about the mail:

I  get more and more letters
and they are of two
types:

one, from the ladies who say they like my
writing,
and then they give me some of the background
of their lives, and they are always careful to
mention their ages, generally anywhere from
18 to 35.
one lady even sent me the key to her
house
but since it was in Australia
I threw it in the
trash.

the 18 year old keeps writing, wondering why
I don’t answer.
she asks, “Are you afraid to
fuck me?”

that’s not what I’m afraid
of.

the second type of letter comes from the
men, men who are going crazy on their
job, going crazy because of wives and
families, and
some of the men might be crazy, at least
they write from
madhouses, others write from
jails.

most infer that my books have helped them
get through, at least
for the moment.

frankly, I always thought that writing
things down was for the purpose of
keeping me from going
under

but it appears I’ve saved any number
of others?

well, being saved happened to
me too:

there was
Celine
Dostoevski
Fante
early Saroyan
Turgenev
Gorky
Sherwood Anderson
Robinson Jeffers
e.e. Cummings
Blake
and
many
others

and
if I can pass some down
to these

the royalties
the luck
and the
honor
are
mine

in that
order.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1985
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: