this is when they come in for what’s left of your soul

the books are selling, there are critical articles, more and
more critical articles claiming that my work is, indeed,
and at least, pretty damned good.
I am being taught along with some of the masters.
a dangerous time, a most dangerous time
for me.
if I accept my position, then I must work from that
I must then attempt to hold my ground, not
despoil it.
but I have watched too many others do this and
soften, lose their natural force.
too much acceptance destroys.
so listen, my fine fellows and ladies, I am going to
ignore your late applause.
I intend to still play it loose, commit my errors,
enrage the entrenched and to piss upon your
guardians, angels or devils.
I intend to do what I
have to do, as I have always done.
it’s been too much fun to quit now.

you have not escaped my iron grip.
and I have not escaped

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript