The Sadness in the Air

here I am sitting listening to Chopin
like some wimp
the night wind blowing in through the
torn curtains to the left
won $546 at the track today, thinking,
dying is not so bad, just hope I’ll never
need false teeth.
Wm. Holden cracked his head on a coffee
table while drunk and bled to death, stiffed
out for 4 days before they found him;
Wonder how Chopin went?

I’ve seen so many good Mexican fighters
come and go in L.A.
climbing through the ropes young and
glistening with ambition
and then to vanish.
where do they go?
where are they tonight? …
as I listen to Chopin.

maybe I’m in a better business.
I don’t think so.
they go fast here too.
they forget how to lead with a
straight sentence.
they teach classes, bitch,
stale out, vanish.

Holden slipped on a throw rug
his head hitting a nightstand
he had a .22 alcohol blood count.

myself I’ve gone down many times,
usually over a telephone cord across
a room, I hate telephones anyhow, whenever
one rings I jump…

people say, “why do you jump when the
telephone rings?”

if they don’t know, you can’t tell

it’s getting cold, got to shut the
I do.   Chopin continues.

when you drink alone like Wm. Holden
did you’ve got something on your mind that
you can’t tell anybody.

in many cases it’s better to keep

we were not placed here for easy
days and nights, and when the telephone
rings you’ll know
we’re all in the wrong

and if you don’t know
what that means
you don’t feel the
sadness in the

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript