Charles Bukowski


there was a frozen tree that I wanted to paint but the shells came down and in Vegas looking across at a green sunshade at 3:30 in the morning, I died without nails, without a copy of the Atlantic Monthly, the windows screamed like doves moaning the bombing of Milan and I went out to live with the rats but the lights were too bright and I thought maybe I'd better go back and sit in a poetry class: a marvelous description of a gazelle is hell; the cross sits like a fly on my window, my mother's breath stirs small leaves in my mind; and I hitch-hiked back to L.A. through hangover clouds and I pulled a letter from my pocket and read it and the truckdriver said, what's that? and I said, there's some gal up North who used to sleep with Pound, she's trying to tell me that H.D. was our greatest scribe; well, Hilda gave us a few pink Grecian gods in with the chinaware, but after reading her I still have 140 icicles hanging from my bones. I'm not going all the way to L.A., the truckdriver said. it's all right, I sad, the calla lilies nod to our minds and someday we'll all go home together. in fact, he said, this is as far as we go. so I let him have it; old withered whore of time your breasts taste the sour cream of dreaming . . . he let me out in the middle of the desert; to die is to die is to die, old phonographs in cellars, joe di maggio, magazines in with the onions . . . an old Ford picked me up 45 minutes later and, this time, I kept my mouth shut.

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