unloading the goods

it was
           after 8 hours as a stockboy
                      wearing a green smock
and pushing my wagon full of goods
           through the aisles
                      listening to the complaints
of the neurotic and sexy sales girls
           that I came home to my place again
                      and she was gone

I went down to the same bar
           and there she was sitting.
                      she looked up and all the men
moved away from her.

“take it easy now, Hank,” said the barkeep.
           I sat down next to her.
                      “how’s it going?” I asked,

“listen,” she said, “I haven’t been here
           “I’ll have a beer,” I told the
“I’m sorry,” she said.
           “for what?” I asked.
                      “this is a nice place.   I
don’t blame you.”

           “what is it with you?”  she asked.
                      “you’re acting crazy.”

I drank my beer slowly.
           then I put the glass down and walked out.

it was a perfect night
           I’d left her where I had
                      found her
           even though her clothes were in the closet
                      and she’d be back
           it was the ending
I was making it end

           and I went into the next bar
                      sat down and ordered a beer
           that what I once thought would be hard
                      was easy

and I got the beer and drank it
           and it tasted better
                      than any beer
I had had
           in the two years that
                      I had known her.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript