lives for our simple interests and jealousies. It tells us that no matter how much we try to align ourselves with the standards of the world, we will always be a little too much or too little. 



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