“Wasted” by Charles Bukowski

too often the people complain that they have
done nothing with their
and then they wait for somebody to tell them
that this isn’t so.
look, you’ve done this and that and you’ve
done that and that’s
you really think so?
of course.

but they had it right.
they’ve done nothing.
shown no courage.
no inventiveness.
they did what they were taught to
they did what they were told to
they had no resistance, no thoughts
of their own.
they were pushed and shoved
and went obediently.
they had no heart.
they were cowardly.
they stank in life.
they stank up life.

and now they want to be told that
they didn’t fail.
you’ve met them.
they’re everywhere.
the spiritless.
the dead-before-death gang.

be kind?
lie to them?
tell them what they want to hear?
tell them anything they want to hear?

people with courage made them what they

and if they ask me, I’ll tell them what they
don’t want to hear.

it’s better you
keep them away from me, or
they’ll tell you I’m a cruel man.

it’s better that they confer
with you.

I want to be free of

– Charles Bukowski from What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire 

5 thoughts on ““Wasted” by Charles Bukowski

  1. Brian Dean Powers

    It’s odd how he breaks his lines. It’s as if he wants to confound the reader’s expectations rather than convey meaning.


    1. Odd is a good word for Bukowski. 😉

      I think in most of his pieces–if not all–he didn’t give a damn about form or line breaks or punctuation. I’m sure he took great pleasure in confounding as many people as he could. There’s a piece…something like “Bukowski writes a Christmas letter to a man in jail”…that I have scheduled for early December. In it he kind of laughs at his critics and purists. Be on the lookout for it 🙂 Good to see you again! -c

      Liked by 2 people

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