professional counseling

it was an eleven o’clock freshman English class
and they had talked me into sitting with them
before my night reading.
it was a college in the midwest.
I read them a few poems.
the students were very polite.
I was sober and nervous.
I was used to reading in nightclubs
to drunks and disturbed people.
“any questions?” I asked.
there was silence.
“all right then,” I said,
“I’ll ask you questions.”
I picked out a boy in the 3rd. row
and pointed at him:
“how many pieces of ass have you had?”
I’d found one.   he blushed and didn’t
“it’s all right,” I said,
“I was a virgin until I was 24.
it’s best to get your rest early
and finish with a rush.”

I read some more poems and
got out.

and meanwhile the eleven o’clock freshman English class
began thinking of lunch.

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