Charles Bukowski Reads His Poem “The Secret of My Endurance”

–From Dangling In The Tournefortia (1982)

I still get letters in the mail, mostly from cracked-up
men in tiny rooms with factory jobs or no jobs who are
living with whores or no woman at all, no hope, just
booze and madness.

Most of their letters are on lined paper
written with an unsharpened pencil
or in ink
in tiny handwriting that slants to the
left

and the paper is often torn
usually halfway up the middle
and they say they like my stuff,
I’ve written from where it’s at, and
they recognize that. truly, I’ve given them a second
chance, some recognition of where they’re at.

it’s true, I was there, worse off than most
of them.
but I wonder if they realize where their letters
arrive?
well, they are dropped into a box
behind a six-foot hedge with a long driveway leading
to a two car garage, rose garden, fruit trees,
animals, a beautiful woman, mortgage about half
paid after a year, a new car,
fireplace and a green rug two-inches thick
with a young boy to write my stuff now,
I keep him in a ten-foot cage with a
typewriter, feed him whiskey and raw whores,
belt him pretty good three or four times
a week.
I’m 59 years old now and the critics say
my stuff is getting better than ever.


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