the heart’s riot

guts o mammy
guts o mammy
the fleas are asleep in the coat
the fleas are asleep in the coat
the big ship swims like a dog
the water is more pleasant than a kiss
all the paintings are more than beautiful
the soldiers march without guns
the graves are empty
peacocks glide in the rain,
down stairways march great men smiling,
there is food enough and rent enough and time enough,
the girls will not grow old,
Hemingway sits in a theatre on Main street chewing on a liquorice stick,
Dillinger does it again,
Marilyn Monroe goes to bed with me,
arial circuses please children,
there are no sad clowns,
the hospital beds are filled with thousands of flowers,
Tony Galento drinks all the beer in New Jersey,
Shakespeare plays for Notre Dame again
and my arms are young
I roll on the grass
the sky is 40,000 miles to Paris,
we catch bumblebees and put them in jars,
it’s hot it’s summer it’s everything,
the stockmarket keeps going up,
bums wear diamonds on their fingers,
the poorest man is richer than Alexander the Great,
Hitler shakes hands with a Jew,
I pull a dandelion from the grass and smell the sky
and the sky smells like roast beef
the sky smells like god
and the bottoms of Tony Galento’s feet
and I weep because I cannot stand it
I cannot stand still
everything shakes around me
pleasure pleasure pleasure
I am on a bummer
I am a zeppelin
I am row of chorus girls
old ones
feeling good,
I am the knife that kissed Caesar
I am a black drummer in a dive with trembling hands and brain,
I am a burning curtain,
I am divinity and I am piss,
I am Charley Chaplin blowing his nose,
I am quintuplets
I am steaming water
I am stink
I am a snake an edge of glass that cuts I am blood
I am a dwarf playing football for Notre Dame
I am Notre Dame
I am a cunt I am a cook I am balls a bellybutton and weeping
crawling home.

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