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Tom Waits and Bono read Bukowski

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As we continue to celebrate LA poet Charles Bukowski this week, we turn our attentions to rock stars Tom Waits and Bono, who read two poems that were written at the end of the master's long life. Waits was clearly a fan of the work, and one can hear quite a bit of the Bukowski style in some of Waits' tunes, in particular the song/story "Swordfishtrombones."

And Bono is just jumping on another bandwagon, but God bless him. This clip is from the excellent film "Born Into This", which was released last summer.

Feel free to read along with the poems, which follow after the jump.

"The Laughing Heart"

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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.

- from The Laughing Heart (1996)

"roll the dice"

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.

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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,
mockery,
isolation.
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
that.
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.

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from "What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire" (1999)