The Palmleaves Of California

plain palmleave ends like hands with too many fingers
plus those dirty yellow long nails…

I go into the bathroom where my dummy slave is
bound.   his tongue is licking around inside a
dry sardine can.

are you ready, Bartholomew, to admit that Mahler was
greater than Beethoven?

no, no, no, no!

I lean over and quietly cut a swastika in his left cheek
(cheek of head) with my dead father’s hand razor.

I feel the fish, cut my toenails and
step out into the street.
–a woman screams.

I notice that I don’t have any clothes

I run over and begin tearing her clothes
off so we will be the

she fights me and we roll on the

it is September, the end of a long hot summer and
all that time, I haven’t even taken in a
concert, all that time thinking of those dirty
fearful palmleave
and I look up as I put my body upon hers
to hold her still on the ground
and they are waving over me, over and over me, waves of
them, squadrons, battalions of them,
and up there–the dirty sky–imperfect clouds, lousy phone
wires.   she screams and through her screams I hear
sirens.   then I remember that Malone needs

I jump up
run into my place,
slip in the first

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