the eternal players

not much inventiveness:
they stand in long lines
hoping that the good dream
comes to them.

not much chance:
run-down shoes,
shirt tails hanging
they lose all day

to go back to roominghouse
rooms
thinking of all the plays
they could have made

but it’s never could have.
it has to be now
and they don’t know
how, they’ll never
know:

opening an evening news-
paper
checking the next days
entries.

thank god and the devil:
hope seldom leaves;
when that happens
it’s cancer
and the hydrogen bomb,
playing checkers with
your old lady
as she talks about
what they talk about.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1982
Source
Original manuscript