the good old machine

I was 50 years old when this fellow
took me out of the common labor
market
so that I could sit about all day
and all night and
write.
he promised me a sum of money
for life
no matter what happened.
not that the money was that
much but it was
money.

and his encouragement
since I hadn’t had much of that
surely was a hell of a
lift
especially since he was an
editor-publisher.

he even purchased for me
this large typer which I could
bang away at
a great and powerful
old-fashioned machine.
(also, he sent me little
envelopes full of
stamps, a very kindly
gesture.)
and I sat about in my shorts
drinking scotch and beer and
banging at the machine.

and it was one night
I think about 2:30 a.m. 
and I couldn’t type
anymore
so I phoned my
benefactor:

“hey, these keys are sticking!
there’s something wrong with this
fucking machine!”

“look,” he said, “the machine is
all right, what you’ve got to do
is develop a sense of
rhythm…”

“the fucking machine is no good!”
I yelled and
hung up.

well, the next day and the next
night
I found out that he was
right:

that
the machine worked very well,
it worked so well, in fact, that
the monies he continued to send
became royalties instead of
hand-outs.

and
after 14 years the machine
still worked but
I became precious and
got an electric
which I now use
and which types faster
(if not better)
and the old machine
sits downstairs now
on my wife’s desk
and sometimes I forget about
it
but there are times
like tonight
when I think of that fighting
mad machine down there.
we got so lucky together, but
what I remember best is that
2:30 a.m. phone call
complaining that
the keys stuck.

that’s not saying much
for my thankfulness.

writers, my friend, can sometimes
only write.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1984
Source
Original manuscript