night cap

there is no avenging angel or red burning devil
there is only me sitting here drunk on beer and
cabernet sauvignon at the age of 70
playing with the word.
I have been playing with the word for so
many decades now.
sometimes people see me on the street
and get excited.
“calm down,” I tell them, “it’s nothing.”

the gods have been kind to me, being a
lush and neither in an institution or a
madhouse or a hospital.
considering all that I pour into myself
my health is remarkably
believe me, I had no idea I would
live this long, I had planned an
early exit and lived with a reckless
don’t be angry, I don’t want to¬†
hog the pages forever.
if somebody fairly good comes
along I will gladly step
I will write the stuff for myself
and to myself.
which is what I have been
doing right along.

yes, yes, I’ve been lucky and
still am, and please be patient,
I will leave some day,
I will no longer defile your pages
with my raw and simple
I will become ultimately quiet.

and then you can
but for now, tonight, I am
working on this wine,
classical music is again on
the radio
and I square off with the
and the words form and
glow on the screen.
son of a bitch, you have
no idea, it has been a
wild and lovely

now I fill my glass again
and drink to it all,
and to my loyal readers
who have kept me off
skid row
and to my wife and my
cats and my editor
and to my car
which waits in the
to transport me to the
racetrack tomorrow
and to the last line
I ever write,
it has been a miracle

“here’s mud in your
eye!” as we used to say
in the thirties.

thank you.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript