Nobody But You

Poetry can be inaccessible, vague, or outright mystifying. Beat poetry (unlike most other Beat writing) usually isn’t. Charles Bukowski stands out as one of the clearest, most evocative Beat writers of all time. Below is one of his best, in my humble opinion, enriched further by the voice of Tom Waits.

If you want more Bukowski, read on. My all-time favorite poem, nobody but you, lies ahead.

nobody can save you but
yourself.
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible
situations.
they will attempt again and again
through subterfuge, guise and
force
to make you submit, quit and /or die quietly
inside.

nobody can save you but
yourself
and it will be easy enough to fail
so very easily
but don’t, don’t, don’t.
just watch them.
listen to them.
do you want to be like that?
a faceless, mindless, heartless
being?
do you want to experience
death before death?

nobody can save you but
yourself
and you’re worth saving.
it’s a war not easily won
but if anything is worth winning then
this is it.

think about it.
think about saving your self.
your spiritual self.
your gut self.
your singing magical self and
your beautiful self.
save it.
don’t join the dead-in-spirit.

maintain your self
with humor and grace
and finally
if necessary
wager your self as you struggle,
damn the odds, damn
the price.

only you can save your
self.

do it! do it!

then you’ll know exactly what
I am talking about.

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About literatelibran

Writer of words, thinker of thoughts, dreamer of dreams, mom. View all posts by literatelibran

4 responses to “Nobody But You

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