the last salamander

it’s freezing again, and the snitch is brightening up
to the warden; I’m down ten with six to go, tar is in
the bell and Darlene broke her left kneecap; the hunter
weeps in the bracken, and in the mirror I see eyes for
pennies; this war is like a dead green shawl
as the last salamander
gets ready to
I am down twelve with four to go;
the boy broke the mower on an apricot seed;
the skyscraper trembles in the bleeding January night,
I am down fourteen with two to go; I will double up
face down, go for broke;
might be time for a trip to Spain or to buy
one last pair of new shoes;
it gets sad without sadness, the walls slide against
fingers and smile;
I know who killed Cock Robin, I know who tricked Benny
the Dip;
now somebody is picking the lock and the searchlights are
out of focus;
I’m down fifteen with one to go;
the Marlboro Man explodes in the middle of his dream,
it’s really freezing now, can’t
get it up
get it down
get it;
the teller refuses my bet, a chorus of purple song shakes
the trees, I see a parade of wooden monkeys
burning as the tin canary crows, I don’t

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript