Monday Poem: Death is Smoking My Cigars

by Charles Bukowski at Poetic Outlaws

You know: I’m drunk once again
listening to Tchaikovsky
on the radio.

Jesus, I heard him 47 years
when I was a starving writer
and here he is
and now I am a minor success as
a writer
and death is walking
up and down
this room
smoking my cigars
taking hits of my
as Tchaik is working away
at the Pathetique,
it’s been some journey
and any luck I’ve had was
because I rolled the dice
I starved for my art, I starved to
gain 5 god-damned minutes, 5 hours,
5 days-
I just wanted to get the word
fame, money, didn’t matter:
I wanted the word down;
and “they” wanted me to be a stock boy in a
department store.

Well, death says, as he walks by,
I’m going to get you anyhow
no matter what you’ve been:
writer, cab driver, pimp, butcher,
sky-diver, I’m going to get

Ok baby, I tell him.

We drink together now
as one am slides to 2
a.m. and
only he knows the
moment, but I worked a con
on him: I got my
5 god-damned minutes
and much

You can find this in Bukowski’s fantastic book of poetry — The Last Night of the Earth Poems.