it’s all so clearly simple

the night the dogs came by to say
hello
was near the time
to end it
as the ladies on the telephone
screamed their furies
at me.
the night the dogs came by to say
hello
I gave them cigarettes and beer
and they told me about the
poet
who had to go to Paris
to select his poems for his book of
selects
and we smiled at that
the dogs and I
and we thought about starvation
mornings
deadly noons
evenings of elephantine
miseries.
the dogs said that all that mattered was
enduring the obvious
it was all we were worthy of:
a minor bravery
beat
chucking it
although we weren’t sure
why.
the dogs said that was the best
part:   not being
sure.

the night the dogs came by to say
hello
we all mused about whatever happened to
Barney Google with the googly
eyes:   probably died for the love of
a strumpet as many good men
do
or went to London and walked in the
fog
waiting for
sinecure.

the night the dogs came by to say
hello
the walls were stained with mellow
agony
and beakers of curdled wine
dusty with almost dead spiders
sat about like memories best
forgotten.

the dogs said it was best to
choose what to
remember
and if anything were
best
maybe it was smoking cigarettes and
drinking
beer
and talking slightly about things
but
not too
much.

also said that most things were
a copy of the original
and that the original was not
much good.

left soon after that
and the phone kept ringing
as the ladies screamed their furies
at me.

what they wanted I didn’t have
and what I had
they didn’t want.

for them
I wish the dogs would say
hello.

hello hello hello and
hello.

Like this website? Support it.
I want to bring all of Bukowski's poems online and make then freely available. This means hundreds of hours of work to retype over 1,000 of his poems from the original manuscripts. Your donations will help support this work.