Edith sent us

you just get in from the track
after losing
and taking the wrong freeway
lost in the dark
the workers roaring around you
eager to get to their tv sets.
you feel very subnormal,
splendid people don’t get lost on
you finally get off 91
onto 7
into 405
into the Harbor freeway
into the Hollywood freeway,
off at Silverlake for your 3 bottles of
then down Hollywood Blvd.
to the side street and on in.
a book of poems in the mail.
you read 5 or 6 poems in the bathtub
then hurl the book from the tub to the wastebasket
get out, towel, then into the yellow robe
for the first drink.
there is a banging on the door.
they want to see you.
2 boys with motorcycle helmets.
“Edith sent us,” says the bald one,
“she said she knew you and it was o.k. for us
to drop by anytime we were in town.”
“I don’t know an Edith,” you tell them.
“we thought we’d get a case of beer and talk,”
he says.
“look,” you say, “I just got my ass beat
at the track.   I even got lost on the freeway.
I was just going to have my first drink.   I’m
beat.   I was just going to sit down…”
you indicate the glass of wine by the
“we thought we’d get a case of beer and
talk,” he says.
the other one never says anything, he just
“I’m beat, don’t you see?”
you ask.
“look,” he says, “suppose we come by some Saturday
with a case of beer when you’re not
so beat?”
“no,” you say, “I’m no snob but I just can’t
do it.”
they go into the night with their helmets.
they’ll get on those freeways
they’ll rear in and out
angling through steel without
doubt or fear or confusion.
they don’t need you.

you sit down.
the first drink, as always, is
the best.

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