Richard Nixon shook my hand

I was up there, ready to begin when
up walked Richard Nixon with this
glazed smile on his face and he
approached me, reached out and
shook my hand.
what am I doing? I thought.
I was about to give him a verbal
shot but before I could do so
he had faded away
and all I could see was the
audience.

I reached out and poured myself
a glass of vodka from the pitcher.

I must be giving a poetry reading
in hell, I thought.

it was true:  I drained the glass
but the contents had turned to
water.

I began to read the first poem:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud.”

Wordsworth.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1993
Source
Original manuscript