the horseplayer

how strange it is on
a hot summer
to come back in
and go over your figures
trying to piece together the action
at the track,
sitting in your undershirt,
sucking on a cold beer,
going over it all once again,
getting ready for next time,
the magic time
when everything you bet on
comes in,
just to put life straight,
just to show who’s in control,
going over the consensus,
speed, pace, consistency,
money earned,
it’s all there,
just around the corner,
the eternal secret,
better hurry,
the time is short,
you’ve seen 70,000 races,
many of the jocks you knew
are now dead,
better hurry, Chinaski,
don’t drop the whip,
go for the opening,
the wire is rushing up
at you
sitting in your room
in your undershirt
on a hot summer night,
cigarette dangling,
it has to be madness,
it was always
this endless search for the
truth that
still can’t be

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript