Literary Analysis of "Dinosauria, We"


 
Dinosauria, We


Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Castrated
Debauched
Disinherited
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter.

In the poem Dinosauria, We by Charles Bukowski, Bukowski comments on our world and how it is slowly decaying into a period of corruption. He notes on the path with human fate follows and how it ties in with the corruption. Because of the themes that it has, the poem has post modernist elements to it.
            The poem does not have a defined style to it, nor does it have a fixed form of meter. It also does not follow any rhyme scheme, therefore the poem is written in free verse. The poem is rather long compared to Bukowski’s normal poetry, but many of the lines are short and cut off in a continuous form, such as “Made inhuman/By this”(35-36). There is also a lack of breaks for stanzas, making the poem appear as one big structure. Another strange aspect is that there is only one punctuation mark besides apostrophes: a single period at the last line “Awaiting the next chapter”(75).  Even though Bukowski is notorious for his failure to follow proper grammar, it cannot be helped that the single period is significant to further emphasize the end of human life.
            The title Dinosauria, We is very bizarre, as the poem does not mention anything about “dinosaurs”. But with constant mention of chaos, corruption, and the end of the world, perhaps the title suggests that the human race will have the same fate as the dinosaurs—extinction. Bukowski repeats variations of the phrase “Born like this”(1) through various parts of the poem, which might suggest our fate was already predetermined, inherited by us from our predecessors.
                        The poem discusses many aspects of corruption. The poem is situation in a timeline fashion, as it starts from where the corrupt is starting to happen, to where the world has perished because of it. In the beginning, the corruption is small, as things that are supposed to help one, like hospitals, become too expensive to afford, and as a result “it’s cheaper to die”(18). Bukowski uses the list-format to detail the outcomes of the human race because of “this”, such as when the human race turns away from their belief of god for an escape such as drugs or suicide to escape this corruption. This corruption transforms into chaos, as seen when the governments cannot support themselves and everything turns into a dystopian disaster. However, Bukowski never makes it clear that the corruption is the sole fault of the humans, but that they play a role in fueling it.
            Like many post modern literature, Dinosauria, We follows a dystopian theme. It almost references other dystopian literature such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World’s role of drugs when Bukowski states, “The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god/ The fingers reach for the bottle/The pill/The powder”(42-45). Like many post modern literature, the poem features times of post apocalyptic action, where the world lays in ruins. Unlike most post modern literature, Dinosauria, We was not written in the mid twentieth century, but published in 1993, after most of the post apocalyptic commotion died down.
            In sum, the poem Dinosauria, We discusses elements of corruption and the human fate, as well as dystopian themes found in postmodern literature. The poem is different than most of Bukowski’s normal poetry as it discusses topics such as politics and the end of the world, which Bukowski does not really cover in his other works. Because the poem was written in 1993, as Bukowski was severely ill for a good portion of that year, it could have been his last time to say something about humanity instead of himself for once.

4 comments:

  1. the human race turns away from their belief of god?? you mean like that's part of the human decadence, turning away from god? I don't think Bukowski could have ever thought such an idea. I think in this poem religion is one more thing to reach for in despair, like the bottle or the powder

    ReplyDelete
  2. I second Winston's opinion, I feel he equates a belief in god with escapism like drugs and alcohol. He's not wrong, seeing as belief in one of the many gods humans have worshiped through the ages, has brought a lot of misery, death and destruction for thousands of years and continues to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bukowski is a great writer with his unrepeatable style but even he started as unknown writer and someone thought that his writings are disgusting or awful. That's mean that everyone can become a great writer. First of all, you can take a look on these essay writing tips

    ReplyDelete