bad day

“Jesus,” he said, “I’m just worn out, I’m weak,
I’ve lost my movement.”
we were sitting at a table before the last
it hadn’t been a very good day
for anybody–
an admixture of chalk and longshots.

“well, shit,” I said, “I’m going to play
the exacta, 9-2 and 2-9,
I can’t see the favorite getting up
in time,
he’s gotta come from too far out of

“what do you do when you get home at
night?” he asked.

“I read the Form, watch tv and drink

“Jesus,” he said, “that’s awful.”

“what do you want me to do?” I asked,
“get religion?”

I got up and bet the exacta and
then I watched the race.

the one horse won at eleven to one.
he won by 6 lengths.

there was nothing to do but
walk out of there and go down
to the parking lot.

soon it would be getting into summer
and I’d get myself a dark tan and
wear my green shades.

I picked up the Form on the way
the poor newsboy had the fingers
of his right hand
sliced off
half way down.

there was going to be heavy traffic
on the freeway, those workers
coming home.

I’d open up the sun roof and put in
a cassette of Sibelius.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: