living in a great big way

nothing ever happened in the Mexican bar, I went there
night after night and nobody tried to kill me and I
got tired of that and found a Chinese bar hidden be-
hind tall trees and I drank away the nights trying to
forget that I was a stockboy for the May Company.
after the bar closed I’d go back to my room and drink
in bed, in the dark.

each day I arrived at the department store, put on my
brown smock and took supplies to the various areas,
rolling along behind my green truck, I was always
deathly hungover but nobody noticed, the other stock-
boys never spoke to me.

it was always the same, some bar at night and my green
truck during the day.

I had the feeling that I could break anybody in half,
just pick them up and snap their backbones but I was
always polite, excessively so.

then it happened, I got into a fist fight in the candy
room with a stockboy they called Charles Atlas and he
beat the hell out of me

then that night I got into a fight with a Chinaman and
he beat hell out of me too.

I took the bus to Houston, got a job in a gas station
and switched from wine to Vodka.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript