Charles Bukowski





the player

I had 40 win on the 6 horse
he had 2 lengths in the stretch
was running along the rail
when the jock whipped him
right-handed
and the horse hit the wood
spilled
threw the jock
and there went the race
for me.

that was the 7th race
and I considered that the horse
might have lost
anyhow
and then I considered leaving
but I decided to play the
8th,
hit 20 win on a 5 to one
shot.

in the 9th I went 40 win
on the second favorite
and when the bell rang to start them
the horse reared and
left my jock
in the stall.

I took the escalator down
and walked out the
gate
where a young man asked me
for a dollar so he could
take the bus
home.

I gave him the buck and
told him,
“you ought to stay away from this
place.”

“yeah,” he said, “I
know.”

then I walked toward parking
searching my coat for
cigarettes.

nothing.