A Poem By Charles Bukowski That Seems Apt This Night

bukowski

The Genius of the Crowd by Charles Bukowski

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

An Anti-Zionist Poem By An Austrian Jew

In lieu of original content (which I’m sure I will concoct sometime soon) I offer a poem I stumbled across looking for other things. Erich Fried was an Austrian Jew, a poet, writer and translator, who was vehemently anti-Zionist. In 1988, the last year of his life, he wrote this:

A Jew to Zionist Fighters

What do you actually want?
Do you really want to outdo
those who trod you down
a generation ago
into your own blood
and into your own excrement
Do you want to pass on the old torture
to others now
in all its bloody and dirty detail
with all the brutal delight of torturers
as suffered by your fathers?

Do you really want to be the new Gestapo
the new Wehrmacht
the new SA and SS
and turn the Palestinians
into the new Jews?

Well then I too want,
having fifty years ago
myself been tormented for being a Jewboy
by your tormentors,
to be a new Jew with these new Jews
you are making of the Palestinians

And I want to help lead them as a free people
into their own land of Palestine
from whence you have driven them or in which you plague them
you apprentices of the Swastika
you fools and changelings of history
whose Star of David on your flags
turns ever quicker
into that damned symbol with its four feet
that you just do not want to see
but whose path you are following today.

In the wake of finding that I also had a serendipitous encounter with another anti-Zionist poem posted by LiveJournal’s duathir, Felicity Currie’s Once more unto the breach…

To Those Who Would Cast Down the New Colossus

The Statue of Liberty as seen in the film Oblivion

The future of the Statue of Liberty as seen in the film Oblivion, or a metaphor for the present…

This is about Murrieta, and all the Murrietas past and future.

I’m greatly bothered by the possibility that posting the most famous poem Emma Lazarus ever wrote will seem merely trite to some, and worth ignoring by others. If you are an American and these words are not imprinted on your heart—if you can easily put aside the promise our nation has offered to the world; if you cling so dearly to “security” that you would deny children an escape from a hell of our own creation; if you would strip people of humanity, declaring them disease-ridden, criminal, lesser for being born in a land distant from your own, or even the nation next door—then I must question whether you have a heart.

The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, 1883

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I also wish it known that if anyone invokes Constantine Cavafy’s Thermopylae in honor of those demonstrating against the immigrants, I will become inexpressibly angry.

Where There Is No Path

wildflowers

Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers by Muriel Strode

I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.

Infinitely will I trust nature’s instincts and promptings, but I will not call my own perversions nature.

Each receives but that which is his own returning.
Each hears but that which is the echo of his own call.
Each feels but that which has eaten into his own heart.

I do not bemoan misfortune. To me there is no misfortune. I welcome whatever comes; I go out gladly to meet it.

It is no stigma to wear rags; the disgrace is in continuing to wear them.

Say not that this or that thing came to thwart you; it only came to test you.

There is hope for that genius who must overcome poverty, but there is almost none for that one who must overcome wealth.

The Aeolian must be in your breast, else the winds are in vain.

A great work demands a great sacrifice, and who is not capable of a great sacrifice is not capable of great work.

The earth shall yet surrender to him, and the fates shall do his will, who marches on, though the promised land proved to be but a mirage and the day of deliverance was cancelled. The gods shall yet anoint him, and the morning stars shall sing.

Not alone for that which is mine will I rejoice, but for that which has been withheld, which was coveted and longed for but denied, for I am what I am for having had to rise superior to the need.

His to rejoice with exceeding great joy who plucks the fruit of his planting, but his the divine anointing who watched and waited and toiled and prayed,—and failed,—and can yet be glad.

I would travel in all climes that I might return and tell you of the beauty of my own little garden plot.
I would explore heaven and hell that I might come back and tell you what a charming place is the earth.

Wishing will bring things in the degree that it incites you to go after them.

If the populace marched in file, ’twere my signal to break from the ranks.
If a thousand generations did thus and so, ’twere my cue to do otherwise.

I longed to build as you had builded, but I knew that your joy lay in the conception of your own design.
I longed to follow where your feet had trod, but I had watched your exhilaration as you felled a new way.
I longed to do that thing you did and be that thing you are, but I knew life’s fulness was yours because you were yourself.

Let my grave be unmarked; I fear not to be forgotten.

Better than tiaras—the diadem of freedom.
Better than broad acres—a garden of heartsease.
Better than mines of gold—a mint of dreams.
Better than bars of molten silver—the silver of a laugh.
Better than strings of pearls—the crystal of a tear.
Better than bands of choristers—a lute in the soul.

I am life’s mystery,—and I alone am its solution.
I am the dreamer of dreams,—and I am dreams come true.
I am the supplicant,—and I am the god that answers prayers.


Originally published in The Open Court, Vol XVII (No. 8), August, 1903