oh, to be young!

4-f in Louisiana, couldn’t get by the shrink, didn’t mind, liked to
drink but that was about all, the   only talent I had–otherwise,
couldn’t figure top from bottle from middle–sitting in the
GANG PLANK BAR with the toothless whores and the super idiots
of that night, the drinks were cheap but watered and I wanted to
be in love with a millionairess and live with her in a New York
city penthouse with green plants all around with octopus arms but
no, of course, it wasn’t that way, it was that everything was
dry and dumb and listless, and there I sat in my body with all
my parts, smack right into the middle of history which wanted
nothing to do with me and I didn’t want much to do with it and
it was very strange but not so strange because my father had
told me that the way I THOUGHT that there was no chance, I would
be a useless misfit doomed to early destruction and shame, and
I had no DRIVE, he said, and he was right because the best I
could feel was when I was sucking on those watered drinks–
that seemed the apex to me… and the proudest thing I
could think of was my rented room across the street–paid up
for one FULL WEEK–that was plenty miracle for me, and
the people in the bar thought I was crazy just like the army
shrink had thought–and they didn’t speak to me, but then they
hardly spoke to each other
that night I got tired of the bar and I walked out and kept
walking and I walked and walked all the way down to the gulf
and sat with my legs dangling over the pier
considering nothing but the waiting
and I sucked on the bottle of wine I had purchased somewhere
and I listened to the water making impostumate sounds like
woosh woosh woosh
over and over again
and I liked that but the water stank and I got up and
walked around the edge of the pier and into the darkness at
the left and I was drunker than usual and then I was walking
through mud with a light rain falling and I thought, man, you
must be crazy like they say
why do you keep walking through the mud?
and then a searchlight was shined at me from a tower
(I saw the tower framed behind the light and I thought, what
is that?) and a voice screamed “HALT!”
the war was everywhere and I had stumbled into precious
territory and I turned and started running and the
was a shot and another shot (and a pause) and another
shot.    somebody was
firing on me but
why? and I stumbled and fell into the mud
I got up and I thought, fuck it, this fits your suicide complex
and I stopped running
I walked and
there were a couple of more shots but not nearly as close as
the others and I kept walking through the mud until I found a street
and I walked down the street and down the street and
I walked all the way back to the GANGPLANK BAR
and I walked in and sat down and ordered a drink.   I
was covered with mud–all over face, hands, clothing–yet
nobody said anything and the bartender served me and I picked up
my watered drink and drank it down
ordered another
drank it down
and just for the hell of it
didn’t pay
walked out of there and back to my room
sat in a corner like cheap Jack Horner
took off my shoes
my stockings
sporiferous with mud
and I thought, I’m never going back to that bar again
and I didn’t–
it was the most somewhere of nothing I had ever
been and I had been to
too drunk to undress and not wanting to dirty the
roominghouse sheets
I slept upon the floor
to be checked later
by my roomies
the roaches
for sanity or whatever they were
looking for.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript