Monday, October 10, 2005

When To Stop Making Excuses

I bought The Last Night of the Earth Poems by beat poet Charles Bukowski because the following poem jumped out from between the pages and bit me. As it should do you, if you always put off your writing because circumstances are not quite right. Pin this one up by your writing desk.

air and light and time and space

"–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to

no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.

baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses

© Charles Bukowski, Black Sparrow Press


Chet said...

I'm sure you'll be posting this on The 2005 Malaysian NaNoWriMo. Another place you should consider posting this is on the Malaysia Lounge at the NaNoWriMo forums, as not every Malaysian participant there knows about the blog yet.

XMOCHA! said...

Hi Sharon

I remembered hearing a Charles Bukowski CD reading of his poems in a friend's car some years back.. it was purchased at Kinokuniya here.

Very powerful.


Anonymous said...

Yes.. if you're going to create, you're going to create, and nothing is going to stop you -- wild horses wouldn't be able to drag you away. But if you have to force yourself, then there's something wrong somewhere. Which brings me back to Nano.. but I repeat myself. :)

saras said...

OK, that's it. Charles Bukowski is going right to the top of my 'People to hate' list - when I finally get around to creating it.
I mean he's right, sure - underneath the pile upon pile of all my (our)whining, complaining and self-excusing procrastination, we know he's absolutely right but does he have to be so smug and preachy about it? Wail, gnash, rent, weep.

starlight said...

Thank you Sharon. I've already pinned it on my notice board. Will look at it each time I start my mental whining about how I would be writing SO much better if I was ______ or if I had ________.

Idlan said...

and there's another one of my excuses down the proverbial drain..

annyss said...


Thanks for linking my blog here. FYI, I also maintain an English blog -

Nisah Haron

mohd narcissus said...

my fav poet. try to read him alternately with rumi... hmmm yummy

Hari said...

have printed it out; stuck on the wall; will memorise and repeat like a mantra!

Has said...

Very good to read the poem especially when I have sent my first effort, even though it was non-creative, to a publisher, albeit one known as “speed print”. Its like unloading a great burden off my shoulder. Scholarly it carries just one miserable point for promotion, but emotionally it is simply rejuvenating. Charles Bukowski’s poem will nudge me further…maybe bolder.