Notes Upon A Hot Streak

I have been driving to the race track for 30 years
in the worst junk cars imaginable.
I have outlived most of the parking lot attendants
but now I drive up in a new BMW
and some of them remember me from the old days.
“hey, champ!” they say, “how’s it goin’?”
“it’s goin’ ok,” I tell them.
“got a good one for me, champ?” they ask.
I wink and drive on in.
they think I am making it at the races,
they think I have solved the ponies.
“hey, champ, who was that young girl you were
with the other day?”
I drive on in.

I only play the horses like other men play chess:
to make the proper moves and to make them well,
but lately, after all these years, I have begun to
win and I leave with little bundles of money each
it is a very odd feeling but I accept it,
use valet parking, go to the clubhouse.

it is a lovable comedy:
on both the writing and the betting;
they are letting me win
for this moment.

but the attendants seem to think
that I know some secret
“you’re looking good, champ, just give me one
good one and I won’t bother you anymore!”

I smile and drive on in.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript