The Laughing Heart

What matter most is how well you walk through the fire
— Charles Bukowski


I used to read some of Charles Bukowski's poems in my mid-twenties. While Jack Kerouac (another great American poet) used to make me want to hit the road and go traveling, reading Bukowski always made me want to have a drink and somehow, to rebel. His nothing-to-lose truthfulness on his poems made him a cult hero. At least for me in my drunk mid-twenties years.

When I first read The Laughing Heart, there was a rebellious, hopeful and strong sentiment about this poem that always made me kick the ass out of fear, and somehow do what I wanted. Even if in some of these decisions were accompanied by my coffee cup full of red wine and a few chupitos. Just like Bukowski himself. I was doing what I wanted. 

Well, my twenties are long gone,  and so are the chupitos, but the poetry stayed. 

Bukowski's The Laughing Heart poem is one of my all-time-favourite and it continues to touches me deeply.  It is an amazing piece of poetry.

Here it is;


The Laughing Heart


"your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is 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."

                                                                                                                 by Charles Bukowski


The quote “Clubbed into dank submission” is a feeling that I can relate to pretty well, dealing with depression and the occasional sadness that knocks my door from time to time, sometimes it’s very difficult to remember that your life really is your life to live. 

This poem is one of the powerful tools that I use to boost my mood and lift myself up. It has helped me through some grey moments. It has made me get up in the morning and do stuff, it reminds me that there is hope out there. There is a light somewhere. That your life is yours to live, know it while you have it. You are marvelous and this poem is a beauty.

Be well folks, be on the watch. 

Roddy X

The Invitation

The "Invitation" is a very beautiful poem that I read somewhere during my rehabilitation. My friends sent me a lot of books, some of them even sent me a shoe box full of it. It was very kind and thoughtful of them as I had plenty of time to read. Some of the books they sent me were about meditation and spirituality. And in one of them I read this:


The Invitation

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of future pain. 

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "yes!"

It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with your and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” 

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer


I always come back to it, it is very inspiring. 

The poem reminds me that I need to make the most of my life. At first, I thought the poem was written as a letter from one person to another but after reading it more than once, it seems to me that it could also be a letter from you to yourself. At least the parts I can understand. That's some deep stuff over there. And I always ask myself; Is it really possible to be honest to ourselves as the poem suggests? In the world we live in?

I have no idea, but we must give it a go.

We must try. 

Roddy X

What’s the point in being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?
— John Green