“Alone With Everybody”
Charles Bukowski
the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
nobody ever finds
the one.
the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill
nothing else
Charles Bukowski was a German born poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the realistic happenings around him, from poverty, writing, alcohol (of which he was fluent), relationships, and the sorrow of work. He had written thousands of poems, hundreds of stories, and six novels. His column in an underground newspaper had gotten him a file with the FBI! In his more popular works, he displays a free verse style. His poems are riddled with the ramblings of a drunken, failed philosopher, yet they are among the greatest of all time.
Poetic Technique
Imagery: visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work.
In “Alone With Everybody,” the imagery is hard to pinpoint. One could say that the repetition of the filling of various places is imagery, in the sense that you immediately envision those places filled with drudgery and sadness. One could also say that the striking description of the “flesh” is imagery. You can easily picture the “flesh” being a person filled with “a soul” and “a mind.” 
“Alone With Everybody” is a troubling poem. After a first read, it is difficult to comprehend. However, it is one of the most amazing poems to try to understand.The title itself is a double entendre. “Alone With Everybody” can imply that a person feels alone in a group of people. It also can mean that the feeling of loneliness is mutual with everyone.”the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul…”This selected verse seems to show the progression of a person’s being. First the flesh and bone fuses, making the body. The mind is created, giving us our thoughts. This “soul” is more complex. It could be referring to the religion put in people’s minds. This “soul” is created when a human immediately sets his or her eyes to the heavens, rather than looking on Earth. It doesn’t seem to be a positive trait, as what directly follows it is violent.”…women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too

This violent affair could try to show the relationships of human beings when they try to fill. Eventually, the men will drink too much and the women will break vases, overcome by the prospect of filling. This could also show the eventual loss of desire to “fill.” When a person breaks, and loses all sense of hope, he or she will grow anxious. He or she grows weary. He or she eventually realizes how pointless it is to try, because we all end in the same way.

One of the most important aspects of this poem is the description of “flesh.” “Flesh” is more or less what goes over our skeletons to make us individual. It makes efforts to find love, to live, to try to change things. However, we all have this flesh that covers the bone. “We are all trapped by a singular fate.” This fate is our inevitable death, and it plays a major role in this poem. By saying this, Bukowski implies that no matter what we do during our life nor how we do it will matter after our death. This “fate” ends everything about us. We spend our lives trying so desperately to “fill” this flesh. We  have romantic partners, and they are doomed to either be with us forever or leave. We “drink too much,” drowning our sorrows in means such as alcohol. The people who drink too much know the truth that nothing really fills. We can never fill ourselves up; we are doomed to live life, but we all die. We all end. We can fill the insane asylums, the graveyards, and the junkyards. We can never truly fill ourselves.


alone with everybody visual

Visual Explanation

This picture shows a women clutching at her chest, revealing an empty cavern inside. This personifies the inability to “fill.” This cavern is what we try so desperately to fill during life. We try to stuff it with love, and drinks, and entertainment, but we never can. It cannot be filled, just as life cannot. The flesh on the outside is covering the thing that we all have- a skeleton that could care less whether we live or not. This flesh makes us individual; therefore, it causes our desire to fill. It rejects everything immediately. No matter what we try to fill it with, it will always reject it. This flesh can house a soul and a mind, but that is the limit. Nothing else fits. Trying to fill it is pointless, because we are all doomed to death. Why try to fill life with falsities when we all know that we will die? What’s the point in trying?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s