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Hey Rube....

Charles Bukowski Photo by Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet via Getty Images

I suppose so.

I was living in an attic in Philadelphia

It became very hot in the summer and so I stayed in the

bars. I didn’t have any money and so with what was almost left

I put a small ad in the paper and said I was a writer

looking for work . . .

which was a god damned lie; I was a writer

looking for a little time and a little food and some

attic rent.

a couple days later when I finally came home

from somewhere

the landlady said, there was somebody looking for

you. and I said,

there must be some mistake. she said,

no, it was a writer and he said he wanted you to help him write

a history book.

oh, fine, I said, and I knew with that I had another week’s

rent—I mean, on the cuff—

so I sat around drinking wine on credit and watching the hot pigeons

suffer and fuck on my hot roof.

I turned the radio on real loud

drank the wine and wondered how I could make a history book

interesting but true.

but the bastard never came back,

and I had to finally sign on with a railroad track gang

going West

and they gave us cans of food but no

openers

and we broke the cans against the seats and sides of

railroad cars a hundred years old with dust

the food wasn’t cooked and the water tasted like

candlewick

and I leaped off into a clump of brush somewhere in

Texas

all green with nice-looking houses in the

distance

I found a park

slept all night

and then they found me and put me in a cell

and they asked me about murders and

robberies.

they wanted to get a lot of stuff off the books

to prove their efficiency

but I wasn’t that tired

and they drove me to the next big town

fifty-seven miles away

the big one kicked me in the ass

and they drove off.

but I lucked it:

two weeks later I was sitting in the office of the city hall

half-asleep in the sun like the big fly on my elbow

and now and then she took me down to a meeting of the council

and I listened very gravely as if I knew what was happening

as if I knew how the funds of a halfass town were being

dismantled.

later I went to bed and woke up with teethmarks all over

me, and I said, Christ, watch it, baby! you might give me

cancer! and I’m rewriting the history of the Crimean War!

and they all came to her house—

all the cowboys, all the cowboys:

fat, dull and covered with dust.

and we all shook hands.

I had on a pair of old bluejeans, and they said

oh, you’re a writer, eh?

and I said: well, some think so.

and some still think so . . .

others, of course, haven’t quite wised up yet.

two weeks later they

ran me out

of town.

The difference between a bad poet and a good one is Luck - Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski on “Apostrophes” French Talk Show Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images