Soft And Fat Like Summer Roses

Rex was a two-fisted man
Who drank like a fish
And looked like a purple gargoyle.
He married three
Before he found one.
And they hollered over cheap gin,
Were friendless
And satisfied.
and frightened the landlord.
She hollered plenty
And he would listen dully,
Then leap up red with choice words.
And then she began again.
It was a good life,
Soft and fat like summer roses.
Good bed mates
Until he got hurt at work.
Fatally, it seemed.
And stayed in bed
Smiling it off
While she got a job as waitress
In a cheap cafe
Where the lads were rather rough.
Sometimes drunk, slapping her rear.
He drank gin in bed
And she walked about, saying nothing,
Thinking about a Greek who came in
Touched her hand, quietly said “eggs.”
“Eggs again. . . .”

He drunk the gin in bed
And one night she didn’t come back.
Nor next.   Nor next.
And with a lurch, he got out of bed
And walked holding to walls.
Around and around and around.
And fell, clutching the carpet,
Saying, “O, Christ! O, Christ! O, Christ!”
The Greek was very different,
Said he believed in God;
Loved diffidently, like a butterfly
And had a new refrigerator. . . .

He was sitting in bed with the gin
When she returned, saying nothing, looking.
“Bitch.   Cheap — bitch,” he said.
She climbed on the bed, fully dressed.
Later he stood upright on the floor,
Said, “I’m going to work tomorrow
And you — stay out of that goddamn cafe.”

Charles Bukowski
This poem appeared in the following books: