o, the literary life!

I used to meet him now and then at the
boxing matches
and I’d go up to his seat
and we’d drink beer

“that was a sucker punch you threw at that
professor that night,” he told me.   “it was a
roundhouse.   he should have stepped inside and

“I don’t like guys holding my women at parties
when I’m fighting with my women.”

“who do you like this fight?”

“I’ll take the black corner.   5 bucks.”

“you’re on…”

he ran a magazine in town
and printed my poems
but we met too often at parties
and I didn’t like parties.
I only went because my woman
at that time
was hooked on parties like some get hooked on
H or coke.
we went and we brawled and he was there and
his wife was there and his other editor was
and I hate party games
as much as my woman adored them.

being a recluse
in a room full of 25 people
with the stereo going top blast
was no paradise for me.
I care more for something like
Shostakovitch’s 5th.
to keep my sexpot woman
we went to their parties
her parties
sexy hard dancing
on and on
with undertones and
I got very drunk to get
I wasn’t like the others.

finally I was attacked in his magazine
(by one of his shotgun men)
as a writer who no longer had

more attacks came from other
related magazines of the same
it was then that I realized
more than ever
that poetry must be a social thing
and if you weren’t in
you were damned.

he stopped printing me.
a brother magazine of his
printed my name in black borders
as if I had

it wasn’t true:
I was still wiping my ass and
my sexpot left me
and I met a 23 year old redhead
who was sexier
and couldn’t care less for parties
as long as the drink and the pills
were plentiful.

but I still remember the boxing matches
when it was going well
between the young editor in town and

I guess we thought ourselves a couple of
Jr. Hemingways
drinking our beer
making our bets
evaluating the action.
it was a nice enough time.
Paul, I still don’t hate you.
we just had a marriage that didn’t work
and you had too many counselors and too
many parties.

I’m still getting royalties
and you still have your

when I see you at the Olympic again
I’ll take the black corner
once more
for a fiver
and let’s forget all the other

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: