death of the toteboards, Hollywood Park, April 21, 1978

weight off, weight on, early speed, closer, jockey
switch, blinks on, blinks off, claimed last out,
better post, trouble in last, good workout, over-
lay, underlay, early money, late money, middle
money, inside money, must draw in, bet on in
last, top trainer, smart outfit: you can bet that
gambling has contributed its share to the mad-
houses as well as to state taxes, my god, to
come in and look at the curtains and the walls,
listen to the radio, I never thought I’d see
this many horses in a lifetime, and today
the power failed out there, all the toteboards
went out, the lights went out but we bet anyhow
in the dark and they took our money in the
dark and then I knew that all the betters were
crazy and that I was crazy and the horses ran
and one horse won each race and after the last
race we ran to our cars in the parking lot
trying to beat the traffic, trying to get out
of there, trying to get back to our places
where we could rest, get our rest so we could
come back the next day, they promised us that
the toteboards would work again and thanked
us for our patience.

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