the longest snake in the world

I parked outside, nice and shady, walked in,
I had a 2 p.m.
they took me right away, no waiting.
led me to the special room.
doctor had a little smile.
nurse looked bored.

“take off your clothes,” she said.

I stripped.

“you ever had one of these?” the Dr.


“well, you’re in for a treat…”

“assume the position,” said the nurse.

there was this specially made
I got into it.
they strapped my wrists.
my ass was up in the air.

“it ain’t gonna hurt much,” said the
doc, “we’re just gonna take a look around
inside of you, there’s a little light on the
end of this coil and it let’s us see, it allows
us to take photos, we slide this right up the
old intestine…”

“suppose I change my mind?”

“too late now…”

my mother in law had phoned my wife
that she had been through the same thing,
there was nothing to it, nothing to worry
she was so helpful, always.

“now we’re going to slide this up the old
intestine, you’ll feel a little something but
don’t worry…”

“I know what it is, right?”

“right… now, we’re going slowly… slowly…”

“you can breathe,” said the nurse.

“thank you…”

“this will be over so fast you won’t even
know we’ve done it,”
said the doc.

“but you’ll bill me?”

“the office will bill you… now, a little further…”

I imagined my mother-in-law crouched in
the same position, trying to act brave and
good girl, good girl.
nobody like you.

“umm hmmm, umm hmmmm,” I heard the

“keep breathing,” said the nurse.

“now we’re coming out,” said the doctor,
“slowly coming out, slowly…”

I had seen the bit all coiled about the
large spool, there was a lot of intestine in the
average human

“we’re finished,” said the doctor.
“can you believe it?”

“oh yeah….”

the nurse handed me a handful of

“clean yourself and get dressed…”

I did that.
then I sat there waiting, staring at
the big spool coiled with black
thick wires.

after a while the doctor walked
he was holding a piece of

“is your name Polish?” he

“it might be but I was born in

“do you live in Palos Verdes?”

“San Pedro…”

“San Pedro?
do you like it there?”

“Dr., for Christ’s sake, do I have
cancer or not?”

“oh that.
no… but you do have internal

“that’s o.k.”

“you should have those taken care
we use rubber bands…”

“rubber bands?”

“yes, we tie them on there and when
the bands drop off the haemorrhoids
are gone…”

“don’t think I’ll bother…”

driving back home
my ass didn’t even hurt on the
I punched in the radio, punched
in the lighter.
the lighter jumped out and I put it
to my cigarette.
there was a red light ahead.
I stopped.
there were 4 cars ahead of me
and a couple
and none of them knew a damned
thing about
me and they never

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