Sumatra Cum Laude

sitting across from my kindly lawyer, I
think, in this society one needs a good
lawyer, a good tax accountant, a decent
auto mechanic, a sympathetic doctor and
a faithful wife, at least, in order to
also, one needs a talent of one’s own,
very few friends, a good security
system and the ability to sleep at

you need at least these things for
beginners and as enders, of course, you
hope to evade the long illness, the
senility, the death before death, you
hope for the quick clean finish and
very little mourning from anybody
closely connected.

sitting across from my kindly lawyer, I
have these thoughts.
we are on the 16th floor of a downtown
and I like my lawyer, he has fine eyes,
great manners.
also, he as gotten my ass out of
several jams.

meanwhile, among other things, you need
a good plumber who doesn’t overbill and
you need a good jock who knows where the
wire is
so your number comes up on the tote
now and then
so you don’t have to join the homeless,
the mad, or the wilfull killers just

so you can go home and open up that
small wooden box that says Sumatra Cum
Laude, take one out, light it to the
luck and the will and the way

as the small bluebird flies home
and the snow that looks so good
before the rain and the tires

that change it
to black

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript