I’m a failure

I locked my car door
and looked up and this
guy walked up
he looked like my old
friend Peter
but he wasn’t Peter
he was this gaunt gringo
in blue workshirt and jeans
and he said,
“hey, man, my wife and I
need something to eat, we
want to go to a Kentucky Fried
Chicken, o.k.?”
I looked over on the sidewalk
and here was his fat Mexican
and she stared at me
her eyes near
I gave him a five.
“I love you, man!” he
hollered, “I’m not going to
spend it for drink.”
“why not?” I answered,
“I would…”

I went into a building
took care of some business
came out
got into my car
as always
contemplating about
whether I had given
or been taken

as I drove off
I remembered my years on the
starved damn near beyond repair
I had never asked for a

that night after some drinks
I explained to the lady I lived with
how so often I gave money to panhandlers
but I myself
in the darkest hungriest times of
madness had
never asked for

“you just didn’t know how to do
things,” she answered.

Charles Bukowski