reject

it was when I was living down on DeLongpre
and writing dirty stories for the sex mags
I never got a reject
until one day I got one
a furious one:
“Dear Chinaski:
This is well-written but disgusting
because to infer that a man your age
had sex with 5 women in 3 days
is simply the most infantile act of
day-dreaming (night-dreaming?) that I
have ever fallen across…”

I stood there looking out the window
at the sidewalk, the lawn, the sunny
day.
“come here and give me a little kiss,”
said the lady on the couch.
the phone rang.
“this is Ella,” said the phone, “Listen
you bastard, I know you’ve got somebody
there now!   I’m psychic!”
Ella hung up.

“do you like me in this dress?” asked the
lady on the couch.
the phone rang again.
“I want you to come over tonight,” said
the phone.
“who is this?” I asked.
“this is Vera,” she said.
“I’ll be there,” I answered and hung
up.

“do you think I’ve put on too much
weight?” asked the lady on the couch.

“Listen, Susie, we’ve already had sex,
I need some rest,” I told her.

she picked up her purse, opened the door,
slammed it and was gone.

I threw the story and reject into the
wastebasket.

then a red car drove up on the lawn and
a lady got out.
she knocked on my door and I opened it.
“listen, you son of a bitch,” she said,
I saw that woman leaving!   who was that
woman?”

“just a friend, nobody important,” I told
her.

“well, she god damned better not be!” she
said.

“she’s too fat,” I said.

“come on,” she said, “let’s go into the bedroom
and lay down awhile.”

I followed her in as the phone rang.

“aren’t you going to answer it?”
she asked.

“no,” I said, “it’s nothing.”

I sat on the edge of the bed and started taking off
my shoes.

she stood there unfastening things.
“how’s the writing coming?” she asked.

“it gets rough sometimes,” I told her.

“how come?” she asked.

“the god damned editors don’t know anything,”
I answered.

“what do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean,” I told her, “that I get rejected for
the wrong reasons.”

she slid under the sheets as I sat there naked.

“do you ever get rejected for the right reasons?”
she asked.

“hardly ever,” I answered sliding under the
sheets.

“do you like me?” she asked.

“I wish,” I told her, “you wouldn’t wear all that
mascara, it makes you look like a god damned whore.”

“don’t you like whores?” she asked.

then her head was under the sheets and I couldn’t see
her anymore
but I could make out this round object
that might have been a head
sliding under the whiteness
toward my center…

“now wait,” I told her, “you don’t have to do this
if you don’t want to… really…”

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1979
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: