The Genius Of The Crowd Poem by Charles Bukowski

The Genius Of The Crowd

Rating: 4.1

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

Submitted by Holt

Yacov Mitchenko 24 August 2011

The poem is fairly good, but not nearly as good as many suppose. I do see the truth in some statements, but they're far too general. And the danger with generalizations is that they tend to be black-or-white oversimplifications; they miss out on the nuances and ambiguities in a situation. It would have been better had Bukowski restricted himself to 2 or 3 of the points made in the poem, and then actually SHOWED his points playing themselves out in a specific context or concrete setting. While general statements can please or provoke readers, they are nonetheless to be used sparingly and only once a specific situation has been presented. Had Bukowski adopted the above approach, his poem would perhaps have been more powerful. As it stands, it doesn't merit higher than a 6.5.

27 130 Reply
GRABSKI 29 May 2019

Yacov- that you chose to assign something as simple as a number to such art emasculates your point. Let us each take out of it what we will- or at least, what we're capable of.

9 0
Jeff Kear 22 August 2016

And, your offering, is?

3 0
Adi Cox 29 August 2009

Rarely some poems are so good that when I read them they feel like a smack in the face of poignant reality. This is one of those rare gems for me. A powerful and true message.

55 8 Reply
Richard A. Davis SR. 19 August 2007

Bukowski, the most prized pupil in the study of humanity.

40 8 Reply

To Mitchenko, you have missed the point. Why would a devote reader and writer tell us to be weary of readers? Is the nuance not there or is it you who has missed the nuance?

2 0 Reply

To Mitchenko, you have missed the point entirely. Why would a devote reader tell us to be weary

0 0 Reply
Bert Macklin 21 October 2020

Ouch! Love the 2020 comment below. Spoken word version of this is very powerfully sampled in " Genius of the Crowd" at gutbuketslim.bandcamp

2 2 Reply
Vision of 2020 26 June 2020

Sounds like BLM and covid mask school marm Karen’s.

6 8 Reply
joe mama 19 February 2020

holy crap lois............................................

5 2 Reply
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