How Long Does Love Stay Green? (as long as the money lasts)

when men open doors and walk out into the rain at
3 a.m.
like apes trying to relocate their last
when sleep wants to kill itself
and somebody richer than you
mounts a machinegun upon his roof
to point at you as you search
garbage cans
             I say,
–hello to rocks in the sun
–how long does love stay green?

they’ll tell you what the queen wore at the
opera or who won twenty baseball
as your heart lies next to a dead chicken
outside a Spanish whorehouse
as the pain screams in your
cemetery bones
             I say,
–where did the big dream go?
–hello to rocks in my shoes

and I can buy a rifle for ten dollars and
the collected works of Karl Marx
and a load of bread run with ants
and they’ll find me snoring on the road to
Monterey and
mistake me for a snake
             I’ll say,
–you can fuck my women
–just leave a little wine

in positions status of valor are decorated as
mayors, governers, generals
as oceansful of swimmers rattle their shit-souls
outside hotelrooms whirling with the clotted breaths of
as butterflies like dollar bills fly past
             I say,
–how high the moose?
–how neat the fire?
–how mighty this night?

men jumping out of windows off of towers
off of bridges
through ether and strings of longing
as the nuns burn their bones
in the streets
nun bone, jump bone, cat bone,
how many do we
             I say,
–where do I go when the evenings get cold?
–where’s the goldfish that looked
–where’s sunlight in July?
–where’s the caviar? where’s the dog that
  barked? what’s ariel? where’s
–where’s the woman to bring it to me?
–where’s the baker in the clean white
  hat? the snowman?  Barney Google?
–where the hell am I?
                    sitting in a
pinch-skinned room and writing of
       my dreams walking in kitchens in
       their backs curved like old museum
       they walk alongside roaches and spilled bits of
nebulous cornflake

the greater world is down the street
by the Follies by the Penny Arcade
down where the queers still whistle Dixie through

             I say,
–see grief as an erector set
–forget Spanish fly
–see blackness fondly the falling of cigarette ash
–a way to go go go!
–giggle   gag   drive   a   ’66 and
  kiss my ass)))))))…………….***

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