not much singing

I have it, looking to my left, the cars of this
night coming down the freeway toward
me, they never stop, it’s a consistency
which is rather miraculous, and now a
night bird unseen in a tree outside
sings to me, he’s up late and I am too.
my mother, poor thing, used to say,
“Henry, you’re a night owl!”
little did she know, poor poor thing,
that I would close 3,000 bars…
now I drink alone on a second floor,
watching freeway car headlights,
listening to crazy night birds.
I get lucky after midnight, the gods
talk to me then.
they don’t say very much but they
do say enough to take some of the
edge off of the day.
the mail has been bad, dozens of
letters, most of them stating,
“I know you won’t answer this but…”
they’re right: ┬áthe answers to myself
must come first
I have suffered and still suffer many
of the things they complain
there’s only one cure for life.
now the night bird sings no more.
but I still have the freeway
and these hands
these same hands
sending thoughts from my alcohol-
damaged brain.

the pleasure of your unseen
climbs these walls,
this night of gentle quiet and
a not very good poem
about it.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript