the gamblers

the young boys at the track, what are they
doing here?
6 or 7 of them running about, tearing up
their tickets, saying,
“shit!   god damn it!   fuck it!”
they whirl about, they look like virgins,
they are going to bet again.
it’s the same after each race:
“shit!   god damn it!   fuck it!”

they leave after the last race,
skipping down the stairways like fairies,
they wear sneakers, little t-shirts, tight
put all 6 or 7 of them together and you
can’t get 800 pounds.
they’ve never been to jail, they live
with their parents; a shot of straight
liquor would make them puke.

what are they doing at the race track?
I mean, it’s bad enough that my horse
fell in the 4th, snapped his left foreleg
and had to be shot.

I mean, any damn fool can go to the
race track and most damn fools do,
but those little boys hollering
“shit!   god damn it!   fuck it!”

well, there’s no war right now
to stick them into uniforms for
but wait a while.

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