A Minor Impulse To Complain

it’s interesting what does go on,
and what doesn’t go on
that should,
and the world’s half a sight
spun through spiders and webs
that catch us half asleep
and do us in
before we’ve even grown enough
to know we’re through.

if it isn’t a whore it’s a wife,
and if it isn’t a wife
it’s a jam over taxes
or bread or liquor,
or somebody’s slipping it in her
while you’re down at the shop
sweating your nuggets to keep her in silk.

or you’re on horses or pot
or crossword puzzles,
or you’re on vitamins or Beethoven.

but you oughta see
what goes on within 75 foot of yacht:
it would make you give up
liberty and little magazines
and Tolstoy
to see what beautiful young ladies can do
to somebody else.

and he doesn’t even care,
and he’ll tell you
pouring a short shot,
that bitch’d outscrew a rabbit,
and unless you got money
by the time you got it figured
you’re either so old you’re senseless
or you’re so old you’re dead.
and there she stands by the rail
looking good
golden sun and real gold,
the fish going by in the largest swimming pool
in the world, and she even smiles at you
as you go below to get more bottles and boots
to scrape clear the barnacles from the master;
but, ah, you pig!–he told me all you did,
as men will do–which is another way of saying
you and I ain’t living well,
or enough.

Charles Bukowski
This poem appeared in the following books: