days and nights

driving east down Century Boulevard in heavy slow
traffic,
a loser at the track, the early evening is
already quite dark
as I think about other
matters
which also promise almost certain
loss.
I fumble for a cigarette on the
dash, this idiot smiling
inwardly:   things were never much
good, maybe not meant to
be.

I light the
smoke, the traffic stops
the jam seems bigger than
usual, then the light goes to
green and we begin to move so
slowly and
I note: all the
left turn blinkers a-
head of me.
I am in the outside
lane and the cars ahead
are moving into the inside
lane.
I follow forcing my
machine
in front of
another driver who gives way
inch by inch
with a steady
hatred.

then I note the cause of our
discontent, it is blocking the
outside lane: a white sheet covering
a body and
most curiously–blood seeps quickly
through the
whiteness.

traffic picks up, I hear the sirens
far off.

I arrive at the Harbor Freeway
turn South into the
entrance, force myself onto
the freeway
in front of another machine
with another driver
who gives way
inch by
inch.

my radio is tuned to
KNX, I have a last bet going
in the 9th–if
I win that
then my losses are
erased.

I have
Green Fang.

the   race replay begins
as I reach Imperial
Highway:

“it’s Green Fang and
Tab Me
coming down to the
wire!

“too close to
call!   we’ll have to wait
for the
photo!”

the photo says:   Tab
Me.

not much else for a
while
then
just before the San Diego
Freeway exit
and the Harbor Freeway
North
a car has smashed into the
abutment
which separates the North and
South Freeways. The traffic is
stopped on the North, quite slow on
the South.

I am across from the
abutment, see this car
crushed against the
cement.

tow trucks, ambulances, police
cars all
about.
there is a large search light shin-
ing upon the smashed
auto.
a man with a crowbar is trying
to pry open
the door on the driver’s
side.
luckily, I can’t see the
driver.

after that, traffic
begins to roll
again.

reaching the end of the
Freeway, I do a left
turn
onto Gaffey.
traffic is less
though unpleasant
enough.

well, finally I arrive where
I live, run up the
drive, cut the engine, the
lights, get
out, don’t bother with the
garage door, leave it like
that.

I go up, put the key in the
door, go in-
side.

my wife is in
there.

“hello,” I
say.

she’s
depressed.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1990
Source
Original manuscript