note in and from a bottle

31 whores and 32 doors and Christmas like a carp with one eye
there’s always something in the way, there’s always something
gnawing your guts away…
31 whores, 37 whores, one hundred thousand and 8 whores…
I prefer wiping my ass to shaking hands with a stranger…
there’s been a false wind for a long time, ask uncle Ned,
ask the fart virgin with warts…
time has pissed up a whip cream that is quite unsubstantial
and if you rub wool on your balls while listening to
Carmen you might get a little bit of what I mean
and what I mean is–staying alive is somebody else’s ball-
game that you’ve got to play and the madhouses can’t hold
all the mad…
meanwhile there’s always a knife going in, a voice speaking
that says nothing…
31 whores call your name and say they love you while giving
head to Death…
what a copious stink, what an infraction upon the heart
sitting in the chanceless dark…
oh hahaha, let me laugh at a situation comedy
enacted by humans long gone past zero
there upon a piece of glass…
can you tell me which end to come out of?
where to find the handle?
how many times a day should I beat my meat?
can you tell me why I give mercy to stone forms?
can you tell me that all these heads and arms and eyes and legs
and motions and designs and diagrams have meaning?
31 whores with smiles that would break the shells of turtles.
where am I?    this is a joke, a dirty one… now tell me another
one, quick… what?   nothing?   this is it?
I mean, put 100,000 people in a stadium, isn’t there just one
I’d ride a bicycle backwards all the way to Spain, over mountains,
over water, over your grandmother’s wooden leg if you would
only show me one living creature…    one human…

look, I’ll wait a while, I have nothing to do but wait.
I’ll find things to do, clean the furnace, feed the monkey,
trim the parkway, even watch a basketball game…   yet, maybe,
after all, you should hurry, I am being engulfed by the second
hand, it’s beginning to look like a machete…   beautiful
word, ‘machete’… there are other beautiful words: submarine, shark,
shank, sever, sibling, stiletto…
31 whores and no doors, that’s it, the exit is a boomerang and you’re
back to where you threw up…
listen, partner, can you   spare a light?
there!   NO!    PUT IT OUT!

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript