well, put my ass on backwards, phone China, notify the iceman he
forgot to deliver, run the birds off the wire, dial 911,
buy a painting of a red dove and remember Herbert Hoover,
what I am trying to say here is that 6 nights out of the last
8 there have been visitors, all self-invites and like my wife
says, “we don’t want to hurt their feelings,” so we have sat
about and listened to these, some of them famous and some of them
not so; some of them fairly bright and entertaining. some of them
not so
but it all ends up as chatter, chatter, chatter, voices, voices,
voices, a polite heady whirling of sound and there’s a loneliness
there:   they all want to be recognized in one way or the other,
they want to be listened to and that’s understandable but
I am one of those human beings who would rather sit quietly
with his wife and 6 cats or I liked to sit upstairs alone
doing nothing.
the idea is that I am selfish and that these people diminish
me, and the longer I sit and listen to them the more I feel like
a piece of dung but I don’t get the idea that they feel like
pieces of dung, I feel that they enjoy the sounds from their
and when they leave almost all of them make little gestures toward
future visits.
my wife is nice, makes them feel warm as they exit, she’s a good
soul, so good a soul that when, say, we eat out and get a table
she always takes a seat where she can “see the people” and I take
a seat where I can’t.

all right, so I was forged by the devil: almost all humankind
disinterests me and no, it’s not fear although certain things about
them are fearful, and it’s not competition because I don’t want
anything that they want, it’s just that
in all those hours of
voices voices voices
I feel nothing essentially either kind or daring or noble, and
really and finally
hour after hour
not the least bit worth all that time shot through the head
and you remember when you used to run them out into the night instead
of just letting them wear themselves
those with their lonely wish for accolade, and you are ashamed of
yourself for putting up with their mostly pure crap
but then your wife would say or at least think,
“do you think that you are the only living person on earth?”

you see, that’s where the devil’s got

so I listen to them and they are

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript