eating my senior citizen’s dinner at the Sizzler

between 2 and 5 p.m. any day and any time on Sunday and
Wednesday, there’s 20% off for
us old dogs approaching the sunset.
it’s strange to be old and not feel
old
but I glance in the mirror
see some silver hair
concede that I’d look misplaced at a
rock concert.

I eat alone.
the other oldies are in groups,
a man and a woman
a woman and a woman
three old women
another man and a
woman.
it’s 4:30 p.m. on a
Tuesday
and just 5 or 6 blocks north is
the cemetery
on a long sloping green hill,
a very modern place with
the markers
flat on the ground,
it’s much more pleasant   for
passing traffic.

a young waitress
moves among us
filling our cups
again with lovely
poisonous caffeine.
we thank her and
chew on,
some with our own
teeth.

we wouldn’t lose much in a
nuclear explosion.

one good old boy talks
on and on
about what
he’s not too
sure.

well, I finish my meal,
leave a tip.
I have the last table by the
exit door.
as I’m about to leave
I’m blocked by an old girl
in a walker
followed by another old girl
whose back is bent
like a bow.
their faces, their arms
their hands are like
parchment
as if they had already been
embalmed
but they leave quietly.

as I make ready to leave
again
I am blocked
this time   by a huge
wheelchair
the back tilted low
it’s almost like a bed,
a very expensive
mechanism,
an awesome and glorious
receptacle
the chrome glitters
and the thick tires are
air-inflated
and the lady in the chair and
the lady pushing it
look alike,
sisters no doubt,
one’s lucky
gets to ride,
and they go by
again very white.

and then
I rise
make it to the door
into stunning sunlight
make it to the car
get in
roar the engine into
life
rip it into reverse
with a quick back turn of squealing
tires
I slam to a bouncing halt
rip the wheel right
feed the gas
go from first to second
spin into a gap of
traffic
am quickly into
3rd
4th
I am up to
50 mph in a
flash
moving through
them.
who can turn the stream
of destiny?
I light a cigarette
punch on the radio
and a young girl
sings,
“put it where it hurts,
daddy, make me love
you…”

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