Venice, Calif.

kid shit.
front flash or deadwood.
same sand.
same old waiting to die.
same pigeons, unaccented.
same Jewish merchants.
same one on one.
see the bicycles.
see the cop car.
see the hotels falling down.
and the sex freaks watching the little girls
in the playground,
and the wet stinking toilets
and the bums without agony
and the painters and the poets without talent
and the dopers without dope
and 6 winos sharing one bottle,
and the sun sandpapers it all down
red to brown to dark death,
the waves still trying
and the oil and the turds and the sailboats,
it is a most terrible place
more terrible than New York City or Chicago,
I meet a friend going up the elevator to his hotel room,
listen, I say, I’ve got to stay out of this place,
I’ve got this suicide complex.
you’ve heard of rotting on the beach, he says,
well, this is it.
we go up to his place and talk about writing.
by the time I leave I am ready for the sharks
but I drive back on in
wondering if sex or drink or sleep or food
might save me, and I try all four
but it doesn’t work–
Venice, Calif. didn’t suffer from atomic attack
or fall into the sea, nor can I exchange it for Calcutta,
a package of cigarettes, a cup of tea, a sardine sandwich
or a worse

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