the glory days

the dead rivers run backwards into nowhere,
the fish cry through neon memories,
and I remember you drunk in bed
in that cheap hotel room
with nobody to live with but me,
what a trundling hell that must have
been, you with
a young sot ten years your junior
pacing the floor in his shorts while
bragging to the deaf gods while
smashing glasses against the walls.

you were certainly caught out of place and
time,
your marriage broken on stained
tiles
and you
being humped by a
bewhiskered jerk who was terrorized by
life, beaten by the odds, this
thing
pacing the floor, rolled wet cigarette
in monkey mouth, then
stopping to
open another bottle of cheap
wine.

dead the rivers of our lives,
hearts like rocks.

pour the red blood of wine.
curse, complain, wail, sing
in that cheap hotel room.

you, awakening… “Hank?”
“yeh… here…what the fuck you
want?”

“hell, gimme a drink…”

the waste
yet the courage of the
gamble.

where’s the rent due coming from?

I’ll get a job.
you’ll get a job.
yeah, fat chance.    fat shit
chance.

anyhow, enough wine gets you past
thinking.

I break a large drinking glass against the
wall.
the phone rings.
it’s the desk clerk again:
“Mr. Chinaski, I must warn you…”

“AH, GO WARN YOUR MOTHER’S CUNT!”

the slamming of the phone.
power.

I am a man.
you like, you like that.
and, I’ve got brains too, I’ve always
told you that.

“Hank?”
“yeh?”
“how many bottles we got left?”
“3.”
“good.”

pacing the floor, looking to fly, looking
to live.
neon memories cry the fish.

4th floor of a 6th street hotel, windows
open to the city of hell, the precious breathing
of the lonely pigeons.

you drink in bed, me playing at miracle,
winebottle corks and full ashtrays.
it’s like everybody’s dead, everybody’s
dead with their heads on,
we’ve got to conquer the flailing of
nowhere.

look at me in undershirt and shorts,
bare feet bleeding shards of glass.

there’s some way out that begins with
3 bottles
left.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1990
Source
Original manuscript