no dice

reading poetry from a poetry magazine
I feel as if I have been lightly slapped by
a dead fish.
I rise from the bed and move about
the room
looking for myself.
I am standing by the closet, grinning.
I walk over, get into myself,
walk down the stairway.
my wife makes note of me, is not
stunned.
I stand before the glass doors which
lead to the yard.
as always, I have this gentle urge to
throw myself through
them.
instead, I go sit on the couch
my gut bugs out.
my wife is in a peaceful mood.
then the god damned phone
rings.
our answering machine tells
the caller:
“THERE IS NOBODY HERE,
BELIEVE US.”
the caller hangs up without leaving
a message.
we are grateful.
the night comes through the glass
doors.
I get up and let one of the cats
out.
he has blue eyes and wears a
mask.
I stand there looking at my
wife.
“I tried to read some poetry
tonight,” I say.
“I know,” she
answers.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1991
Source
Original manuscript