novels

this sister of the woman I was going with
she was fat.
she was fat with flesh and fat with novels.
she wrote a novel every six months
which she would mail to a New York critic
who advertised his services in the writer’s
magazines.
he’d charge her $75,
send her 3 pages of useless criticism
and she’d start her new novel.

she fell in love with every man she went
to bed with.
she was always in love.

her sister made me read her novels.
her sister had a nice ass
so I read the novels.
but the sister who wrote,
her life was more interesting than
her novels–
like her last man who came along,
he had no job,
sang when he got drunk on beer
and we told him he had a beautiful
voice.
(I always agreed with the sisters,
anything else was death)
and the fat sister sent him to
a broadcasting school.

he drank beer night and day and
bullied her 3 children
and I drank beer night and day
and fucked the other sister.

then the fat sister had the last of his
teeth pulled and got him a set
beautiful false teeth.

then he got a job, not broadcasting,
but driving a beer truck.
then the fat sister got pregnant
and he sat around drinking beer
during her pregnancy
because he lost his job on the
beer truck.
then he found a job as a fry-cook
at the local eatery.
then the baby came and he vanished
when he saw the medical bill.

but she never wrote a novel about
that.
“why don’t you write a novel about
that?” I asked her.
“Hank,” she answered, “you’re just a
cynical old drunk and a son of a bitch.
no wonder your stuff sounds like it was
written in a cesspool.”

the next novel she wrote had a cynical
old drunk in it who wrote but he couldn’t
really write at all, he just wrote shit
which appealed to the mundane appetites
of the masses.

it was soon after that
that the other sister and I
split.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1979
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: