Poem of the Week: wandering in the cage by Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

wandering in the cage

languid conjecture during hours of moil, trapped in the shadows
of the father.
sidewalks outside of cafes are lonely
through the day.

my cat looks at me and is not sure what I am and
I look back and am pleased to feel
the same
about him…

reading 2 issues of a famous magazine of 40 years
ago, the writing that I felt was bad then,
I still feel
is
that way

and none of the writers have lasted.

sometimes there is a strange justice
working
somewhere.

sometimes
not…

grammar school was the first awakening of a long hell
to come:
meeting other beings as horrible as my
parents.

something I never thought
possible…

when I won the medal for Manual of Arms in the
R.O.T.C.
I wasn’t interested in
winning.

I wasn’t interested in anything, even the
girls seemed a bad game
to chase: all too much for all too
little

at night before sleeping I often considered what I
would do, what I would be:
bank robber, drunk, beggar, idiot, common
laborer.

I settled on idiot and common laborer, it
seemed more comfortable than any of the
alternatives…

the best thing about near-starvation and hunger is
that when you finally
eat
it is such a beautiful and delicious and
magical thing.

people who eat 3 meals a day throughout life
have never really
tasted
food…

people are strange: they are constantly angered by
trivial things,
but on a major matter
like
totally wasting their lives,
they hardly seem to
notice…

on writers: I found out that most of them
swam together.
there were schools, establishments,
theories.
groups gathered and fought each
other.
there was literary politics.

there was game-playing and
bitterness.

I always thought writing was a
solitary profession.

still do…

animals never worry about
Heaven or Hell.

neither do
I.

maybe that’s why
we
get along…

when lonely people come around
I soon can understand why
other people leave them
alone.

and that which would be a
blessing to
me

is a horror to
them…

poor poor Celine.
he only wrote one book.
forget the others.
but what a book it was:
Voyage au bout de la nuit.
it took everything out of
him.
it left him a hopscotch
odd-ball
skittering through the
fog of
eventuality…

the United States is a very strange
place: it reached its apex in
1970
and since then
for every year
it has regressed
3 years,
until now
in 1989
it is 1930
in the way of
doing things.

you don’t have to go to the movies
to see a horror
show.

there is a madhouse near the post office
where I mail my works
out.

I never park in front of the post office,
I park in front of the madhouse
and walk down.

I walk past the madhouse.

some of the lesser mad are allowed
out on the porch.
they sit like
pigeons.

I feel a brotherhood with
them.
but I don’t sit with them.

I walk down and drop my works
in the first class slot.

I am supposed to know what I am
doing.

I walk back, look at them and
don’t look at
them.

I get in my car and drive off.

I am allowed to drive a
car.

I drive it all the way back to my
house.

I drive my car up the driveway,
thinking,
what am I doing?

I get out of my car
and one of my 5 cats walks up to
me, he is a very fine
fellow.

I reach down and touch
him.

then I feel all right.

I am exactly what I am supposed to
be.

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Categories: Poems

Tags: , , ,

2 replies

  1. “people who eat 3 meals a day throughout life
    have never really
    tasted
    food…”

    He will live forever.

  2. Reblogged this on The Unfolding and commented:
    I once shared a town and this post office with him, unawares. Only years after his death did I find out. This may be my favorite by him.

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