Charles Bukowski

a tragic meeting

I was more visible and available then
and I had this great weakness:
I thought that going to bed with many women
meant that a man was clever and good and
especially if he did it at the age of
to any number of bunnies
and I lifted weights
drank like mad
and did

most of the women were nice
and most of them looked good
and only one or two were really dumb and
but JoJo
I can’t even categorize.
her letters were slight, repeated
the same things:
“I like your books, would like to meet
I wrote back and told her
it would be
all right.

then along came the instructions
where I was to meet
her: at this college
on this date
at this time
just after her

the college was up in the
hills and
the day and time
and with her drawings
of twisting streets
plus a road map
I set out.

it was somewhere between the Rose Bowl
and one of the largest graveyards in
Southern California
and I got there early and sat in my
nipping at the Cutty Sark
and looking at the
co-eds — there were so many of
them, one simply couldn’t have
them all.

then the bell rang and I got out of my
car and walked to the front of the
building, there was a long row of
steps and the students walked out of the
building and down the steps
and I stood and
waited, and like with airport
I had no idea
which one
it would be.

“Chinaski,” somebody said
and there she was: 18, 19,
neither ugly nor beautiful, of
average body and features,
seeming to be neither vicious,
intelligent, dumb or

we kissed lightly and then
I asked her if she
had a car
and she said
she had a car
and I said, “fine, I’ll drive you
to it, then you follow

JoJo was a good follower, she followed me all
the way to my beat-up court in east

I poured her a drink and we talked very
drab talk and kissed a
the kisses were neither good nor bad
nor interesting or un-

much time went by and she drank very
and we kissed some more and she said,
“I like your books, they really do things
to me.”
“Fuck my books!” I told her.
I was down to my shorts and I had her
skirt up to her ass.
and I was working hard
but she just kissed and
she responded and she didn’t

I gave up and started drinking
she mentioned a few of the other
she liked
but she didn’t like any of them
the way she liked

“yeah,” I poured a new one, “is that

“I’ve got to get going,” JoJo said,
“I’ve got a class in the

“you can sleep here,” I suggested, “and
get an early start, I scramble great

“no, thank you, I’ve got to

and she left with
several copies of my books
she had never seen
copies I had given her
much earlier in the

I had another drink and decided to
sleep it off
as an unexplainable

I switched off the lights
and threw myself upon the
bed without
washing-up or
brushing my

I looked up into the dark
and thought, now, here is one
I will never be able to
write about:
she was neither good nor bad,
real or unreal, kind or
unkind, she was just a girl
from a college
somewhere between the Rose Bowl and
the dumping grounds.

then I began to itch, I scratched
myself, I seemed to feel things
on my face, on my belly, I inhaled,
exhaled, tried to sleep but
the itching got worse, then
I felt a bite, then several bites,
things appeared to be
crawling on me…

I rushed to the bathroom
and switched on the light

my god, JoJo had fleas.

I stepped into the shower
stood there
adjusting the water,
that poor