Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

40,000


at the track today,
Father's Day,
each paid admission was
entitled to a wallet
and each contained a
little surprise.
most of the men seemed
between 30 and 55,
going to fat,
many of them in walking
shorts,
they had gone stale in
life,
flattened out....
in fact, damn it, they
aren't even worth writing
about!
why am I doing
this?
these don't even
deserve a death bed,
these little walking
whales,
only there are so
many of
them,
in the urinals,
in the food lines,
they have managed to
survive
in a most limited
sense
but when you see
so many of them
like that,
there and not there,
breathing, farting,
commenting,
waiting for a thunder
that will not arrive,
waiting for the charging
white horse of
Glory,
waiting for the lovely
female that is not
there,
waiting to WIN,
waiting for the great
dream to
engulf them
but they do nothing,
they clomp in their
sandals,
gnaw at hot dogs
dog style,
gulping at the
meat,
they complain about
losing,
blame the jocks,
drink green
beer,
the parking lot is
jammed with their
unpaid for
cars,
the jocks mount
again for another
race,
the men press
toward the betting
windows
mesmerized,
fathers and non-fathers
Monday is waiting
for them,
this is the last
big lark.
and the horses are
totally
beautiful.
it is shocking how
beautiful they
are
at that time,
at that place,
their life shines
through;
miracles happen,
even in
hell.
I decide to stay for
one more
race.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, February 07, 2014

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  • Byron Shelby (11/17/2013 12:46:00 AM)

    Full poem:
    at the track today,
    Father's Day,
    each paid admission was
    entitled to a wallet
    and each contained a
    little surprise.
    most of the men seemed
    between 30 and 55,
    going to fat,
    many of them in walking
    shorts,
    they had gone stale in
    life,
    flattened out....
    in fact, damn it, they
    aren't even worth writing
    about!
    why am I doing
    this?
    these don't even
    deserve a death bed,
    these little walking
    whales,
    only there are so
    many of
    them,
    in the urinals,
    in the food lines,
    they have managed to
    survive
    in a most limited
    sense
    but when you see
    so many of them
    like that,
    there and not there,
    breathing, farting,
    commenting,
    waiting for a thunder
    that will not arrive,
    waiting for the charging
    white horse of
    Glory,
    waiting for the lovely
    female that is not
    there,
    waiting to WIN,
    waiting for the great
    dream to
    engulf them
    but they do nothing,
    they clomp in their
    sandals,
    gnaw at hot dogs
    dog style,
    gulping at the
    meat,
    they complain about
    losing,
    blame the jocks,
    drink green
    beer,
    the parking lot is
    jammed with their
    unpaid for
    cars,
    the jocks mount
    again for another
    race,
    the men press
    toward the betting
    windows
    mesmerized,
    fathers and non-fathers
    Monday is waiting
    for them,
    this is the last
    big lark.
    and the horses are
    totally
    beautiful.
    it is shocking how
    beautiful they
    are
    at that time,
    at that place,
    their life shines
    through;
    miracles happen,
    even in
    hell.
    I decide to stay for
    one more
    race. (Report) Reply

  • Tai Chi Italy (6/13/2009 6:33:00 PM)

    Every Father deserves one. An aptly timed poem. We loved the races.

    Smiling, ironically

    Tai (Report) Reply

  • Tom J. Mariani (11/9/2007 5:09:00 PM)

    One of his short ones. Must have written it on a bar napkin. Maybe he would have finished it if he hadn't ordered another short one. (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

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