Let It Enfold You by Charles Bukowski

either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.

I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious 
upbringing.

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
sun.

I trusted no man and
especially no 
woman.

I was living a hell in,
small rooms, I broke 
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.

I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and 
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.

women were something
to screw and rail 
at, I had no male
friends.

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbage men,
english accents, spain,
france, ital, walnuts and
the color
orange.

algebra angered me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a 
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.

peace and happiness to me
were signs of 
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
an
addled
mind.

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of women - it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn't different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
grievances,
the men I fought in 
alleys had hearts of stone.

everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant 
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was 
empty,
darkness was the
dictator.

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.

I found moments of 
peace in cheap 
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain 
in the dark.

the less I needed
the better I
felt.

maybe the other life had worn me
down.

I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.

or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.

I could never accept
life as it was,
I could never gobble 
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the 
asking.

I re formulated
I don't know when,
date, time, all
that
but the change
occurred.

something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.

I no longer had to 
prove that I was a 
man,

I didn't have to prove
anything.

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a 
cafe.

or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.

or the way the moose
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.

then - it was
gone.

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty 
of those.

like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have 
to fire me.

I've missed too many
days.

he is dressed in a 
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, 'I am going
to have to let you go.'

'it's alright' I tell
him.

He must do, what he 
must do, he has a wife,
a house, children.

expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk into the blazing
sunshine.

the whole day is 
mine
temporarily,
anyhow.

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
despondent,
disillusioned.)

I welcome shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, breasts,
singing, the
works.

(don't get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for 
the sake of
itself -
this is a shield and a 
sickness.)

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I didn't fight them off
like an ally
adversary.

I let them take me,
I luxuriated them,
I bade them welcome
home.

I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and 
ragged,
scars, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of a babies 
butt.

and finally I discovered 
real feelings for 
others,
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
I saw my wife in bed,
just the shape of
her head there
(not forgetting 
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning
the toteboard waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the 
covers.

I kissed her on the
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
driveway.

feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my 
foot on the gas 
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more
drove down the hill
past the houses
full and empty
of
people,
I saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back 
at me.














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