I don’t know about you but

when I had rats in my room there were
no mice
and when I had mice there were no
roaches
and no matter where I lived
(except in one place)
all the rooms seemed to have
working people in them
and they were very quiet.
too often I was the only madman
in there,
behind in my rent,
sucking on cheap wine,
wondering how I got that way.
I figured it was my father’s
fault,
it sure as hell couldn’t be mine.
those landladies terrorized me,
bumping their vacuum cleaners
against my door as I lay sweating
on my hangover bed.
once in a while I’d get out and
luck onto a bit of
money
and then it was back to the room,
sucking on the wine night and
day, the shades down,
hiding out like some mole
creature.
at times I would make the
neighborhood bar
and sometimes this meant
women

and it was always better with
a woman,
you could share your disgust with
the universe with
her
and when there wasn’t any food
and little hope
you could make love again and
again, you had nothing but
time.
best, of course, was really getting
drunk and then you could pace
the floor, smoking, strutting,
telling her what a tough guy you
were, what a great
man.
but those ladies were hardly
dependable
even when they declared their
love for you,
you’d often come back to find
them gone and your little
money gone
and then it was either
go to some bar, find her,
terrorize her and everybody
in the bar,
or just forget it,
which you seldom
did.

you planned suicides in those
rooms,
tried a few, didn’t make
it.

still, all in all, for all the fear
and madness and not
knowing,
I loved those rooms, the
door closed, myself on the
bed looking at the ceiling,
letting the hours and the days
and the weeks roll
by,
I memorized everything,
the knobs on the dresser,
the cracks in the mirror,
the dirty bathroom floor,
the empty bottles,
and things like a week old
newspaper laying on the
floor, you read the same
headline everyday,
and sure, it was my father’s
fault, he had told me that
I would be a bum
and I waited in those rooms
and I waited in those
rooms,
I was a man of extreme
leisure
and I don’t know about
you
but I think it was one of the
best times of my
life.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1991
Source
Original manuscript