I know you

the one with the long hair, legs crossed high, sitting down at the end of
the bar, I’ve had you as a butcher knife against my throat in a cheap
Hollywood kitchen as the nightingale sang elsewhere as laughter
from tv sets mingled with the stratosphere of the roach.
or the piano player in the restaurant who played the obvious
his mouth was a tiny cesspool and his eyes were little wet rolls of
toilet paper.
you rode behind me on my bicycle as I pumped toward Venice as
a boy, I knew you were there even in that brisk wind I smelled your
bad breath.
I had you in the love bed as you whispered lies of passion as your
nails dug me in toward you.
I saw you adored by the crowds in Spain, pigtail boys with swords
colored the sun to your glory.
I saw you complete the circle of friend, enemy, celebrity and
stranger as the fox ran through the sun carrying its heart in its
those giant madmen I fought in the back alleys of bars were
you, yes, heard Plato’s last words.
not too many mornings ago I found my old cat in the yard,
dry tongue stuck out awry as if it had never belonged, eyes tangled
backwards, eyelids soft yet, I lifted her, daylight shining upon my
fingers and her fur, my ignorant existence roared against the
hedges and the flowers.
I know you, you wait and the fountains fountain and the scales
you tiresome son of a bitch, come on in, the door is

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript