10 Oct

Bukowski, Charles:transport [from The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992),
Black Sparrow Press]

1 I was a scraggly bum most of my
2 life
3 and to get from one city to another
4 I took the buses.
5 I don’t know how many times I
6 saw the Grand Canyon,
7 going east to west
8 and west to east.
9 it was just dusty windows,
10 the backs of necks, stop-offs at
11 intolerable eating places
12 and always the old
13 constipation
14 blues.
15 and once, a half-assed romance
16 with no socially redeeming
17 value.

18 then I found myself riding the
19 trains.
20 the food was beautiful
21 and the restrooms were
22 lovely
23 and I stayed in the bar
24 cars.
25 some of them were
26 so grand:
27 round curving picture
28 windows
29 and large overhead
30 domes,
31 the sun shone right on
32 down through your
33 glass
34 and at night you could
35 get
36 stinko

[Page 376]

37 and watch the stars and
38 the moon ride
39 right along with
40 you.
41 and the best, since there was more
42 space
43 people weren’t forced
44 to speak to
45 you.

46 then after the trains I found
47 myself on the
48 jetliners,
49 quick trips to cities and
50 back.
51 I was like many of the
52 others:
53 I had a briefcase
54 and was writing on pieces
55 of paper.
56 I was on the hustle.
57 and I hustled and hounded the
58 stewardesses for drink after
59 drink.
60 the food and the view were
61 bad.
62 and the people tended to
63 talk to you
64 but there were ways to
65 discourage
66 that.
67 the worst about flying was that
68 there were people waiting for
69 you at the airports.
70 baggage was no problem:
71 you had your carry-on bag,
72 change of underwear, socks,
73 one shirt, toothbrush, razor,
74 liquor.

[Page 377]

75 then the jetliners stopped.
76 you stayed in the city,
77 you shacked with unsavory
78 ladies and you purchased a
79 series of old cars.
80 you were much luckier with the
81 cars than with the
82 ladies,
83 you bought the cars for a
84 song
85 and drove them with a classic
86 abandon.
87 they never needed an oil
88 change and they lasted and
89 lasted.
90 on one the springs were
91 broken.
92 on another they stuck up
93 out of the seat and into your
94 ass.
95 one had no reverse
96 gear.
97 this was good for me,
98 it was like playing a game of
99 chess—
100 keeping your King from getting
101 checkmated.
102 another would only start
103 when parked on a
104 hill.
105 there was one where the
106 lights wouldn’t go on until you
107 hit a bump
108 HARD.

109 of course, they all died
110 finally.
111 and it was always a true
112 heartbreaker for me when

[Page 378]

113 I had to watch them towed off
114 to the junkyard.

115 another I lost when it was impounded
116 on a drunk driving
117 rap.
118 they sent me an impound bill that was
119 four times larger than the purchase
120 price
121 so I let them keep
122 it.

123 the best car I ever had was the one
124 my first wife gave me when divorcing
125 me.
126 it was two years old,
127 as old as our marriage.

128 but the last car was (and is)
129 the very best, purchased new for
130 $30,000 cash. (well, I wrote
131 them a check).
132 it has everything: air bag,
133 anti-lock brakes, everything.

134 also, 2 or 3 times a year
135 people send a limousine
136 so we can attend various
137 functions.
138 these are very nice
139 because you can drink like
140 hell and not worry about the
141 drunk tank.

142 but I’m going to bypass that
143 private plane, that private
144 boat.
145 upkeep and rental space
146 can be a real pain in the
147 butt.

[Page 379]

148 I’ll tell you one thing, though,
149 one night not so long
150 ago
151 I had a dream that I
152 could fly.
153 I mean, just by working
154 my arms and my legs
155 I could fly through the
156 air
157 and I did.
158 there were all these people
159 on the ground,
160 they were reaching up their
161 arms and trying to pull me
162 down
163 but
164 they couldn’t do
165 it.

166 I felt like pissing on
167 them.
168 they were so
169 jealous.

170 all they had to do was
171 to work their way
172 slowly up to it
173 as I had
174 done.

175 such people think
176 success grows on
177 trees.

178 you and I,
179 we know
180 better.

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