slow night

sitting here at the typer I can see the headlights of
the cars coming down to the end of the Harbor Freeway.
I’ve been watching these headlights for an hour and
thirty minutes.
Linda has come in, shown me two polaroid shots of the
cats, and left.
there are only operas and love songs on the radio
tonight and the gamay beaujolais doesn’t seem to be
maybe I’ll go into the bedroom and watch a horror
movie on tv.
here’s Linda again, she wants to know how to spell
a couple of words, she looks in the dictionary.
my theory is, if you can’t spell a word, don’t use
(see, say the critics, he’s all right but basically
anyhow, I’ve been thinking about the cold freeze
all over the nation and having been a bum of some
time I can’t help thinking, what happens to the bums?
and I get my own answer:   many of them die.
on my radio a man sings:   “Just keep on truckin…”
there are certain nights when nothing can be done.
I am back to looking at walls (and car headlights).
I only have rare thoughts of suicide during the day.
now it’s back to looking at walls (the gamay beau-
jolais is working, I just repeated a line) but
I’m always glad to have the walls, I need to be
enclosed; if there was another life I must have been
a gopher.

this poem, of course, is meaningless, a practice in
typing, and if you’ve read this far you must feel as
I do:   insufficient but durable anyhow.
and I can type this and even feel good about it
watching the spools move, the black ribbon jumping,
Linda will have no idea that I have failed.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript