"Bluebird"By Charles Bukowski




there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you.
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there.
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you?

This is one of Bukowski's most heartfelt poems that I have come across. His whole persona and pretty much goal in life is to be one of the toughest, most bad ass people around. It's a pretty easy poem to understand; the metaphor of a bluebird being in his heart is that he has a soft spot, or a kindness that he never let's anyone see. His toughness and meanness are all part of the Bukowski myth so he says "do you want to mess me up? screw up my book sales in Europe?" He thinks that if people don't look at him as a bad ass, they won't like him as much. One of my favorites because he shows vulnerability and it's brilliant.