I have a poem that I cut out of a book and framed a couple of years ago. It’s hanging over my desk, so every day when I sit down to write, read or play guitar, it’s there at eye level, housed in a $3 frame from the Salvation Army. As much as I appreciate the written word, I’m not much of a poetry guy, but the stuff I do like doesn’t play around with subtleties or dawdle in 25-cent words. The good stuff, to me, hits me right between the eyes.
The poem hanging over my desk is one of Charles Bukowski’s. I’ve mentioned it before here, way back in the day. It’s called “Air and Light and Time and Space”, and it speaks directly to every artist who’s waiting on the perfect time to start a project.
I once read a line from a famous writer, who, when asked how he tames the unreliable muse, said something to the effect: “My muse shows up every morning, conveniently from 5 to 9 a.m., when I’m at my desk.” In other words, showing up — just sitting your ass down and chipping away, day in and day out — accounts for much of the battle. Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” comes to mind. If you’re in a creative lull, pick it up. It’s a short read.
Anyway, I’ve posted the poem below. It’s not very long, just a tad longer than that retarded internet meme your digital friend regurgitated on his Facebook page, and definitely shorter than that one Facebook friend’s laundry list of personal slights she endured today, cataloged in excruciating detail and posted, publicly, in a vain appeal for sympathy.
Yeah. So here you go. Whatever it is that you’re working on, keep at it. (courtesy of www.airlighttimespace.com):
air and light and time and space
“–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
© Charles Bukowski, Black Sparrow Press