Roll the Dice
by Charles Bukowski

if you’re going to try, go all the way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

if you’re going to try, go all the way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with fire.

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

[Of the poetry that I have memorized, I’ve decided to not necessarily comment on them in the order of memorization. It does seem a great way to really savor a poem so that more meaning can come out.]

Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski

Bukowski has become one of my favorite poets recently, no surprise to a few of you. Those who knew anything about him, know him to be a womanizer and a drunk. He was those things and more. He was a poet who wrote with a blunt honesty of how things are in the real (and sometimes poetic) world.

This poem, obviously, is about Bukowski giving himself a pep-talk. You would think that a man who became as prolific as he would have had it easy. The successful poet isn’t always a success in his lifetime, thus he wrote this as encouragement.

We, as ordinary folk (or not), have aspirations in life. Some are noble, some not so. Some are completely self-serving, some are without self. Regardless, one should feel the freedom to pursue such goals. If one’s goal is not so easy to attain, this poem speaks to the dreamer of great things.

Sacrifice. This, to me, is a dirty word. I’ll explain. If a man wants to be a writer, and perhaps a successful one, he must realize that this kind of success doesn’t happen overnight. There can be troubles with relationships and financial stability. Going hungry and freezing on a bench sound like horrible things to endure. Yet, these things aren’t sacrifices, but trades. One’s goal, if valued enough, is worth all the suffering the world can throw at him.

Even noble, or so called altruistic, goals don’t involve sacrifice. Here, one is trading one’s time, energy, or resources to attain a world more to one’s liking. Such giving of resources without that actual desire to improve things is either vain or empty.

And when one achieves, how blissful that is! So many live mediocre lives, and to them, such achievers are alone with the gods. Their lives are brightly burning as an example to those who overcome.

Of the possible negative effects of pursuing something, isolation is truly a gift. Isolation allows one to pursue the goal without the interference of others. The other things, once overcome, gives one the ability to truly laugh. If one has overcome hunger, the elements, the law (there’s a can of worms), and ridicule, one can laugh at anything, everything that became inconsequential to the dreamer of great achievements