Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It Beats the Darkness

Your train sits in the tunnel. "Train traffic ahead," the conductor explains, "we apologize for the delay." Or worse, a sick passenger. Or worse yet, a police investigation. You slump into your seat or hang over those lucky enough to have seats.  Someone catches your eye. A bit unkempt but also somehow familiar. Did he perhaps go to your high school, dropping out without anybody really noticing? Or maybe he was the cashier at the car wash? He holds your gaze, and says to you, very quietly and calmly:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

"The Laughing Heart," by Charles Bukowski. Read by Tom Waits.


  1. An excellent choice! I was going to recommend Simic's Empire of Dreams as a future possibility, though I think you already had a poem of his?

  2. Thanks! I'll check out Empire of Dreams. Always room for more Simic.