This volume of Bukowski's poems truly lives up to its title, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit. Like his other compilations, the title and his little short preface gives valuable insight to the collection. In this collection, Bukowski gives his wisdom before you hit the actual poems--" waiting/ in a life full of little stories/ for a death to come". This, coupled with the title, reveals that the poems will show how to live a hard, full life, pounding on the piano, until all the little emotions, encounters, and stories make you bleed. Bukowski doesn't disappoint, and his poems in this collection show the bleakness of the unrelenting force of life. Two poems stand out in this collection that really embraces Bukowski's theme and tone, "the apple" and "hug the dark". In "the apple", Bukowski plays off the archetypal view of an apple as the wisdom of life. He enforces that knowledge comes through living, not just books, when he points out the apple "is an experience" (59). Experience and living contain "underlying pits of white" (59), which represent a deeper understanding of emotions and truth. While Bukowski describes eating the apple, he daydreams about "choking to death on the apple skin" (59), emulating the fear of understanding, as well as oppressive nature that comes inherently with knowing too much. The poem ends with "depressive feelings" (59) and an "ending" (59), as the apples gets thrown away, leaving the poet staring at an ashtray. Likewise, in "hug the dark", Bukowski reveals how the cruel touch of life leaves a person jaded. The poem describes how "turmoil is the god" (113) of the modern world. It continues describing how pain can kill or help people survive, but "peace is the worst thing" (113) because it's fake. Peace covers up "the whores/ betrayal/ the worm in the apple" (113). Bukowski offers ominous advice to avoid theses modern gods, but, even if you do, you're still disturbed like anyone else. This collection shows Bukowski artfully peeling off the veneer of America, exposing the hopelessness of fighting against a life that beats you like a percussion instrument.