by Charles Bukowski
there was a frozen tree that I wanted to paint
but the shells came down
and in Vegas looking across at a green sunshade
at 3:30 in the morning,
I died without nails, without a copy of the Atlantic Monthly,
the windows screamed like doves moaning the bombing of Milan
and I went out to live with the rats
but the lights were too bright
and I thought maybe I'd better go back and sit in a
a marvelous description of a gazelle
the cross sits like a fly on my window,
my mother's breath stirs small leaves
in my mind;
and I hitch-hiked back to L.A. through hangover clouds
and I pulled a letter from my pocket and read it
and the truckdriver said, what's that?
and I said, there's some gal up North who used to
sleep with Pound, she's trying to tell me that H.D.
was our greatest scribe; well, Hilda gave us a few pink
Grecian gods in with the chinaware, but after reading her
I still have 140 icicles hanging from my bones.
I'm not going all the way to L.A., the truckdriver said.
it's all right, I sad, the calla lilies nod to our minds
and someday we'll all go home
in fact, he said, this is as far
as we go.
so I let him have it; old withered whore of time
your breasts taste the sour cream of dreaming . . .
he let me out
in the middle of the desert;
to die is to die is to die,
old phonographs in cellars,
joe di maggio,
magazines in with the onions . . .
an old Ford picked me up
45 minutes later
and, this time,
I kept my mouth
Last updated January 14, 2019