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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Go Forth » Go Forth

Go Forth

MCQ - September 1, 2011

The title of this post comes from a marketing campaign by Levi’s which features quotes from American poets, the latest (above) being a poem by Charles Bukowski entitled The Laughing Heart.

Here is the text of the poem:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a 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.

In one sense, this is just a dumb commercial for jeans and part of me wants to be sick over this poem being co-opted for such a crass piece of commerce. But after seeing the commercial several times I can’t bring myself to get worked up over that. I just love the poem and the images and I’m glad we get to experience it instead of the usual dreck we get. What do you think of the message of this poem?


  1. Other than the fact that I absolutely loathe Charles Bukowski, both his work that I’ve read, and him as a human being, and banned his recitation aloud in my house — reading him silently is okay — I think it’s quite nice.

    Comment by Tatiana — September 3, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  2. It’s not really a Bukowskiesque poem. That is, it seems very atypical of him to me. But he wrote so much material that there’s bound to be some that is very different from his usual stuff. This one, to me, is inspiring. It deserves more than to be in a jeans ad, but if it weren’t for the ad we probably wouldn’t even know about it. It’s not a well-known poem at all. I think it’s oddly Mormon in its message.

    Comment by MCQ — September 3, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  3. I don’t mind the poem. I like that guy’s voice–can’t remember his name, but he took Robert Urich’s place on Spenser for hire.

    Comment by annegb — September 11, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

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