it’s curious, isn’t it, that some have so many millions of
dollars that they are not exactly sure      how many
while others in the streets      steal pieces of cardboard
old shoes      from each other.

and      one group      is not always separated
from the other by some      real talent      some exact
knowledge      some heady      contrivance
no      it’s more like      an odd mathematic
something falls into      place      some trick      some
feeding device      or pure damned      luck:
being chosen hero or      idol      by an idiotic public
with the worst of      taste.

this land is full of      the talentless      rich.

or it’s all passed down      from the monied      family

enough money      simply left alone      grows upon itself
it’s called      interest      and it does upon itself
without      technical      brilliance.

it seems fairly damned      unfair and it is      as the other
people      steal cardboard      old shoes      from each other
mug for relief      checks.

curious, isn’t it?

how so many have so much overmuch      and so many more have
nothing       at all.

and revolution ain’t worth      bird droppings      because the
State      in an attempt to redistribute      the wealth
keeps the wealth and becomes      the power.

and money      of course      isn’t all that important      unless
you are      completely      without      it.

then you learn      as I learned one freezing night      in
Atlanta      that the churches lock their doors      at night
and you look around and notice      that there are locks

everything is owned and locked      and the lights go
out      and it is quiet      and the streets look
very strange      and empty      and you realize that
nobody cares      whether you die or
not      and you remember odd moments      like sitting
in a highschool biology class      or bicycling
down to see      the beach.

curious, isn’t it?

that as a human you will still get a certain
recognition:      if you die in the streets      you
will get picked up more quickly      than a dog or a

we simple creatures try      to pass through
life      with as little pain and as much      joy as
most of us don’t even ask for      joy      just a
survival      with a bit of      easiness.

but the hospitals and      the madhouses      and the
jails      are full
as others      sail in yachts and drink the best of
champagne      and are cared for by      physicians
who are      kept      almost like      housepets.

your viewpoint      so often depends upon      where you

tonight I am      on the second floor      of an old house
in San Pedro      drinking good wine.

curious, isn’t it?

I had this suicide complex      tried all devious and
inventive      ways      of doing myself      in
and now      if I make it      a few more months
I’ll be      70 years      old.

I was poor for so long      that I always knew      just
how much      money I had      often down to the
penny      7 cents      8 cents      9 cents
but I didn’t want to       suicide      because of the
poverty      it was a more generalized scope of things
which I won’t      bother you with      here.

but I remain      and will always remain      puzzled      as
to how it all works      why there are people stealing
cardboard and shoes      down in the streets.

and don’t believe what some      sources      tell
you      that most of them are      mad      or drugged
or      incompetent      or ignorant or
many of them are normal      actual human beings
caught      out of      place.

it’s the flashing of shadow      the intolerable
fix      waiting for Godot      waiting for      something–
not rain but      miracle
to undo the      waste      the loss      and damn it
yes!      the injustice of it
two hands, two legs, belly, heart, sexual
organs      most of the      parts

this is the      Twilight Zone      this place upon
the earth      pulling the cardboard over you
against the night      as
high in the hills      the talentless      idiot
famous      laugh      fart      snort
knowing      nothing
already dead      in front of blazing      fires.

curious, isn’t it?

that I feel like      opening my mouth      and
screaming      but I can’t      because I’m,
doing      nothing      about it

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript