the other day we were in this
bookstore in the mall
and Linda said, “look, there’s

“I don’t know him,” I said.

“we drank all night with him
not too long ago,” she said.

“all right,” I said, “let’s get
out of here…”

Bob was a clerk in the store
and his back was to us.

Linda yelled, “hello, Bob!”

Bob turned and smiled, waved.
Linda waved back.
I nodded at Bob, a very
delicate blushing fellow.
(Bob, that is, mostly.)

outside Linda asked, “don’t you
remember him?”


“he came over with   Ella. re-
member Ella?”


Linda remembers all of these.

I don’t understand it, although
I suppose it’s polite and cultured
to remember
I just can’t do it
I don’t want to carry all these
Bobs and Ellas and Jacks and Marions
and Darlenes in my mind.
drinking with them is difficult en-
to attempt to recall them in bookstore
malls is an atrocity against my well-

that they remember me is
bad enough.

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