action…

this is where we live
down at Prarie and Century
the gamblers the hustlers the lovers the
pimps
all those
who think they know…

boy, what a party!   and after it’s over
we’ll all go home and drink Cutty Sark
in air-conditioned flats of nonchalance…

…the dwarf rushes by to make his way to
the ten dollar window
knocking a paper cup of coffee out of a
young girl’s hand.   she had a long bent
neck and upon her t-shirt are the words:
GRAB AND FONDLE, THEN PAY!   she has no
breasts.

I was $118 ahead at the end of the 3rd
now I am $40 down.   I go to take a piss.
I wash my hands.   I even wash my face.
(watch that: you back in that trashbin
fulla monkeys.).  I don’t comb my hair:
I feel silly looking into mirrors.   I
go buy a sandwich.   I bite into it.   I
have begun to hate meat.   it stinks like
vomit.   I don’t understand it.   but
everybody eats it.   I force the sandwich
down.

I am standing there it’s just like a
movie, here comes one of those
a long tall slim one
young and dizzy in long dresses like they
wear now but with a slit running up one
side, almost to the hip (light-dark meat,
almost everybody eats it).   well, I under-
stand what’s under all that showing: pleasure
and trouble.   I don’t need any peek-a-boo
contest:   HUSTLER sends me a free copy of
their mag each month. I’m not a gynaecologist
but pink photography has elevated me.   anyhow,
ho hum, she leans up against me, giving me
flank and a dubious nudge of breast, she makes
me feel like a fucking fool and she says to me,
“lemmee see…” and I say, “see what?” and she
says, “your program, mister… your program,
baby…”
I hand it to her.   she spills some of her drink
upon my shirt.   then she hands the program back.
she runs toward a window.   I watch her ass.   shit
drops out of that.   just like out of mine.

we’ve got something.
it’s the last race and
the 6 horse and the 8 horse are
eleven lengths out, no chance at
all.   then the 6 stumbles and tumbles
into the 8.   the jocks go down in a
freeway crash of horse craziness.
two little men in silk
with the guts of giants within.
such pretty silks…
tiny asses…
smashed into the sod…
(the ambulance proceeds
it seems
not too quickly)

the boys are very still
in the California sun
as the winning number goes up
on the tote.

the 9 race card is
finished.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1978
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: