Charles Bukowski

The Icecream People

the lady has me temporarily off the bottle and now the pecker stands up better. however, things change overnight-- instead of listening to Shostakovich and Mozart through a smeared haze of smoke the nights change, new complexities: we drive to Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors: Rocky Road, Bubble Gum, Apricot Ice, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint... we park outside and look at ice cream people a very healthy and satisfied people, nary a potential suicide in sight (they probably even vote) and I tell her "what if the boys saw me go in there? suppose they find out I'm going in for a walnut peach sundae?" "come on, chicken," she laughs and we go in and stand with the ice cream people. none of them are cursing or threatening the clerks. there seem to be no hangovers or grievances. I am alarmed at the placid and calm wave that flows about. I feel like a leper in a beauty contest. we finally get our sundaes and sit in the car and eat them. I must admit they are quite good. a curious new world. (all my friends tell me I am looking better. "you're looking good, man, we thought you were going to die there for a while...") --those 4,500 dark nights, the jails, the hospitals... and later that night there is use for the pecker, use for love, and it is glorious, long and true, and afterwards we speak of easy things; our heads by the open window with the moonlight looking through, we sleep in each other's arms. the ice cream people make me feel good, inside and out.

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