if it doesn’t get you now
it will get you then
and even before it gets you then
it’s going to get some of you now
so there won’t be so much to take then.

it’s been busy with everybody you know,
public and private.
sometimes it happens almost overnight,
other times it takes a bit longer
but it never misses
the sweep is clean.

the bathing beauties turn to scrub ladies,
the orators spit out their vocal chords,
the great hitters go blind at the plate,
the tight-rope walker trembles in space,
the invincible heavyweight king crumbles to the canvas,
the world’s great painter takes a shotgun to the cornfields,
funeral follows funeral   in caterpillar hush,
it’s all so awful, really awful, I just can’t talk about it

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript