the anarchists

one time I got to sitting around my place
and all these fellows had long dark beards
and were very intense.
but crowds of people come to see me.
I usually roust them, get rid of them
and then a new gang arrives.
none of them ever bring enough women,
they hide their women from me.
I drink beer and listen, but not too

but this particular crowd kept coming
back.   to me it was mostly beer and
chatter.   but I noticed that they
usually arrived in caravans and had
some central yet confused organization.
I kept telling them that I didn’t give
a fuck–either about America or about
them.   I just kept drinking.   and each
morning when I awakened they’d be gone–
and that was better than some others.
finally they stopped arriving, and a
few months later I wrote a short story
about their political chatter–which,
of course, was their total idealism.
the story was    published somewhere.

about a month later the leader walked
in and sat down and split a 6-pack.
“I want to tell you something, Bukowski,
we read that story.   We held a council
and took a vote on whether to murder
you or not.   You won, 6 to 5.”

I laughed at him then, some years ago,
but I’m no longer laughing.   and even
though I paid for most of the beer and
some of you fellows pissed on the
toilet lid, I still appreciate that
extra vote.

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