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The Sun Wields Mercy

Charles Bukowski 1920 (Andernach) – 1994 (San Pedro)

and the sun wields mercy
but like a jet torch carried to high,
and the jets whip across its sight
and rockets leap like toads,
and the boys get out the maps
and pin-cushion the moon,
old green cheese,
no life there but too much on earth:
our unwashed India boys
crossing their legs,playing pipes,
starving with sucked in bellies,
watching the snakes volute
like beautiful women in the hungry air;
the rockets leap,
the rockets leap like hares,
clearing clump and dog
replacing out-dated bullets;
the Chinese still carve
in jade, quietly stuffing rice
into their hunger, a hunger
a thousand years old,
their muddy rivers moving with fire
and song, barges, houseboats
pushed by drifting poles
of waiting without wanting;
in Turkey they face the East
on their carpets
praying to a purple god
who smokes and laughs
and sticks fingers in their eyes
blinding them, as gods will do;
but the rockets are ready: peace is no longer,
for some reason,precious;
madness drifts like lily pads
on a pond circling senselessly;
the painters paint dipping
their reds and greens and yellows,
poets rhyme their loneliness,
musicians starve as always
and the novelists miss the mark,
but not the pelican , the gull;
pelicans dip and dive, rise,
shaking shocked half-dead
radioactive fish from their beaks;
indeed, indeed, the waters wash
the rocks with slime; and on wall st.
the market staggers like a lost drunk
looking for his key; ah,
this will be a good one,by God:
it will take us back to the
sabre-teeth, the winged monkey
scrabbling in pits over bits
of helmet, instrument and glass;
a lightning crashes across
the window and in a million rooms
lovers lie entwined and lost
and sick as peace;
the sky still breaks red and orange for the
painters-and for the lovers,
flowers open as they always have
opened but covered with thin dust
of rocket fuel and mushrooms,
poison mushrooms; it's a bad time,
a dog-sick time-curtain
act 3, standing room only,
SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT again,
by God,by somebody and something,
by rockets and generals and
leaders, by poets , doctors, comedians,
by manufacturers of soup
and biscuits, Janus-faced hucksters
of their own indexterity;
I can now see now the coal-slick
contaminated fields, a snail or 2,
bile, obsidian, a fish or 3
in the shallows, an obloquy of our
source and our sight...
has this happened before? is history
a circle that catches itself by the tail,
a dream, a nightmare,
a general's dream, a president's dream,
a dictator's dream...
can't we awaken?
or are the forces of life greater than we are?
can't we awaken? must we forever,
dear friends, die in our sleep?
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Submitted by Robert_Haigh on August 18, 2020

Modified by Robert_Haigh

2:18 min read
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Charles Bukowski

Henry Charles Bukowski August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and beautiful economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.[4] His work addresses the ordinary lives of rich Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. more…

All Charles Bukowski poems | Charles Bukowski Books

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