Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

40,000

Poem by Charles Bukowski

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.


Comments about 40,000 by Charles Bukowski

  • Shaun CronickShaun Cronick (4/5/2020 4:59:00 PM)

    From the great man who wrote Ham on Rye with horrid Henry.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dominic WindramDominic Windram (4/5/2020 3:04:00 AM)

    Great poem... replete with the kind of acute social observation that only Bukowski can muster.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (4/5/2020 3:03:00 AM)

    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, ............../// what an excellent poetic expression/// greatly penned(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (4/5/2020 2:18:00 AM)

    their life shines
    through;
    miracles happen,
    even in
    .
    I decide to stay for
    one more
    race. Great poem of Bukowski.. tony(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (4/5/2020 1:23:00 AM)

    their life shines
    through;
    miracles happen,
    even in
    ....... wonderful imagery. Beautiful poem. Thanks and congratulations for being selected this poem as the modern poem of the day for the second time.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ratnakar Mandlik (4/5/2019 10:35:00 PM)

    " these little walking whales" , a great modern poem coming with immense force and well deserved modern poem of the Day.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (4/5/2019 3:38:00 PM)

    Tracking father's day with an impressive nice title is definitely an excellent poem. Monday is definitely waiting for them to shine. A nice poem is chosen as the modern poem of the day.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (4/5/2019 9:25:00 AM)

    Tale! !

    Gone stale!

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adrian FlettAdrian Flett (4/5/2019 2:39:00 AM)

    What a ride from this great poet.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • * Sunprincess * (3/12/2015 11:03:00 PM)

    .......wow 40.000 was a lot of people at the track....sounds like a lot of fun :)(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mazhari David (5/22/2014 4:42:00 PM)

    Nothing will overcome the perfection of the horse Spinoza..* *(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (5/12/2014 4:43:00 AM)

    I think that it is incomplete and still interesting.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • 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

    10 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Matthew Merlino (9/10/2010 4:10:00 PM)

    I don't believe this is the full poem.(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • 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

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • M. Bronson Russell (7/29/2008 1:14:00 PM)

    Sounds like modest surprise after winning a not-so-modest sum...(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • 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

    9 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • J P Klegg (7/4/2005 6:00:00 PM)

    Either over my head or a little disappointing for CB.(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
Read all 18 comments »

40,000 Score Card

User Rating:
2,8 / 5 (209 votes)18



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Read poems about / on: today, father



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Friday, February 7, 2014