swinging from the dumb hook

often times while driving down the freeway I feel like
putting my head on the steering wheel and sleeping,
or in the supermarket check-out line while the girl is
tabulating the sale I feel like reaching out and tearing
the top of her dress away so that I can look at her
breasts, and
often times in the mornings when I awaken I don’t feel
like getting up and doing my toilet and dressing and
beginning to do what should be done, instead I feel
like staying in bed for 3 or 4 days and nights
often times when I have stopped my car at a red light
and there aren’t any other cars about I have this
desire to go through the red light
and then when I get that thought I get another thought
who is allowing me to drive this car?
it doesn’t seem sensible that I am allowed to steer
and stop and start and speed this machine just like
I saw that old lady in the blue hat doing
a few moments ago as we passed each other on a
steep hill.
or sometimes at night I awaken and sit upright
and I stare straight ahead out the window at the
night but meanwhile I can feel my dumbness sitting
there next to me, stacked up next to me like a
set of rubber tires,
and even when I am copulating sometimes
I think, what am I doing copulating?
I am spooked continually by having to do all the
ordinary things, the things most people can do so
I sit here drunk now at 12:09 a.m. and I want to
light this cigarette and I keep picking up the same
5 or 6 empty book matches, opening them and staring at
their insides.   anybody else would have a cigarette
lighter, anybody else would be asleep, instead at this
moment I think of a totally insane woman I lived with
for 3 years who could do all those many tiny things
properly and without thinking, and still probably

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: