the mirror game

Peter was the freak, Peter was fat, Peter
was dumb, Peter was clumsy, Peter stuttered
and Peter stumbled and the girls giggled at
Peter and the boys taunted him, and Peter
was kept after school and Peter’s glasses
always fell off of his nose and his shoe-
laces were untied and his shirttail hung
down and his clothing was unlike anything
sold in the stores and Peter sat
in a back seat with lines of snot dripping
from his nose.

that was then, that was grammar school and
partly through junior high, and time went
on and
Peter never drives his expensive car over
two years and he always has a new and
beautiful girlfriend and he no longer wears
glasses and he has thinned down, looks al-
most handsome but certainly assured, he
has a home in Mexico and a home in Portu-
gal and he has purchased the two estates
which border his and he rents them out.
Peter deals in law, artwork and the stock
market, he speaks seven languages, has a
yacht and a private plane and he also
sometimes produces movies.

those who knew him then don’t know him
happened, what the hell
was it?

and most of the golden boys of then
who are still around now
are misshapen, beaten, inglorious,
idiotic, homeless, senile or

it seldom works the way we think it
in fact, it never

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript