Thursday, March 12, 2009


Beyond the occasional deja vu, I find we also journey through periods of our life in which something continues to reappear. Sometimes it is an idea, or a person, sometimes it may be a phrase. Regardless of what it is, you stumble upon this serendipitous, inconsequential motif. Some people call them signs, but I prefer not to view it in that way. In "Cat's Cradle" Vonnegut outlined a belief known as Bokononism in which people were interconnected by a karass. The people in your karass were often completely random -- sometimes even your enemies. But they were in your karass because they would play a role in your life, as a stepping stone in your mental or physical journey. This has been happening to me a lot lately and whether you are a Bokonist, superstitious, or of some other religious or philosophical affiliation the recurrence exists all the same. For me it has been a bluebird. And it will not leave me alone. Here are a few of the ways he and I have encountered one another.


Charles Bukowski is most known for his rough and real depictions of American life in his novels. But it was only recently that I was introduced to his poetry. A friend told me I should look at one in particular. It is entitled, "Bluebird."

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

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
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
you want to blow my book sales in

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
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

(courtesy of


On my list of current books to read is one entitled "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau, (coincidentally we also read "Civil Disobedience" yesterday in class. Regardless, the name has been on my mind. In a public restroom yesterday, I saw this quote written on a bathroom stall.

"The bluebird carries the sky on his back."

- Henry David Thoreau


In my studio art class I recently worked on a piece that was supposed to conceptualize a Chinese I-Ching hexagram. Mine was called revolution, a concept the Chinese believed was related to the moulting of animals and the changing of the seasons. After a month, I went back to it yesterday, removing it from the wall. It needed something. Over the black silhouette of a bird I had illustrated, I absentmindedly began to doodle over it in pastel. I took the piece home later that day and a friend came over. When he saw it, he said, 'Hey, I like your bluebird.'

Charles Bukowski. Courtesy of Anders Hornstrup via Flickr.

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