punch-out

I remember best coming out of that warehouse into the
night
none of us saying too much
glad to get out
but needing the job
–getting into our old cars
one could hear the grinding of the starters
then sudden roars and explosions as
the worn engines fired once more
–as we backed wearily
in and out of parking
to pull off
leaving the warehouse back there
–each of us to a different place
–some to a mate and children
–others to empty rooms or
small apartments…
:for me
I never knew if my woman would be there or
not
or how drunk she would be
if there
–but for each of us
the warehouse waited there
our cards punched and
racked.

for me
the best time was
driving from the warehouse to where I lived
stopping at the signals
between a place I didn’t want to be
and a place I didn’t want to go
–I was caught between errors
but so were most of the others
not only in that warehouse
in that city
but in the world
entire:
we had no chance
yet still
endured.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1984
Source
Original manuscript