out of place

I always knew that there was something wrong
with me.
it got very bad in Jr. High school.
when I walked into a room
all the students would begin talking
at once
it got noisey
and I would stand and stare at them
and the sound would heighten
until the teacher would bang on the
desk:
“ALL RIGHT!    ALL RIGHT!    THAT’S ENOUGH
OF THAT!”

I had no idea of what excited them
and when I sat down at my desk
heads would continue to turn and
look at me.

these occurrences were continuous
and I never did anything untoward or
unusual
so I knew that there was just something
wrong with me.

the teachers, too, acted strangely:
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, MR. CHINASKI?”
and I wouldn’t be doing anything.
“YOU WILL PLEASE REMAIN AFTER CLASS!”

it was usually the female teachers
who did this
and I liked all my female teachers
even though I felt sorry for them
but they never explained to me
what I had done
and I never asked.

on the school grounds it was odd
also:
boys I didn’t know would walk up
to me
ask, “how you doing?”
and I would answer,
“get away from me…”

what it meant,
I never knew.
I had no plans, few desires and
no impulses toward anything
but I sensed that there was something
wrong with me
that I was a freak

and it felt neither good nor
bad,
I accepted the situation and
waited.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1983
Source
Original manuscript