token drunk

I was standing around by the edge of the boat
and the young man walked up to me
and asked, “are you the token drunk?”
the boat was full of media people, models,
photographers, article writers.
there had just been a wedding and I had made
myself two turkey sandwiches and was working
on the champagne.
the man started talking about the movies
and I stood there thinking, I’ve missed a
day at the racetrack.
things are always getting in the way of the
racetrack: weddings, trips to Europe, interviews
and sickness.
Linda was talking to a fat German in dark glasses.
it wasn’t going to be a very good party.
“pardon me,” I said to my fellow, “but I’ve got to
get some more to drink.”
when I came back I had this nice little girl with me;
she was such a nice little girl that I didn’t even
think about sex.
she worked for the bride and I knew the bride and
we talked about her job working for the bride.
then I told the girl, “if I don’t make trouble at
these parties then there just isn’t any trouble.   I
don’t see why I have to be the one who has to make
the trouble.”
“I’ve heard that you do cause things,” she said.
“really?” I asked, putting my hand on the back
of her ass.
“really,” she said.
then I rolled my hand around and around on her ass.
we kept talking and soon we all went in, the little
girl, Linda, the German with the dark glasses and
the drinks were inside and the drinks were running
I was getting worried when the groom walked up and
told us, “we are going to the Beverly Hills Hotel…”

when I awakened I was in a strange bed but Linda was
with me so it was all right.
“well,” she said, “you pulled your old knife trick
again, you pulled your knife on the maitre d’ and
the waiters in the Polo Lounge and now you’ll never
be able to go to the Beverly Hills Hotel again.”
“I shouldn’t carry that thing,” I said, “I always
“they were going to call the police but we talked them
out of it, then we drove over here and you smashed in the
front of your car because you couldn’t find the reverse
gear and you kept running the phone pole, you wanted to
smash into the car next to you because you didn’t like the
way he was parked but couldn’t find the reverse gear so
you gave it up.”

I got up and began to dress.
“let’s get out of here.   where are we?”

“we’re at the Hansen’s.”

Hansen was a camera man.

I walked out; Hansen was there, Mrs. Hansen was in Paris;
there was also an actor there reading the funny papers and
a director staring out at the ocean.

“Linda’s getting ready,” I told them, “we’ll be going soon.”

somebody coughed.
Linda came out and we walked to the car.
there was broken glass about.
I got it into reverse without trouble
but scraped the side of the car against a cement
then I drove off the wrong way into a one-way street.
I noticed that right off and
took a left at the next corner.
it was a Sunday morning in a Hades they called
Marina del Rey.

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