funny man

Mr Geomethel liked to hold Saturday afternoon parties
at his house, we always got invitations, and I think
it was my 3rd. or 4th. wife, she always wanted to go,
and she’d keep at it until it was more miserable to
be with her than to be there, so she won, we went up
to Echo Park, parking above on the hill, looking down
at the small grey house, people standing in the yard
were as dull as last week’s race results, she got
excited seeing them, I suppose I kept her too much
away from that sort of thing, she was a country girl.
honest and healthy and full of fondness for the masses.
I liked to eat candy bars in bed with her and she had
the most marvelous cross-eyes, we went down the path
and here were people in the sun and Mr. Geomethel and
the grey hounds of the house and chuck holes in the
ground and everybody holding to some old impulse, some
mystic reason.   when you looked into their irises you
could see the back walls of their heads where suspicious
flicks of downcast mould were imbedded.   my country girl
liked people, not only Mr. Geomethel but Chuck and Randy
and Lila and Creasefoot, and the dog wagging.   she, my
3rd. or 4th. wife, she went from this person to that,
from this group to that finding intense and interesting
things.   I drank what I could of the very bad wine,
vomited secretly behind bushes as she finally vanished,
wanting me to search for her but I puked, drank more,
waited, said yes or no to a few questions passed to me
through the air, then she appeared again to tell me that
Mr. Geomethel had taken her to his bedroom to show her his
paintings, and she was surprised, she said, they were very
every man, I answered her, probably has some kind of decency
if you look long enough.   Mr. G’s decency, I continued, was
probably his very good paintings.
she seemed angry at that, showed me her heel and walked up
to 2 young men leaning up against a slivered fence.   they
seemed happy to see her.
I went inside to the kitchen, opened a cupboard and found
an almost full pint of vodka.   I poured a 3/4 vodka and a
1/4 water.   I found a Pall Mall upon the sink and lit it.
and I knew that my 3rd. or 4th. marriage was over:    out of
my jealousy and envy and all the horrible things.   “you
lack self-confidence,” she told me.    I knew that and I was
very glad that she knew that.    I had a bit more of my drink
then went into the yard and when she sneaked a look at me
she knew that I had passed over to the other side and that
I would not come back because of all those horrible things,
and I felt wonderful like a mallard rising with the hunters
too drunk in their boats to blast me down for their dogs.
still, she walked over and tried me:
well, I suppose you want to go now, just when things are
livening up?
I’d like to go, I said, but this is as good as any.   I
can stay.
for me?   she asked.
for us, I said.   and finally I was no longer bored.
and when Mr. Geomethel came up and asked me how it was
going I told him that I liked his party.
and he said, why, I thought you were a recluse?
I am, I told him.

now my wife #4 or 5, she doesn’t like parties but, of
course, there are other problems.
I still get these regular invitations to Mr. Geomethel’s
I basket them neither in hatred nor in joy
and wife #3 or 4 phones sometimes
says that what she misses is my humor, it’s such a rare
thing.   and I wonder about that because I never remember
her laughing
except with other people
like at Mr. Geomethel’s parties.

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