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This poem reminds me of our struggle with the religious ones.


Cynus

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There is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

-Charles Bukowski

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  • 2 weeks later...

While I have a deep distrust of most conventional religion, I've always thought that the point of Bukowski's work is that the only trustworthy person is Bukowski. He thought that no one who criticized him understood art. That, and I've always thought he was a straight Ginsberg wannabe. If average men and women have average love and genius hatred, I'm screwed, and so are the people I love and detest.

I'm glad, though, to see Cynus bringing even Bukowski here. Just because you don't like someone's work is no reason to avoid it, and even a blind hog (Bukowski) occasionally roots up a truffle.

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I can see where you're coming from on Bukowski, and you're probably right about his character, but I owe a few debts to the man. Some of the thoughts I've gained from him have taken my life in directions I never thought possible, and I have been better off because of it.

One of the greatest truths I have come across in this life is that everyone you will ever meet has something that they can teach you that you don't know, whether they be a friend or not.

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If your encounters with an author's works are helpful, that's enough. Having never known Bukowski, I can't criticize the way he lived his life, and all I am left with is the way he expressed himself, in this case, in verse. If, in the quotation in your signature block, he had said, "I am terrorized and flattened by trivialities, I am eaten up by nothing," I would have found the statement more sympathetic. I can't argue with the sense of the first or second sentence.

If my complaint was stroked with too broad a brush, I cheerfully retract it, although I'm not sure who he means by "the average human being" in the poem. Thanks, again, for sharing the work and what it means to you.

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