the game-players

parties are mostly for women,
dancing parties,
and the swingers play switchies afterwards,
it’s the game,
and the dirtiest game-players
pretend it’s freedom,
and the men who arrive without women
are the wise,
but both the men and the women
are game-players,
it’s a kind of betrayal
but it is a betrayal without flavor or
something    is given up or away
because it is no longer felt or needed;
this is like the courage of throwing away
an old pair of
but to watch them act it out
they give notice that they are acting from
some divine inner grace of
sacred understanding;
the game-players become jaded,
that is why the music must be constant, loud
and simple;
what they give is little, what they receive is
when the game is
life and a chance at love
you’d think they’d know it,
but worse, they can’t even choose
and after the game is over
they usually end up
putting back on
the same old pair of shoes.

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