Wordsmith Wednesday: Charles Bukowski’s “pernicious anemia”


This week’s Wordsmith Wednesday is a Charles Bukowski poem entitled “pernicious anemia.”

It reads:

“I could rest on the past,
there are many books
on the shelves,
the shelves are

I could sleep all day
with my cats.

I could talk to
my neighbor
over the fence,
he’s 96 and
has had a past

I could just flog
life off,
gently wait to

ah, what a horror
that would be;
joining the world’s

I must mount a
I must crawl
inch by inch
back in-
to the sun of creation.

let there be light!
let there be me!

I will beat
the odds
one more

I always look back at this poem as one of Bukowski’s more positive pieces. He speaks of overcoming the dreariness and normalcy of life and being more, attempting to become something significant. This poem reminds me to push on and not become wrapped up in the potential monotony of life. Persevere forward and make a difference.



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