a loser

it was on the train to Del Mar and I had left my seat
to go to the bar car, I had a couple of beers and came
back and sat down.
“pardon me,” said the lady next to me, “but you’re
sitting in my husband’s seat.”
“oh yeah,” I said and I picked up my Racing Form
and began reading it; the first race looked tough.
then this man was standing there:   “hey, buddy,
you’re in my seat!”
“I told him,” said the lady, “but he didn’t pay
any attention.”
“hey,” I told the man, “this is my seat!”
“it’s bad enough he takes my seat,” said the man,
“but now he’s reading my Racing Form!
I looked at him, he was puffing his chest out.
“look at you,” I said, “puffing your god damned
chest out!”
“you’re in my seat, buddy!” he told me.
“look,” I said, “I’ve been in this seat since this
train left the station.    ask anybody around here!”
“oh no, that’s not right,” said a man behind me,
he was in that seat when the train left the
station!”
“are you sure?”
“sure I’m sure!”

I got up and walked into the next train car.
there was my seat by the window and there was
my Racing Form.

I went back to the other train car where the
man was reading the Racing Form.
“hey, look,” I started to say….
“forget it,” said the man.
“just leave us alone,” said his wife.

I walked back to the other train car, sat down and
looked out the window
pretending to be vaguely interested in the land-
scape,
glad that the people in my car didn’t know what
the people in the other car knew.

Like this website? Support it.
I want to bring all of Bukowski's poems online and make then freely available. This means hundreds of hours of work to retype over 1,000 of his poems from the original manuscripts. Your donations will help support this work.