the Mexican fighters

watching the boxing matches from Mexico
on my tv while sitting up in bed
on a cool November evening,
had a great day at the track, picking 7
out of 9, two of them longshots.
no matter, I am watching the fighters
work hard, showing more courage than
style
and in the front row the fat men talk to
each other,
hardly noticing the
fighters
who are fighting for their very existence
as human beings.
sitting up in bed there, I feel sad for
everybody, all the struggling people
everywhere now, trying to get the rent,
trying to get the food, trying to get a cold
bottle of beer, an easy night’s sleep.
it’s wearing and it never stops until you
die.
what a circus, what a show, what a
farce
from the Roman Empire to the French-
Indian War, from there to here and
everywhere…

now, one of the Mexican boys has
floored the other.
the crowd is screaming.
the boy is up to at 9.
he nods to the referee that he is
ready.
the fighters rush together again.
even the fat men in the front row are
excited.
the red gloves slash the air and the
faces and the
bodies.

now
the boy is down again.
he is flat on his back.
it’s over.

the god damned thing is over.

for that boy, there is no knowing where he is
going.
for the other boy, it’s up for a while, it’s good.
he spins in tune with the
world.

I flick off the tv.

in a moment I hear gunshots off somewhere.
the contest of life continues.

I get up, walk to the bathroom and piss.
while I am pissing I feel very odd, I mean about
people and things, the way of
things.

then I’m finished, sitting back on the bed, with
thoughts passing through me that I can’t quite
comprehend.

then I force myself to stop thinking.
some questions don’t have answers.

what the hell, I had 7 for 9, that’s something
even in a lot of
nothing.

what you do is take some luck and pretend
you know more than you
do.

right?

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1991
Source
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: