the gravel of sunlight

fourhundredthousanddogs tangle in my brain among the kelp and seaweed
as my grandmother pulls the little night curtain around the cages of
her canaries in Hades       it is time to breathe free again       as the
drunken troops of forever       are frozen into a mould       and are
dropped over an edge       never recorded       never considered       never
spelled out in word       paint or       song.

lambast the honeysuckle growers       turn the finches into eagles
mail the letter today before you forget       tomorrow.

money only makes us better:       another challenge not to die       in the
shallow wading pools of       infinite       infecundity.

in grammar school I knew       under the sizzling emptiness       of the
recess bell       that the flags of love       were folded close       and
closed       I knew more than the books       yet less than I should       much
less       but       in grammar school I knew       something terribly untold
as the teams were       chosen       in that yard of       gravel       the wasted
centuries       shrunk       to the size of a       ball       importantly

hear the bastard tub-thumpers in their       mildewed gallantry
stretch the larynx over the buttocks       of the dizzled sow       celebrate
nothing       divide me by you by me by me.

pulsate in the frog agony       several times over.

rip the phone from the wire       terminate the khansamah       wire
collect       avoid battery watches       avoid you:

set sail       sit       shit.

the recess bell broke us       like hammers from the sun.
we ran outside       outside to nothing       there       strikeout
the largest face so blank       the wire fences cried.

fourhundredthousanddogs tangle in my brain       across the night       across
the day       across voices without       language       across forts of idiots
famous for their       shrinking insights       their petty measurements of
entertainment and       art.

we are hunted forever until the       last hunter       and we will meet him as
we have met       all other things.       our wrists have been wrists       our eyes
set in our damnable sockets       our feet in or out of stockings.       whatever
we have       whatever we had.       twisting the odds.

like a snail dropping from a       leaf       leave us alone       we are fine       we
knew more than the       books

we gave it

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript