goodbye, goodbye, clipped-winged bluebird

this then
is the arena.
for a certain time
this is the arena
and later you can
rest, maybe.

now, you have shown some
good things
and they expect more.
in the arena
entertainment is important, and
victory.

there have been defeats,
befuddling defeats.
there is no mercy in the
arena,
there is only victory and
defeat,
something living or something
dead.

this arena
is neither just nor good or ugly.

there are some ways out
and some rest,
maybe.

there are some halfways out
some one-quarter ways out
but no rest,
finally.

each temporary escape
has a temporary price

drink or love or dope
will not
hold you through

in this arena
stretching your arms
looking out the window
watching cats and leaves and shadows
thinking of vanished women and old automobiles
Europe runs up and down your rug,
to die is normal in this arena;

sag, sing,
popular melodies in the last of your mind.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1976
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: