Charles Bukowski, on the Dark Side of Humankind.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 22, 2012
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As a lifelong Buddhist, I see human beings as fundamentally aok. We can be horrible when we seek happiness at the expense of others, we can be wonderful when we seek happiness through the happiness of others.

Bukowski, of course, was among the best at seeing the worst. There’s a wisdom and brilliance and depression and self-hatred to that.

But, in any case, his words are provocative. Love thyself, before we seek to make the world love. Be okay with being alone, before we seek crowds.


“Beware those quick to censor, they are afraid of what they do not know.”

Here’s Bukowski himself reading the poem:

The woodcut is from “Madman’s Drum” by Lynd Ward, about 1930

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


All that’s great, but not a happy man. Not happy with himself or his life:

Text from video: “Charles Bukowski kicking and cursing out his soon to be fiancé. The moment where he mocks her is pure comic gold! Also, listen for when the director says ‘uh-oh.'”

Who’d want to be such an a888888le? NSFW language:

Bonus: he did not think much of humankind.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “Charles Bukowski, on the Dark Side of Humankind.”

  1. Aborn says:

    In his dark moment he appears fragile, childlike. I wonder if the poem was a sort of shield for him from all the darkness he saw in the world.

  2. […] cussing. Unless you’re Bukowski or you’ve made cussing into your writer’s trademark, limit trashy talk for when the situation […]

  3. […] & Wellness, meet Charles Bukowski, one of the most degraded human beings ever to […]

  4. msatapathy says:

    Friday 13th. Not really a day you want to travel on, if you are superstitious. But would you travel on Friday the thirteenth if you checked in for a plane flight and your boarding card read: “Gate 113, Seat 13B”? Probably not. But this guy did, and the day turned into something from the film of the same name. So, if you’re curious, then read about how he became a believer in avoiding all things numbered 13!