Charles Bukowski

Crucifix In A Deathhand

Yes, they begin out in a willow, I think the starch mountains begin out in the willow and keep right on going without regard for pumas and nectarines somehow these mountains are like an old woman with a bad memory and a shopping basket. We are in a basin. That is the idea. Down in the sand and the alleys, this land punched-in, cuffed-out, divided, held like a crucifix in a death-hand, this land bought, resold, bought again and sold again, the wars long over, the Spaniards all the way back in Spain down in the thimble again, and now real estaters, subdividers, landlords, freeway engineers arguing. This is their land and I walk on it, live on it a little while near Hollywood here I see young men in rooms listening to glazed recordings and I think too of old men sick of music sick of everything, and death like suicide I think is sometimes voluntary, and to get your hold on the land here it is best to return to the Grand Central Market, see the old Mexican women, the poor... I am sure you have seen these same women many years before arguing with the same young Japanese clerks witty, knowledgeable and golden among their soaring store of oranges, apples avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers - and you know how these look, they do look good as if you could eat them all light a cigar and smoke away the bad world. Then it's best to go back to the bars, the same bars wooden, stale, merciless, green, with the young policeman walking through scared and looking for trouble, and the beer is still bad it has an edge that already mixes with vomit and decay, and you've got to be strong in the shadows to ignore it, to ignore the poor and to ignore yourself and the shopping bag between your legs down there feeling good with its avocados and oranges and fresh fish and wine bottles, who needs a Fort Lauderdale winter? 25 years ago there used to be a whore there with a film over one eye, who was too fat and made little silver bells out of cigarette tinfoil. The sun seemed warmer then although this was probably not true, and you take your shopping bag outside and walk along the street and the green beer hangs there just above your stomach like a short and shameful shawl, and you look around and no longer see any old men.

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