Prayer For Broken-Handed Lovers

. . . in dwarfed and towering rage, in ambulances of hate,
stamping out the ants, stamping out the sleepless ants
forevermore . . . pray for my horses, do not pray for me;
pray for the fenders of my car, pray for the carbon on
the filaments of my brain . . . exactly, and listen,
I do not need any more love, any more wet stockings
like legs of death crawling my face in a midnight’s
bathroom . . . make me sightless of blood and wisdom and
despair, don’t let me see the drying carnation
pinking-out against my time, buttonholed and rootless
as the tombs of memory;
                                               well, I’ve been bombed out of
better places than this, I’ve had the sherry shaken
out of my hand, I’ve seen the teeth of the piano move
filled with explosions of rot; I’ve seen the rats in the
                 leaping like rocks through the flames;
pray for Germany, pray for France, pray for Russia,
do not pray for me . . . and yet . . . and yet I can see again
the crossing of the lovely legs, o more sherry and more
disappointment, more bombs–surging seas of bombs,
my paintings flying like birds amongst the earrings
and bottles, amongst the red lips, amongst the love letters
and the last piano, I will cry that I was right: we never
should have been.

Charles Bukowski
This poem appeared in the following books: