Charles Bukowski

8 A I T X

a 340 dollar horse and a hundred dollar whore

don’ t ever get the idea I am a poet; you can see me
at the racetrack any day half drunk
betting quarters, sidewheelers and straight thoroughs,
but let me tell you, there are some women there
who go where the money goes, and sometimes when you
look at these whores these onehundreddollar whores
you wonder sometimes if nature isn’ t playing a joke
dealing out so much breast and ass and the way
it’ s all hung together, you look and you look and
you look and you can’ t believe it; there are ordinary women

I Am Visited by an Editor and a Poet

I had just won $115 from the headshakers and
was naked upon my bed
listening to an opera by one of the Italians
and had just gotten rid of a very loose lady
when there was a knock upon the wood,
and since the cops had just raided a month or so ago,
I screamed out rather on edge —
who the hell is it? what you want, man?
I’ m your publisher! somebody screamed back,
and I hollered, I don’ t have a publisher,
try the place next door, and he screamed back,
you’ re Charles Bukowski, aren’ t you? and I got up and

i can't stay in the same room with that woman for five minutes

I went over the other day
to pick up my daughter.
her mother came out with workman’ s
overalls on.
I gave her the child support money
and she laid a sheaf of poems on me by one
Manfred Anderson.
I read them.
he’ s great, she said.
does he send this shit out? I asked.
oh no, she said, Manfred wouldn’ t do that.
well, I don’ t know exactly.
listen, I said, you know all the poets who
don’ t send their shit out.
the magazines aren’ t ready for them, she said,

the difference between a bad poet and a good one is luck

I suppose so.
I was living in an attic in Philadelphia
It became very hot in the summer and so I stayed in the
bars. I didn’ t have any money and so with what was almost left
I put a small ad in the paper and said I was a writer
looking for work...
which was a god damned lie; I was a writer
looking for a little time and a little food and some
attic rent.
a couple days later when I finally came home
from somewhere
the landlady said, there was somebody looking for
you. and I said,

The Japanese Wife

O lord, he said, Japanese women,
real women, they have not forgotten,
bowing and smiling
closing the wounds men have made;
but American women will kill you like they
tear a lampshade,
American women care less than a dime,
they’ ve gotten derailed,
they’ re too nervous to make good:
always scowling, belly-aching,
disillusioned, overwrought;
but oh lord, say, the Japanese women:
there was this one,
I came home and the door was locked
and when I broke in she broke out the bread knife

Trollius and trellises

of course, I may die in the next ten minutes
and I’ m ready for that
but what I’ m really worried about is
that my editor-publisher might retire
even though he is ten years younger than
it was just 25 years ago (I was at that ripe
old age of 45)
when we began our unholy alliance to
test the literary waters,
neither of us being much


he hooked to the body hard
took it well
and loved to fight
had seven in a row and a small fleck
over one eye,
and then he met a kid from Camden
with arms thin as wires —
it was a good one,
the safe lions roared and threw money;
they were both up and down many times,
but he lost that one
and he lost the rematch
in which neither of them fought at all,
hanging on to each other like lovers through the boos,
and now he’ s over at Mike’ s
changing tires and oil and batteries,