wall clock

this one place I worked
this man was big and black
very big and very black
they called him WHIPLASH
nobody bothered him
the supervisors
the mayor
or Washington, D.C.

it was one night and I was
working next to him
and he asked me,
“hey, man, what time you got?”

I didn’t look at him.
I took my finger and pointed it
toward the back wall
where there was a large clock.

“I wanna know your time, man, I
see you got that wrist watch there!”

I waited some moments.
once again pointed my finger at the
then went back to work.

from there on in
I was in
with the WHIPLASH
and the others.

they thought I had guts
but they had it all wrong.
I was only frightened of
more important things.

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