Charles Bukowski

death sat on my knee and cracked with

I was writing three short stories a week
and sending them to the Atlantic Monthly
they would all come back.
my money went for stamps and envelopes
and paper and wine
and I got so thin I used to
suck my cheeks
and they’d meet over the top of my
tongue (that’s when I thought about 
Hamsun’s Hunger — where he ate his own
flesh; I once took a bite of my wrist
but it was very salty.)

anyhow, one night in Miami Beach (I
have no idea what I was doing in that
city) I had not eaten in 60 hours
and I took the last of my starving
went down to the corner grocery and
bought a loaf of bread.
I planned to chew each slice slowly —
as if each were a slice of turkey
or a luscious
and I got back to my room and
opened the wrapper and the
slices of bread were green
and moldy.

my party was not to be.

I just dumped the bread upon the
and I sat on that bed wondering about
the green mould, the

my rent money was used up and
I listened to all the sounds
of all the people in that

and down on the floor were
the dozens of stories with the
dozens of Atlantic Monthly
rejection slips.

it was early evening and I
turned out the light and
went to bed and
it wasn’t longe before I
heard the mice coming out,
I heard them creeping over my
immortal stories and
eating the 
green moldy bread.

and in the morning
when I awakened
I saw that
all that was left of the
was the green
they had eaten right to the 
edge of the mould
leaving chunks of
among the stories and
rejection slips
as I heard the sound of
my landlady’s vacuum
bumping down the
slowly approaching my