the great escape

listen, he said, you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a
no, I told him.
well, what happens is that now and then one crab
will stand on top of the others
and begin to climb toward the top of the bucket,
then, just as he’s about to make it out
another crab grabs him and pulls him back
really?  I asked.
really, he said, and this place is just like that, none
of these want anybody to get out of
I believe you, I said.

just then the supervisor walked up and said,
you fellows were talking,
there is no talking allowed on this

I had been there eleven and one half

I got off my stool and climbed the
and I reached up and pull myself right
out of there.

it was so easy it was unbelievable.
but none of the others followed me.

and after that, whenever I had crab legs
I thought about that place.
I mean, I thought about that place
maybe 5 or 6 times.

then I switched to lobster.

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