A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Charles Bukowski

"The Rat (Live)"

The Rat

With one punch, at the age of sixteen and a half
I knocked out my father
A cruel chimey bast*rd with bad breath
And I didn't go home for some time
Only now and then to try to get a dollar from dear mama
It was 1937 in Los Angeles and it was a hell of a Vienna

I ran with these older guys, but for them it was the same
Mostly breathing hard air and robbing gas stations that didn't have any money
And the few lucky among us work part-time, as Western Union messenger boys
We slept in rented rooms that weren't rented
And we drank ale, and wine with the shades down being quiet, quiet
And then awakening the whole building with a fist-fight
Breaking mirrors and chairs and lamps
Then running down the stairway just before the police arrive
Some of us soldiers of the future, running through those empty starving streets and alleys of Los Angeles
And all of us, getting together later in Pete's room: a small cube of space under a stairway
There we were, packed in there
Without women without cigarettes, without anything to drink
While the rich pawed away at their many choices and the young girls left them
The same girls who spit at our shadows as we walk past
It was a hell of a Vienna

Three of us under that stairway were killed in World War Two
Another one is now the manager of a mattress factory
Me?
I'm thirty years older
The town is four or five times as big but just as rotten, and the girls still spit on my shadow
Another war is building for another reason
I can hardly get a job now for the same reason I couldn't then
I don't know anything, I can't do anything
Sex?
Well just the old ones knock on my door after midnight
I can't sleep, and they see the lights and are curious
The old ones
Their husbands no longer want them, their children are gone
If they show me enough good leg, the legs go last, I go to bed with them
So the old women bring me love and I smoke their cigarettes as they talk, talk, talk
And then we go to bed again, and I bring them love
And they feel good and talk
Until the sun comes up, then we sleep
It's a hell of a Paris

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #


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