Hollywood Ranch Market

she was 32 years younger
than I
with a body built for the
gods
and it was 4:30 a.m.
we’d lived together for
8 months
and she shook me,
“Hank?”
“yeah?”
“I have to have some chicken
gizzards!”
“what?   again?”
“I’ve got to have them!”
“all right.”

we got up and dressed.
outside it was
raining.
we drove to the Hollywood
Ranch Market.
she ordered her
chicken gizzards
and I ordered an ear of corn
and a roast beef
sandwich.

it was beginning to rain
and as we waited
a man without legs
rolled up on a platform.
he had a very dramatic face
with a large nose.
he grabbed my woman around
the calf of one of her
legs
with a hand the size of a
table radio:
“HEY, CLEO, BABY!   HOW YA
DOIN’?”
“BEEFO!” she answered back,
“YOU SON OF A BITCH, HOW YA
DOING?”
“GREAT, BABY, GREAT!   GOT A
LIGHT?”
Beefo had a king-size in his
mouth.
she bent over and lit him
up and one of her breasts almost
slipped out.
“YOU’RE LOOKING GREAT, BABY,
GREAT!   WHO’S THE GUY?   THAT YOUR
OLD MAN?   HEY, MAN, HOW YA DOIN’?”
I bent over to shake and
my hand vanished into his
which seemed filled with
cold cream and desert
sands.

Beefo rolled off into the
rain and she said,
“I want to run down and see
Billyjohn, Billyjohn’s got one
eye and he’s the neatest guy
you ever met!   be right back!”

I paid for the orders
and stood there holding the
bags for 5 or 6 minutes.
then Cleo came back,
“Billjohn’s not there, I
can’t understand what happened
to Billyjohn…”

back in bed we sat upright
eating.   I finished my corn
and my sandwich.   she put her
gizzards down.
“they just don’t taste right,
they just don’t taste like they
used to.”

she stretched out.
then her mouth opened
covered with brown lipstick
and bits of chicken
gizzard.   she began to
snore.

I sat and listened to the rain
then I switched out the
light.

I had to get out of east Hollywood.
they didn’t even bother to
fix the streets
anymore.

Like this website? Support it.
I want to bring all of Bukowski's poems online and make then freely available. This means hundreds of hours of work to retype over 1,000 of his poems from the original manuscripts. Your donations will help support this work.