kiss those days goodbye

once upon a time       the men used to sit around
the front room       smoking cigars       drinking brandy
and speaking of the       important things       the manly
things       as the ladies stayed       in the kitchen
preparing the dinner       and we could smell       the
aroma       of the spices mixing       the onions       the
cooking of the meat       the other magic       bits.

meanwhile       more brandy       and       more talk.

we had come through       in a very difficult       world
we were intact       invincible and very       male: our
bodies       our dress       our manners       we were the cock-
a-doodle doos       damn right       we were the       lions
sitting in that       house       as the feast was       being

it was our just       due       no questions       asked.

and at mealtime       we would fill       ourselves       we would
overfill       ourselves       making appreciative       sounds
nodding affirmatives       to our ladies       who would be very

then the removal       of the main       course       and on with the
dessert       and the       coffees.

that done       the ladies       would remove       the empty dessert
plates       and we would       sit       awhile       over our       coffees
as the ladies       began       washing the       dishes       in the

“well, let’s go to       the front room,”       the host would finally

there       we would switch from       brandy to whiskey       or scotch
sobered by the       meal       we had a way       to go       lighting new
cigars       as the sound of       running water       and the clanking of
plates       emanated from the       kitchen

we had the world       exactly where we       wanted it

until that       female lib       thing       started       now       we are often
in the kitchen       washing the dishes       and sometimes we have to
cook the meal       too.

the ladies get       to cocktailing       around 2:30 p.m.
chatting       gossiping       they get giddy       giggle       and
stumble about:       or sometimes       get into tearful

the kitchen is       forgotten       the ladies are totally
liberated       they chain-smoke       and wear       pants instead of
skirts       and they curse       simple as a matter       of course
they toss around       words like       “fuck”       “shit”       and
they are particularly fond of       “piss-off!”
they spill drinks upon       themselves       laugh hysterically.

the men are       uncomfortable       give each other       little side
glances       say nothing       just as the women       used to

the men have given       up smoking       and drink sparingly:
“somebody’s going to       have to drive the       car.”

the ladies talk about       everything       politics       world
affairs       the homeless       and sundry other       subjects.

once in a while       one of the men       will speak       it will be
something       about sports       like       “I think the Angels need a
new       center fielder.”

“what?” one of the other       men will ask       “I can’t hear you.”

the ladies are laughing       talking loudly       cursing       smoking
pouring new       drinks….


“I said, ‘I think the       Angels need a new       center fielder.'”

“oh yes       I think you’re       right there….”

then the men will fall       into       silence.

they are waiting for the       night       to       end.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: