you can’t make a lion out of a butterfly

he was built naturally big
and he was strong
he was just born into it
with oversize curls that fell
over his forehead
he even had an English accent
and he was pretty if you
didn’t look too close
all he lacked was soul and
he’d never been hungry
he’d never been lonely
he’d never been anything
but big and strong
with oversize curls
and we worked him up the
heavyweight ladder
against misfits with glass
he was 26 and 0
when we put him in against the
5th. ranked contender
a black butterball
who’d been in prison twice
once for rape
once for burglary
and our boy Bobby
he looked good in
the first round
he had a 6 inch reach on Butterball
he had youth
perfectly trained
but Butterball came out in the 2nd.
and started landing shots from the
our boy covered up like a girl
backed against the ropes
hid under his arms
and in the 3rd. it was the same
and in the 4th. Butterball
got to his
our boy Bobby fell down
right off
took the count
and got up promptly
at II.

none of us would talk to him
in the dressing room.
he sat on the edge of the table
and said, “I’m going to take up

Butterball had told me
right after the fight:
“that guy couldn’t raise a half a
hard-on in a high-class

“go take your shower, Bobby,”
somebody in the room

when he walked into the shower
room we looked at each
other, there were 3 or
4 of us.

“well, shit,” somebody said.
and that’s what it

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