the faithful wife

she wrote such sad tired poems
of futility
and her letters to me
were the same:   just
drifting yawns of
going on.

we exchanged letters for
some years.
I was mad and suicidal
and had nothing but
bad luck
with women
so I continued to write
her
thinking, well, maybe
this way
no ill will come of
things.

but
one night
she was in town, she
phoned me:
“I’m at a meeting of
The Chaparral Poets of
California.”

“o.k.,” I said, “good
luck.”

“I mean,” she asked,
“don’t you want to
see me?”

“oh, yeah…”

she told me she would be
waiting at a certain bar
in Pasadena…

I had half a glass of
whiskey, 2 cans of beer
and
set out…

I found the bar, went
in.
there she was (she had
sent photos) the little
housewife giddy on
martinis.
I sat down beside
her.

“oh my god,” she said, “it’s you!
I just can’t believe it!”

I ordered a couple of drinks from
the barkeep.

she kissed me right there, tongue
and all, as she grabbed my
cock.

we had a couple more
then got into my car
with her
holding my cock
I drove the freeway
back to my place
where I sat her down
to whiskey with beer
chasers.
she began talking about
poetry
but I got her back
to the bedroom anyhow
got her onto the bed
all stripped down
except for the
panties.
I had never seen
such a
beautiful body…

I began to slip the
panties off but she
said, “no, no, I can TELL
you’re very POTENT, you’ll make
me pregnant!”

“well,” I said, “what the
shit.”

I rolled over and went to
sleep…

the next morning
I drove her back to her
Chaparral Poets’
hotel…

as the weeks and months
went on
her letters kept arriving.
I answered some, then
stopped.

her letters kept arriving.
there wasn’t much news
but many photos: photos of
her children, photos of her;
there was one photo of her
sitting alone on a rock
by the shore.

the letters came less and
less, then stopped….

add some years
some women
many addresses–
a new letter found
me:
the children were grown
and gone.
her husband had lost his
part of the business, his
partners had knifed
him.
they were going to have to
sell the house.

I answered that
letter.

two or three weeks
passed.
her next letter said
that there is a divorce.
it’s final.
she enclosed a photo.
I didn’t know who she
was.
172 pounds.   she said
she’d been living on
submarine sandwiches and
re-fried beans.
looking for a job.
never had a job.
she can only type
23 w.p.m.
she enclosed a small
chapbook of her poems
signed “Love…”

I should have fucked her that
long-ago night.
I should have been a
dog.

it would have been one good
night for each of us, especially
for me
stuck between suicide and
madness
in bed with the beautiful
housewife,
never a body like
that.

now I don’t ever have
her letters.
there are nearly a hundred
of them
in some university
archive.

and this is
a sad tired poem of
futility.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1982
Source
Original manuscript