whenever I go into a
cafe I try to find a
table alone and I do
and think, well, this
is nice.   but soon
somebody will take
the booth behind me.
2 men will and they
will both talk very
loud about dull and
obvious subjects and
the man whose back is
up against mine (in
the other booth) will
begin to bounce back
and forth upon the
back of his seat and
I will have to live
with the rhythm of
his bounces.

one time I told my
girlfriend that what
would happen, and I
had just finished
when 3 men walked in.

there were 5 other
tables but they took
the one next to us
and they began to
talk very loud about
dull and obvious sub-
jects and the man
nearest to me began
to bounce upon the
back of his seat.   al-
so, of course, they
laughed continually
and flirted with the

I can’t understand why
people want to be close
together.   it kills trees
and plants, things that
want to grow. If
selectivity, it seems to
me, is the last chance of
a falling civilization.
one selects what one eats,
listens to, reads, sleeps
why is it that people in
cafes select each other
without questions and then
ask for a menu?

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