divorce

maybe when I was seven or
eight
I remember this day
we all decided to play
house.
we got this big blanket
in the backyard
hung it up over sticks
and we all crawled
under there.

we each had a wife.
Frank got Stella.
Gene got June.
and I got
Charlene.
Charlene had the bluest
eyes
they just burned
blue
and she was quiet
in a red dress with white
dots.

I had crappy parents and
wasn’t used to being near
anybody
and under that blanket
we all huddled
together.
Charlene and I put our
arms around each
other.
we didn’t kiss or anything
we just held each
other
and I had never felt
so good.
then it ended: one of
the guys got mad about
something and kicked the
blanket off.

it was Gene.
“let’s get the hell out
of here,” he said.

Charlene got up and
stood there
and I stood close
to her
and her blue eyes
went into me.
“goodbye,” I said to
her.
she just looked with
those blue eyes…

we left…..


for some days
I talked to Frank and
Gene about how
wonderful Charlene
was.

it was some days
later that Gene got me
off to one
side.

“listen,” he said.
“don’t tell anybody
but I’m going to tell you
something about
Charlene…”

“what is it?”

Gene leaned in real close
and whispered it to
me:   “…she wears rubber
panties!”

really?”

“really…”

after that I stayed away from
Charlene.
I mean sometimes I’d see her
out in front of her house
now and then as I
walked by.

I wouldn’t look.
I’d always walk by as if
she weren’t there.

those blue eyes were
nothing, a dog damned
lie.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1982
Source
Original manuscript