Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Let It Enfold You - Poem by Charles Bukowski

Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
I trusted no man and
especially no

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at, I had no male

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents,spain,
france,italy,walnuts and
the color
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
and flowers were for

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
tenants of the weak

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
that I wasn't different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
darkness was the

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
just staring at the
knobs of some
or listening to the
rain in the
the less I needed
the better I

maybe the other life had worn me
I no longer found
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the

I re formulated
I don't know when,
date, time, all
but the change
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
i no longer had to
prove that I was a

I didn't have to prove

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
then- it was

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I've missed too many
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, 'I am going
to have to let you go'

'it's all right' I tell

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children,
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
the whole day is

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, breasts,

(don't get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
this is a shield and a

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
but when the good
moments arrived
I didn't fight them off
like an alley
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I made them welcome
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby's

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the tote board waiting for
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the

I kissed her in the
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
I entered the world
drove down the
past the houses
full and empty
I saw the mailman,
he waved
at me.

Topic(s) of this poem: love

Comments about Let It Enfold You by Charles Bukowski

  • (4/11/2019 3:53:00 AM)

    the topic is mostly not about love

    that is all

    (4/15/2019 8:33:00 AM)

    yeah... this isn't about love. I sent a request for the contributors to reconsider bc I thought the same thing.

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  • (11/13/2018 10:34:00 PM)

    Is there an actual Charles bukowski poem book I love this (Report)Reply

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  • (10/30/2018 6:13:00 PM)

    If you go to see the film Beautiful Boy (a great film) you will hear part of this poem during the film. However if you have the patience to sit through the credits, towards the end of the credits you will hear the whole poem s it is written hear. What a coda! (Report)Reply

    (11/5/2018 5:00:00 PM)

    I agree, I'm so glad I watched the entire credit crawl (to see who wrote one of the songs) and to my surprise and delight Timothee Chalamet reads the entire poem, beautifully I might add.

    7 person liked.
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  • (10/29/2018 12:21:00 AM)

    heard it in the movie beautiful boy, and i cant stop thinking about it (Report)Reply

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  • (1/25/2018 8:43:00 PM)

    Is anyone else here because of the Senses Fail album? I looked up the name trying to find the album and found this poem, it's great writing. (Report)Reply

    (2/11/2018 7:43:00 PM)

    Yeah! I love it

    5 person liked.
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  • Unknown Spirit (4/3/2016 3:21:00 AM)

    charles bukowski is that of ability to exploit and extract happiness from the abysmel and bottomless valley of saddness (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
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  • (7/7/2015 10:18:00 PM)

    does this way everyone think? can i connect with this poem? not at all and it is impossible too, but there is some truth in this poem that play with my heart...those who are not brought up in the name of faith and principles, certainly feel this way, as the persona in this poem is too emotional and irrational (Report)Reply

    (5/18/2016 4:39:00 PM)

    In all of my 36 years, I've never connected to anything as deeply as I do this poem. I am Bukowski. I have lived this journey. The accuracy with which it illustrates my own epiphanic metamorphosis is fucking brilliant. It brought me to tears because it awoke in me, an entirely foreign sense of being understood.

    3 person liked.
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  • Francis Lynch (7/7/2015 6:16:00 PM)

    He still sounds like a prick. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/7/2015 3:42:00 PM)

    Addled! With the muse of life. Nice work. (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kenneth Maswabi (7/7/2015 1:28:00 PM)

    The journey of life is full of twists and curves...i like your honesty. Thank you. (Report)Reply

    Aunty Septic(7/7/2015 8:55:00 PM)

    Dude, you are talking to someone who died a couple of decades ago!

    3 person liked.
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  • Pranab K Chakraborty (7/7/2015 11:33:00 AM)

    Spontaneity, confession and lucidity....the main reasons catching the reader to make the reading finish at its end. Transformation and compromising tenacity expressed well and honestly. Nice post. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Aunty Septic (7/7/2015 7:24:00 AM)

    Captivating. I don't usually like longer poems, but couldn't stop reading this one. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
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  • (7/7/2015 1:52:00 AM)

    can't recall any of his 'bad blood' poems. Stick to the 're formulated' ones. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (4/7/2014 7:25:00 PM)

    I love it.

    Also, has anyone else noticed the wording in brackets? Somehow don't think it is meant to be there..

    0 person liked.
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  • (3/18/2009 12:08:00 AM)

    I can see Buddy Nielsen's (of Senses Fail) lyrics in this poem.
    He was heavily influenced by it, and I like that.
    Both this poem and his lyrics are perfect.

    15 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (6/27/2007 1:38:00 PM)

    WOW. this there really more to say. This poem has so much happiness inside sorrow, much like life as we know it. Now I understand the cover of the CD by Senses Fail Let it Enfold You. (Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
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  • (4/9/2007 8:33:00 PM)

    wow i really didnt expext that to be quite as beautiful as it is (Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
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Read all 22 comments »

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Read poems about / on: happiness, peace, women, marriage, history, sorry, mirror, sunshine, magic, baby, car, dog, world, life, change, sorrow, star, music, woman, beautiful

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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