18 cars full of men thinking of what could have been

driving in from the track
I saw a woman in green
all rump and beast and dizziness running
across the street.
she was as sexy as a
green and drunken antelope and
when she got to the curbing she
tripped and fell
down and
sat in the gutter and
I sat there in my car
looking at her and
oddly
I felt most impassive as if
nothing had happened and
I sat there looking at this
green creature until
a moving van 6 feet long came
to a stop and
helped the
lady
up.
a young man in white overalls
flushed red and the girl was built
all around all around and
stupid with falling and stupid with life and
swaying on the tower stilts of her
heels
she stood there rubbing her
white knees and
the young man kept talking to
her
he was big dumb blond pink and lonely
but then
the woman asked him
where the nearest bar was and
he grinned and pointed down the street and
gave it
up
he got back into the truck and
60 feet full of
furniture and blanket and stove
pulled on down the street
and the green antelope
crossed the street
toward the bar
wobbling and shaking
everything and
we sat transfixed and
watching
until
in the backed-up traffic
behind me
a man of strength
honked
and I put the thing in drive
slowing for the big dip
by the market
that could tear your car in
half
and they all followed me
slowing for the dip
too:
18 cars full of men thinking of
what could have been–
about the one who
got away and
it was about sunset and
heavy traffic and heavy
life.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1965
This poem appeared in the following books: