Charles Bukowski




retired

pork chops, said my father, I love
pork chops!

and I watched him slide the grease
into his mouth.

pancakes, he said, pancakes with
syrup, butter and bacon!

I watched his lips heavy wetted with
all that.

coffee, he said, I like coffee so hot
it burns my throat!

sometimes it was too hot and he spit it
out across the table.

mashed potatoes and gravy, he said, I
love mashed potatoes and gravy!

he jowled that in, his cheeks puffed as
if he had the mumps.

chili and beans, he said, I love chili and 
beans!

and he gulped it down and farted for hours
loudly, grinning after each fart.

strawberry shortcake, he said, with vanilla
ice cream, that's the way to end a meal!

he always talked about retirement, about
what he was going to do when he
retired.
when he wasn't talking about food he talked
on and on about
retirement.

he never made it to retirement, he died one day while
standing at the sink
filling a glass of water.
he straightened like he'd been
shot.
the glass fell from his hand
and he dropped backwards
landing flat
his necktie slipping to the
left.

afterwards
people said they couldn't believe
it.
he looked
great.
distinguished white
sideburns, pack of smokes in his
shirt pocket, always cracking
jokes, maybe a little
loud and maybe with a bit of bad
temper
but all in all
a seemingly sound
individual

never missing a day
of work.