my father wanted me to be a mechanical draftsman but

I decided on writing.
it’s easy.
I just sit here picking at these scabs and blackheads
until something comes along.
when the phone rings I pick it up and piss in it.
downstairs my girlfriend reads about Scott and Zelda.
“we’re Scott and Zelda,” I tell her.
then she gets mad.

I get sick letters in the mail.
people want to come by and see me.
they send me letters about their lives and enclose poems.
my advice to young writers is to stop writing the way I do.
I mean, it won’t help.
the editors are just going to say,
“Jesus, this guy writes just like Dostoyevsky.”

the best thing about writing is that it will never
let you down.
it might let other people down but not you.
like you can find your wife fucking the green giant
on your couch at 3 a.m,
and you can run upstairs and type out a poem and
get even with both of them.

I really never liked Scott or Zelda for what they wrote down
it was what they drank down and how they acted after that.
of course they knew Hemingway and Hemingway knew Miro and
Miro knew Picasso and Picasso probably knew Joyce and Joyce
probably knew D.H. Lawrence and D.H. knew A.Huxley who thought
he knew everything
but like I said I only liked the way Scott and Zelda drank
and my father wanted me to be a mechanical draftsman
but it pleases me more to sit here like this and to say
anything I want to while drinking Valpolicella
looking off the balcony into the San Pedro harbor
it’s easy
all these scabs and blackheads were worth it.

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