Bluebird by Charles Bukowski

In the poem “Bluebird” Charles Bukowski, a German-born American poet, short story writer and novelist portrays the hardships of a man who has a troubled childhood, and the emotional rollercoaster he has to go through in his everyday life. The poet uses the phrase “men do not cry” to address the social stigma surrounding men.

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Bluebird

BY CHARLES BUKOWSKI

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?

­Analysis of Bukowski’s “Bluebird”

In his poem, “The Bluebird”, the author, Charles Bukowski gets in touch with his soul and portrays a man from such an angle very few have ever even thought of. In the poem, the poet provides the message that no matter how hard the external “shell” of a man is, but inside he is a human being made of flesh and blood, filled with a sea of emotions, divine expressions, undivided passion, and sentiments reckoning. In the social structure, men possess a great vulnerability due to the fact that their tears are considered a symbol of weakness and their moments of vulnerability being a disadvantage. The poet points out the flaws in the social structure where men find it tough to get in touch with their souls and bring out the feeling of the deep corners of their hearts; feelings of sensitivity and vulnerability.

In the poem, Bukowski portrays his rough childhood in order to uphold his philosophies over the illustration of a strong and rough image of a man, who might be tearing apart inside and might be vulnerable. The poet gives a vivid portrayal of what he had become over the course of time due to the rough exterior he had to show and how his mentality had coped up with his ways of keeping emotions away from display over the course of his childhood. In the poem, the poet shifts from portraying a rough and strong image of himself in the initial lines to realizing that he did have a soft corner in his cold, rough, and battered soul. The poet gives us a quaint description of the social stigma, for the poet tells us that he finds his inner, true self; a man who is scarred, with fears and vulnerability, in his solace.

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