Letter To A Small And Kindly Princess

this is not a coward’s world,
you have to take the big chance,
small men secure in a small way
on their way to the grave
are like armies, like cars, like
freeways, like buildings
everywhere; think, if you will,
if we’d all gone small,
think the great flags never raised:
the Dempsey-Firpo fight,
Mozart, the Babe;
Hem chasing a lion through an
unliberated part of Africa,
people going into space
like walking through the doorway
of the Beverly-Hilton;
James Joyce with his eye-patch
prowling bookstores like a lost
tarantula; Joan of Arc, burning;
I think of these things
during your time-clock life;
even Gypsy Rose Lee took a chance,
along with a good press agent,
even Hitler took a chance,
and lost; yes, we lose,
we end up losing,
all of us, but there is blood on our
teeth, we know that we’ve been there,
and then we take the count
among the flames and hisses,
you,
you have your dry and safe victory
and the eyes in your head
that look like marbles
stepped-on marbles,
and your dry hands and your dry love
and your dry death
as the shades shake with rockets
and new music comes down like crazy rain,
these I hand back to you,
they have stained me with the misery of nothingness
which is an altogether different sort of thing,
your sort of thing
like a worm in an apple
gorging, never seeing out
as the sea goes mad and the moon is a bull
looking for a matador
and small boys not yet dead
wonder about god and people and animals and dreams;
you sick pig:   I could kill you
but you are so many, and you are real in your way,
and feel pain, your sort of pain,
and so I pull the shade
and write letters to a small and kindly princess who lives . . .
no, I won’t tell you–perhaps on the moon,
anywhere, anywhere, but here with most of you.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1963