the screw-game

one of the terrible things is
really
being in bed
night after night
with a woman you no longer
want to screw

they get old, they don't look very good
anymore — they even tend to
snore, lose
spirit.

so, in bed, you turn sometimes,
your foot touches hers — god, awful! —
and the night is out there
beyond the curtains
sealing you together
in the
tomb.

and in the morning you go to the
bathroom, pass in the hall, talk,
say odd things; eggs fry, motors
start.

but sitting across
you have 2 strangers
jamming toast into mouths
burning the sullen head and gut with
coffee.

in 10 million places in america
it is the same —
stale lives propped against each
other
and no place to
go.

you get in the car
and you drive to work
and there are more strangers there, most of them
wives and husbands of somebody
else, and besides the guillotine of work, they
flirt and joke and pinch, sometimes tend to
work off a quick screw somewhere—
they can't do it at home—
and then
the drive back home
waiting for christmas or labor day or
sunday or
something.

bukowski

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