Charles Bukowski

the beautiful lady editor

she was a beautiful woman, I used to see photographs of
her in the literary magazines of that

I was young but always alone—I felt that I needed the
time to get something done and the only way I could buy time
was with

I worked not so much with craft but more with getting down
what was edging me toward madness—and I had
flashes of luck, but it was hardly a pleasurable

I think I showed a fine endurance but slowly then
health and courage began to leak away.

and the night arrived when everything fell apart—and
fear, doubt, humiliation entered…

and I wrote a number of letters using my last stamps
telling a few select people that I had made a
mistake, that I was starving and trapped in a small
freezing shack of darkness in a strange city in
a strange

I mailed the letters and then I waited long wild days and
nights, hoping, yearning at last for a decent

only two letters ever arrived—on the same day—
and I opened the pages and shook the pages looking for
money but there was

one letter was from my father, a six-pager telling me that
I deserved what was happening, that I should have become
an engineer like he told me, and that nobody would ever read
the kind of stuff I wrote, and on and on, like

the other letter was from the beautiful lady editor, neatly typed
expensive stationary, and she said that she was no longer
publishing her literary magazine, that she had found God an
living in a castle on a hill in Italy and helping the poor, and
she signed her famous name, with a “God Bless you,” and that

ah, you have no idea, in that dark freezing shack, how much I
       wanted to
be poor in Italy instead of Atlanta, to be a poor peasant,
yes, or even a dog on her bedspread, or even a flea on that
dog on that
bedspread: how much I wanted the tiniest

the lady had published me along with Henry Miller, Sartre,

I should have never asked for money in a world where millions
peasants were crawling the starving 

and even some years later when the lady editor 
I still thought her