Buk

I’m on a bit of a roll with posting favourite poems…. Charles Bukowski gets a lot of stick, mainly for his habit of publishing far too many collections so his gems were often lost in a sea of mediocrity. Selected Works is the way to go with him. The other week I was inspired to dig out  For Jane: With All The Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough on my ‘phone for a friend as it remains one of (in my opinion) the best poems about grief ever written.

But here I am going to post up a better known poem (if you read American poetry). It is one close to my heart that I once scrawled in chalk in foot high letters in Sheaf Square, Sheffield outside the train station at 2 a.m. when quite drunk and having a bad day.

 

Bluebird

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
you.
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
he’s
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
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
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 singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?

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