burning bright

I read about him in the sports pages,
he’s a kid, just graduated from highschool,
he’s never fought anything but four rounders,
4 four rounds in which he’s k.o.d
each of his opponents
in the first minute of each fight.

they put him on the card every two weeks
or so
and he sits in his dressing room
warming up.
then they have to come in
each time
and tell him the same thing:
the guy failed to show.

he can’t even get anybody to spar with
down at the gym.

“put him in a six rounder!
put him in a ten!” says his manager.

“not enough experience,” says the

it’s hell when you’re too good
to make money.

another fighter called Van Gogh
found that out.

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