WATCH: Four Stunning Animated Charles Bukowski Poems

Image source: /www.comicartfans.com

These have been available for a while and you may have already watched some of them, but anything involving the poems of Charles Bukowski is worth taking the time out of your day to appreciate once again.

Featuring different styles and themes, these simple and some would say suitably crude animations paint a better picture than any big screen adaptation ever could of Bukowksi’s talent. The poet is known for his hard-hitting, unforgiving prose and that’s exactly what we get with the four poems below. My personal favourite has to be “The Laughing Heart” due to its haunting piano and rousing speech that would make Charlie Chaplin shed a tear.

The Man with the Beautiful Eyes

when we were kids
there was a strange house
all the shades were
always
drawn
and we never heard voices
in there
and the yard was full of
bamboo
and we liked to play in
the bamboo
pretend we were
Tarzan
(although there was no
Jane).
and there was a
fish pond
a large one
full of the
fattest goldfish
you ever saw
and they were
tame.
they came to the
surface of the water
and took pieces of
bread
from our hands.
Our parents had
told us:
“never go near that
house.”
so, of course,
we went.
we wondered if anybody
lived there.
weeks went by and we
never saw
anybody.
then one day
we heard
a voice
from the house
“YOU GOD DAMNED
WHORE!”
it was a man’s
voice.
then the screen
door
of the house was
flung open
and the man
walked
out.
he was holding a
fifth of whiskey
in his right
hand.
he was about
30.
he had a cigar
in his
mouth,
needed a shave.
his hair was
wild and
and uncombed
and he was
barefoot
in undershirt
and pants.
but his eyes
were
bright.
they blazed
with
brightness
and he said,
“hey, little
gentlemen,
having a good
time, I
hope?”
then he gave a
little laugh
and walked
back into the
house.
we left,
went back to my
parents’ yard
and thought
about it.
our parents,
we decided,
had wanted us
to stay away
from there
because they
never wanted us
to see a man
like
that,
a strong natural
man
with
beautiful
eyes.
our parents
were ashamed
that they were
not
like that
man,
that’s why they
wanted us
to stay
away.
but
we went back
to that house
and the bamboo
and the tame
goldfish.
we went back
many times
for many weeks
but we never
saw
or heard
the man
again.
the shades were
down
as always
and it was
quiet.
then one day
as we came back from
school
we saw the
house.
it had burned
down,
there was nothing
left,
just a smouldering
twisted black
foundation
and we went to
the fish pond
and there was
no water
in it
and the fat
orange goldfish
were dead
there,
drying out.
we went back to
my parents’ yard
and talked about
it
and decided that
our parents had
burned their
house down,
had killed
them
had killed the
goldfish
because it was
all too
beautiful,
even the bamboo
forest had
burned.
they had been
afraid of
the man with the
beautiful
eyes.
and
we were afraid
then
that
all throughout our lives
things like that
would
happen,
that nobody
wanted
anybody
to be
strong and
beautiful
like that,
that
others would never
allow it,
and that
many people
would have to
die.

 

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?

 

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is 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.

 

Roll the Dice

if you’re going to try, go all the
way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the
way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
fire.

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

h/t: OpenCulture

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