Just in case you’re starting to get into that sloppy, Hallmark Christmas spirit, this should bring you to your senses. Charles Bukowski’s ‘The Genius of The Crowd’ is a bleak and brilliant insight into the darker sides of  human nature.

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

He was also one of the finest stage performers of his own work out there, and the gravelly rendition of the same piece included below is superbly delivered. His work is very accessible, so give it a listen even if you don’t usually like poetry, and if you’ve been good all year Santa might deliver another poetry gift later. Beats a tangerine in a sock, hands down.

Is his view a little warped, and the view presented by ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ closer to the message we should be clutching close to our warmed hearts at Xmas? I think  Bukowski may be closer to the truth, and the Depressive Realist  Hypothesis seems to have lots of support, even if ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is more in line with the way retailers would like us to see the world at Christmas time, so they can cash in on our happiness. Genius.

2 thoughts on “Genius

  1. SELF

    The self thinks only of the self
    Self is a duality of mind
    It creates an illusory world of
    Concepts, Ideas and dreams,
    Because it cannot bear to remain
    With what it IS in Actuality?

    Self is self centred, Narcissistic,
    Self important, Jealous, violent,
    Full of fears;
    Fear of being alone,
    Fear of what your neighbours say,
    Fear you won’t get the job,
    Fear you might lose the job.
    Fear of looking bad
    Fear is the self, and the self is

    Self realizing this, Says, “I must change”
    Now that which IS, tries to become
    That which IS NOT;
    And so, self invents the IDEA
    Of an Opposite of what IS?
    The opposite to Hate, being Love
    The opposite to Anger, being Calm
    The opposite to Fear, being Courage
    All illusory;
    Just ideas, belief systems, Concepts,
    Invented by self to get away from self:
    A logical contradiction of mind leading
    Humanity into the realms of absurdity;
    And then the battle begins

    That which is TRUTH?
    That which is ILLUSION?

    And so long as this division of the mind exists
    All will remain as IS.
    War, Violence, Distrust, Murder, Deceit, Anger, Hate
    Corruption, Jealousy, Loneliness, Racism.
    Poverty, Misery, Death

    A world of Suffering

    But when the SELF IS NOT all above IS NOT


    1. Interesting that you used capitalisation to emphasis some parts of your poem. Some folks over here love Bukowski’s poem, but hated the capitalisation he used in the original. I like his reading even better than the original, and heard the reading before I ever came across the poem in print, so it wasn’t even an issue for me.


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