night quarterhorse racing, Hollywood Park

the well-to-do whites have gone
South to Del Mar
and many of the remaining whites fear to attend
a track located and running at night
in the black section of this
city.

nevertheless, the crowd packs into a
small area and the lines are long and the
Blacks and the Salvadorians and the Mexicans
and the Orientals
stand patiently in their old clothing–
they are used to waiting, waiting is no big
fucking deal, nor is
betting, as one mutual clerk told me:
“they will just bet on anything, it doesn’t
matter.”

no big deal, dude:   just pick a
number.

the toteboard reacts crazily
and the horses do too:   either a very short-
priced favorite comes in or
some outlandish longshot.
there’s no smart money, there is just
poor money
burning away
mostly on the $2 exactas.

nobody wins.
there is a heavy quiet agony: the money is
badly needed at home and it’s going, going
gone–the dream is mutilated, black-
jacked
and as the races roll on there is a
feeling of
murder in the air–you can smell it, sense
it…

most of the few white faces leave early
not wanting to walk through the parking lot
late at night.
I know they leave early because I am
one of them, I walk along with   my 6 inch
blade in my jacket pocket
remembering one particular night when
it saved my
old
white
ass.

there is nothing like
a night at the
Hollywood Park Quarter Horse meet
to make you aware of where
the money still is:
the money is not green
the money is white
and the few whites are scared
because
they have something still to
lose.

of course, there are
and will always be
poor whites
but we all know who
the poor whites
are, that’s no
problem.

as for these others: no
big deal, dude, just pick a
number.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1986
Source
Original manuscript