poem for my 72nd birthday, if I get there…

it no longer matters that the waves break against the
shore or that the young girls laugh wildly.
the next drink counts most.
and the next after that

I’ve got to gather myself for the death trick:   look,
there he was, now he’s gone.

I think now of the young man who wanted so
badly to die
and of the old man who doesn’t care whether he
does or doesn’t
the latter way is best
but there is no wisdom attached.

Mahler sings for me tonight.
and this is a great cigar.
and my friend, the bottle, sits to my left.

the dogs of night bark at something they can’t
they too are

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript