the boil

I was making good with the girls on the assembly line at
Nabisco, I had recently beaten up the company
on my lunch hour,
things were going well, I was from out of
town, the stranger who seldom spoke to
anybody, I was the mystery, I was the
cool number,
almost all those fillies had an interest
in me
and the guys didn’t know
what the hell.

then one morning I awakened in my
with a huge boil on the side of
my head, (right cheek)
it was damn near the size of a
golf ball.

I should have phoned in sick
I didn’t have the sense and
went   on in

it made a difference: the women’s eyes
fell away from mine, and the guys
no longer acted fearful
and I felt defeated by

the boil remained
2 days
3 days
4 days.

on the 5th day the foreman handed me
my papers:   “we’re cutting back, you’re

this was one hour before

I walked to my locker, opened it,
took off my apron and cap
threw them in there
along with the
and walked

a truly horrible walk
to the street
where I turned around
and looked back at the building
feeling as if they had
hideously indecent
about me.

Like this website? Support it.
I want to bring all of Bukowski's poems online and make then freely available. This means hundreds of hours of work to retype over 1,000 of his poems from the original manuscripts. Your donations will help support this work.