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 pur 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

Analysis, meaning and summary of Charles Bukowski's poem Bluebird


  1. anwar says:

    i coudnt help but found great similarities between Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Bukowski. Especially the two poems: The Raven (Poe) and Bluebird (Bukowki). The two poems can be portrayed as revelations of the true nature of both poets, their deepest secrets, and their hidden fears. this is merely my humble opinion and it may be nonesence, i might need to do a little research on such comparison :).

  2. scondon says:

    Ah JJ, you are a complete and utter tool.

    Bukowski wrote his truth, without regard for your white whales. Go ahead, give your life to the reckoning of the worlds best poet. As for us, we will just enjoy the beauty.

    • Miss A. says:

      Is it just me, or is anyone here thinks that Bukowski has some similarities with my fave writer, Edgar Allan Poe? When Mark Manson mentioned Bukowski in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I was thinking of Poe while reading Manson’s description of Bukowski.

  3. JJ says:

    Bukowski ruined american letters.

    No–he ruined american letter writers. For all his spite he was a fan of progressivism. It’s the only thing that let him write and be known even though infinitely better writers and thinkers have been long forgotten. Multitudes. Him suffering for ‘us’ is as ridiculous as thinking he hated the money he got for prostituting his wares to those hungry for prostitution, and those who can’t understand Yeats so they’ll just dilute their taste and absorb Bukowski all day long.

    He wasn’t the worst, but it’s damned insulting to say he’s among the best. Oh no. Pander to ‘whores’ and you really can’t be among the best, not if you use your commonness as a device. Sickening to see people fawn over him as though he’d piss on your burning body to put the fire out.

  4. Solomon in Santa Monica says:

    One commentor said: “He suffered so that we could see and live more clearly.”

    Well, that really has a savior tone, one that I am guessing would make Bukowski sick. Anyway, I don’t see his suffering that way, but I do agree he is one of our great poets.

  5. Gerard Loveless says:

    If this is the first time you have read anything of Bukowski, this is only the tip of his vast iceberg. I have always been a poor reader-dyslexia-and Bukowski is very healing. He suffered so that we could see and live more clearly. He is a great German-American classical artist. Read all of Bukowski and you’ll know why so many love him.

  6. Michael says:

    Dylan Mckay…

  7. Cory says:

    Bukowski is one of the very best poets, and this is one of his very best poems. Truer words are hard to find.

  8. Jeff says:

    This is one of the greatest American poems ever written.

  9. nylorac says:

    This poem expresses the weak, vunerable side of the self, Bukowski has perfectly embodied our accumalation of inhibitions into the symbol of the bluebird which made such an impression upon me that I tattooed a bluebird behind my ear to remind me of the need to recognize that aspect of myself and comemerate Bukowskis truth.

  10. soorej says:

    nicely said fisher. but there’s something painful about reading this poem. usually he’s so accepting of his ill fate. but here, he’s juxtaposing it with that quiet desperation. the metaphor gets the feeling across well.

  11. flapjack darling says:

    This is bittersweet for me. I relate to what he’s saying here. But when you love someone who, in essence, has the same tragedy, then that is truly tragic.

  12. Jon White says:

    We all have some “bluebird” in us. A decision is made at some point in life if we should allow it to be heard, or at least allow a flash of a feather to be seen, if only briefly.

  13. Jane Korinec says:

    I like his poem How is your heart? – Much better.

  14. Leia says:

    I really enjoyed this poem. I found it gentle and truthful; and really, looking into something that we tend to hide: a certain soft spot, a gentleness, and innocence- that we cover by other asects of our character, for fear that it be seen.

    I really liked it.

  15. Fisher says:

    this is the soft side of the dumb thug. it is the precise moment where all the critiques on the mans’ assumed mysogony and drunken irrelevances fall out the window. it doesn’t get closer to the bone.

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