These are a few of my favorite things: #21 (About my very tortured friend Peter by Charles Bukowski)

About my very tortured friend Peter by Charles Bukowski

Drawing of writer Charles Bukowski

he lives in a house with a swimming pool 
and says the job is 
killing him. 
he is 27. I am 44. I can’t seem to 
get rid of 
him. his novels keep coming 
back. “what do you expect me to do?” he screams 
“go to New York and pump the hands of the 
publishers?” 
“no,” I tell him, “but quit your job, go into a 
small room and do the 
thing.” 
“but I need ASSURANCE, I need something to 
go by, some word, some sign!” 
“some men did not think that way: 
Van Gogh, Wagner—” 
“oh hell, Van Gogh had a brother who gave him 
paints whenever he 
needed them!” 

“look,” he said, “I’m over at this broad’s house today and 
this guy walks in. a salesman. you know 
how they talk. drove up in this new 
car. talked about his vacation. said he went to 
Frisco—saw Fidelio up there but forgot who 
wrote it. now this guy is 54 years 
old. so I told him: ‘Fidelio is Beethoven’s only 
opera.’ and then I told 
him: ‘you’re a jerk!’ ‘whatcha mean?’ he 
asked. ‘I mean, you’re a jerk, you’re 54 years old and 
you don’t know anything!’” 

“what happened 
then?” 
“I walked out.” 
“you mean you left him there with 
her?” 
“yes.” 

“I can’t quit my job,” he said. “I always have trouble getting a 
job. I walk in, they look at me, listen to me talk and 
they think right away, ah ha! he’s too intelligent for 
this job, he won’t stay 
so there’s really no sense in hiring 
him. 
now, YOU walk into a place and you don’t have any trouble: 
you look like an old wino, you look like a guy who needs a 
job and they look at you and they think: 
ah ha!: now here’s a guy who really needs work! if we hire 
him he’ll stay a long time and work 
HARD!” 

“do any of those people,” he asks “know you are a 
writer, that you write poetry?” 
“no.” 
“you never talk about 
it. not even to 
me! if I hadn’t seen you in that magazine I’d 
have never known.” 
“that’s right.” 
“still, I’d like to tell these people that you are a 
writer.” 
“I’d still like to 
tell them.” 
“why?” 
“well, they talk about you. they think you are just a 
horseplayer and a drunk.” 
“I am both of those.” 
“well, they talk about you. you have odd ways. you travel alone. 
I’m the only friend you 
have.” 
“yes.” 
“they talk you down. I’d like to defend you. I’d like to tell 
them you write 
poetry.” 
“leave it alone. I work here like they 
do. we’re all the same.” 
“well, I’d like to do it for myself then. I want them to know why 
I travel with 
you. I speak 7 languages, I know my music—” 
“forget it.” 
“all right, I’ll respect your 
wishes. but there’s something else—” 
“what?” 
“I’ve been thinking about getting a 
piano. but then I’ve been thinking about getting a 
violin too but I can’t make up my 
mind!” 
“buy a piano.” 
“you think 
so?” 
“yes.” 

he walks away 
thinking about 
it. 

I was thinking about it 
too: I figure he can always come over with his 
violin and more 
sad music.

The poetry is a conversation between two friends, the poet & a young man who seems to be stuck in the ‘Rat Race’ n consumerism (He lives in a home with a swimming pool). The poet lives his life the way he wants (he writes poetry but doesn’t want to publicize his passion for the praise of others, he does it for the joy it brings him) n the other guy also wants to do the same, he means to do the same but he can’t get un-stuck. He somehow keeps justifying his choices. Now this is very, very interesting, people who live their life according to the pre-made script of the society always have their reasons to remain stuck in their misery. They keep cracking Monday morning jokes but can’t break away from work-consumerism-impressing others-more work-more misery cycle.  The friend though seeking advice from the narrator to quit his work doesn’t miss the chance to brag about his supposed superiority. He is definitely self deluded …no wonder he’s confused  & can’t find the courage to do what he really wants. If we look around us, the majiority of the masses are tortured like our tortured friend Peter. The last lines are so powerful, they give me goosebumps, even if our friend Peter gets a violin/piano as he has been planning for a long long time, he’ll only play sad music on it. Joy is not possible till he is stuck in his current mindset.

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February 20, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Poetry, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings. 2 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things: #17 (Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson)

Richard Cory

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked; 
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; 
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Cory (Simon & Garfunkel)

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town, 
With political connections to spread his wealth around. 
Born into society, a banker’s only child, 
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style. 

But I work in his factory 
And I curse the life I’m living 
And I curse my poverty 
And I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be 
Richard Cory. 

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes: 
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show. 
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht! 
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he’s got. 

But I work in his factory 
And I curse the life I’m living 
And I curse my poverty 
And I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be 
Richard Cory. 

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch, 
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much, 
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read: 
“Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head.” 

But I work in his factory 
And I curse the life I’m living 
And I curse my poverty 
And I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be, 
Oh, I wish that I could be 
Richard Cory.

February 12, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Music, Poetry, You tube. 3 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things: #15 (I’m a Nobody by Emily Dickinson)

I’m a Nobody by Emily Dickinson

Emily dickinson

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us
Don’t tell—they’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public—like a frog—
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

 This poem literally speaks to me, ‘cos in a world full of people who worship the rich & famous & who want their 15 minutes of fame, I (and few  kindred souls) am (are)  happy being a nobody .

People will go to any lengths to gain fame, even become buffoons in front of the world in the so called reality TV shows. I simply don’t understand the charms of fame. Celebrities say that they enjoy being recognized everywhere, & I’m like what? What’s the benefit whatsoever to be never left alone peacefully to do your own things as you please rather than pleasing an audience all the times?  The poem satirizes glory seekers as well as their admiring fans. Much as I don’t understand the desire for fame, I understand celebrity worshiping still lesser. I’ve incredulously witnessed masses standing out in sun for hours to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity. I couldn’t care less about a movie-star or a sport celebrity. What I value is my own being n people who are near n dear to me in my own little world.

Perhaps I’m of  tradition of people like Chuang Tzu who revel in their own glory & being rather than being worshiped by masses. If you want to be famous you are really a puppet to what people want from you.

 Once, when Chuang Tzu was fishing in the P’u river, the king of Ch’u sent two officials to go and announce to him: “I would like to trouble you with the administration of my realm.”

Chuang Tzu held onto the fishing pole and, without turning his head, said, “I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise in Ch’u that has been dead for three thousand years. The king keeps it wrapped in cloth and boxed, and stores it in the ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its bones left behind and honored? Or would it rather be alive and dragging its tail in the mud?”

“It would rather be alive dragging its tail in the mud,” said the two officials.

Chuang Tzu said, “Go away! I’ll drag my tail in the mud!”

February 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Happiness, My lifestyle, My Values, Parables, Poetry, Reflections/Musings, Wisdom. Leave a comment.

These are a few of my favorite things: #12 (Consolation by Billy Collins)

Consolation by Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins (Photo credit: marcelo noah)

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Though the poet has written the poem humorously & as a means to console himself for not being able to take a vacation in Europe, I see it quite in the literal sense..how much better indeed not to be tiring yourself on holidays to some obscure place doing the usual touristy things, running from one tourist hot spot to another, spending insane amount of time & energy on planning n logistics. Why not relax at home instead & enjoy your own city with new eyes? I know a lot of people who go to distant places for holidays but don’t know their own city intimately…why? Is a place alluring n beautiful only ‘cos it is far off?   Perhaps a part of vacation charm lies in  impressing neighbors n peers with the money you spend on your holidays!! Perhaps it’s a status symbol….perhaps people who are convinced about the benefits of always being busy n of multitasking like to do things on holidays too, bungee-jumping, hiking, rafting, blah blah, this already is looking tiring to me..at least holidays should be reserved for relaxation n just being.. i’m sold on the concept of comforts of home rather than huffing n puffing on holidays.

Home is the Best

Here is Billy Collins reading his poem:

February 4, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . My lifestyle, My Values, Poetry, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Solitude, Wisdom, You tube. 2 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things: #10 (The Art of Disappearing by Noami Shihab Nye & People are Boring By George Carlin)

These are a few of my favorite things: #10 (The Art of Disappearing by Noami Shihab Nye & People are Boring By George Carlin)

The Art of Disappearing

Noami Shihab Nye
When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

I LOVE this poem..this is my introvert anthem…sums up pretty much how I feel when people want to get together all the times..n I’m like pleaseeeeeeeeeee why do we have to meet??…I’ve got loads of important stuff to do like reading, thinking & daydreaming. But people love to meet & yap even when they don’t really have anything to say…as the inimitable George Carlin says I like people in short bursts of one & a half minutes!! 😀

January 30, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . Humor, Introversion, Reflections/Musings, Solitude, Wisdom. 6 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things:#6 (Life is Fine by Langston Hughes)

Life is Fine by Langston Hughes

Français : Explanation of License: The is a wo...

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn’t a-been so cold
I might’ve sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn’t a-been so high
I might’ve jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love–
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry–
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

The Brilliance of this poetry lies in it’s 3 prime characteristics: Simplicity, humor & profundity. Take one of them out & it will lose it’s magic. However sad the life may be & we might say we want to give it up all, but when everything is said & done, life is still worth living. This message has been beautifully conveyed by the poet. Though on one level the guy seems to be very dejected on being jilted by a lover & wants to end his life, yet the will to live within him asserts itself. After all, Life is Fine! Fine as wine! Life is Fine.

The humor here is absolute genius. I mean who would care for the coldness of water or the ‘highness’ of height if one really wanted to die??Also the humor in a way reminded me of this funny pic!!!

408384_520354494675674_207443023_n

January 21, 2013. Tags: , . Poetry. 2 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things #1 (Alone With Everybody by Charles Buckowski)

English: Charles Bukowski, portrait by italian...

English: Charles Bukowski, portrait by italian artist Graziano Origa, pen&ink+pantone, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alone With Everybody

by Charles Buckowski

the flesh covers the bone 
and they put a mind 
in there and 
sometimes a soul, 
and the women break 
vases against the walls 
and the men drink too 
much 
and nobody finds the 
one 
but keep 
looking 
crawling in and out 
of beds. 
flesh covers 
the bone and the 
flesh searches 
for more than 
flesh. 

there’s no chance 
at all: 
we are all trapped 
by a singular 
fate. 

nobody ever finds 
the one. 

the city dumps fill 
the junkyards fill 
the madhouses fill 
the hospitals fill 
the graveyards fill 

nothing else 
fills.

First let me confess that I’m totally new to Charles Bukowski or his poetry or to poetry in general for that matter (I’m more of a prose person but starting today I’ve made up my mind to change this situation n to explore the elegance of poetry more n more). Having said that n having got the prelims out of our way, I really loved each n every line of this poem, each n every line spoke to me. I’m a person who is naturally drawn to the so called ‘pessimistic’ view of life, albeit I choose to call it ‘REALITY’, coming face to face with our Human predicament, I find this optimistic. That’s why I love Buddhism, that’s why I love Schopenhauer n whatever in me appreciates Buddha n Schopenhauer attracted me to this piece of poetry. ‘They sometimes put the soul’ –so significant , Humans caught up in consumerism n so called modern life have more or less lost their souls or maybe they have it but never listen to it or care to listen to it or maybe the voice of the soul is drowned in the stupid white noise that surrounds us 24*7. Caught up in the despair of life women will keep crashing the dishes n men drinking (tho it’s not so uncommon to find women  too drinking these days). We just keep living, keep hoping to find some one who will understand us, who will read n sing the song of our soul, but that never happens. Now for me this is optimistic ‘cos it explains the futility of searching someone who will really understand our deepest core, we should stop living in that false hope n count only on ourselves to be our own messiah, embracing n basking in our self-love.

P.S. : This looks like a rather philosophical dissection of a subtle poem but that is what I am, a philosopher at heart n I need to go to the crux of everything 😀

January 16, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Poetry, Reflections/Musings. 1 comment.