The Princess Tina

we knew it was tourist, of course, but sometimes you go in
it was THE PRINCESS TINA, on the far side of the harbor,
valet parking
then up the ramp, table for four would be thirty minutes,
there was a bar with orchestra and dancing,
we got our drinks and it was terrible in there:
the patrons, the music, the drinks.

I kept looking at the 50 or 60 faces
in some wild search for luck.
then I found two big heads on two big bodies:
he stretched his legs leisurely under the table
and she just sat there with her big beer gut hanging out.
all the other passengers seemed neurotic and pretentious.

“look,” I told the others at our table,
“over there:   the only two real people in here.”
they looked; the music ended,
then the m.c. at the mike naked,
“now, is there anybody who would like to hear any
particular song?”

my man with the big head stood straight up and looked
around and said,
“well, since this is Mother’s Day I think we ought to
have a little song for mother!
I don’t think any of us have ever loved our mothers
enough and that we should have a song for MOTHER!”

so the orchestra got into a mother’s song
and it was even danceable and the two big heads
got up and danced
holding their bodies far apart and kicking their heels
high the way ranch people used to dance in Arizona and
New Mexico and Utah and Wyoming in those days.

as it ended we got our dinner table and went on in
and the Captain told us, sorry, but the air-conditioning
had broken down, and when the food arrived it wasn’t
very much either.

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