Charles Bukowski

I Can't Stay In The Same Room With That Woman For Five Minutes

I went over the other day to pick up my daughter. her mother came out with workman's overalls on. I gave her the child support money and she laid a sheaf of poems on me by one Manfred Anderson. I read them. he's great, she said. does he send this shit out? I asked. oh no, she said, Manfred wouldn't do that. why? well, I don't know exactly. listen, I said, you know all the poets who don't send their shit out. the magazines aren't ready for them, she said, they're too far advanced for publication. oh for christ's sake, I said, do you really believe that? yes, yes, I really believe that, she answered. look, I said, you don't even have the kid ready yet. she doesn't have her shoes on. can't you put her shoes on? your daughter is 8 years old, she said, she can put her own shoes on. listen, I said to my daughter, for christ's sake will you put your shoes on? Manfred never screams, said her mother. OH HOLY JESUS CHRIST! I yelled you see, you see? she said, you haven't changed. what time is it? I asked. 4:30. Mandred did submit some poems once, she said, but they sent them back and he was terribly upset. you've got your shoes on, I said to my daughter, let's go. her mother walked to the door with us. have a nice day, she said. fuck off, I said. when she closed the door there was a sign pasted to the outside. it said: SMILE. I didn't. we drove down Pico on the way in. I stopped outside the Red Ox. I'll be right back, I told my daughter. I walked in, sat down, and ordered a scotch and water. over the bar there was a little guy popping in and out of a door holding a very red, curved penis in his hand. can't can't you make him stop? I asked the barkeep. can't you shut that thing off? what's the matter with you, buddy? he asked. I submit my poems to the magazines, I said. you submit your poems to the magazines? he asked. you are god damned right I do, I said. I finished my drink and got back to the car. I drove down Pico Boulevard. the remainder of the day was bound to be better.

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