Lipstick traces 015

by tiresomemoi

Lipstick traces, Amsterdam and 73rd – 6 October 2014Lipstick traces

 

Bukowski on lipstick smeared cigarettes and other things:

 

torched-out

the worst was closing the bars at

2 a.m.

with my lady.

going home to get a couple hours

sleep,

then as a substitute postal carrier

to be on call at

5:30 a.m.

sitting there with the other

subs

along the little ledge

outside the magazine

cases.

 

too often given a route to

case and carry,

starting 15 or 20 minutes

late,

the sweat pouring down

your face,

gathering under the

armpits.

you’re dizzy, sick,

trying to get the case

up, pull it down and

sack it for the truck to

pick up.

 

you worked on sheer

nerve,

reaching down into the

gut,

flailing, fighting

as the last minutes,

the last

seconds

rushed toward

you.

 

then to get on the

route with the people

and the dogs,

to make the rounds

on a new

route,

making your legs

go,

making your feet

walk

as the sun baked

you alive,

you fought through

your first

round

with 6 or 7 more to

go.

never time for lunch,

you’d get a write-up

if you were 5 minutes

late.

a few too many write-ups and you were

finished,

they moved you

out.

 

it was living, a

deathly

a living, to somehow

finish your route,

come in and often

be told

you were assigned

to the night pick-

up run, another

ball-buster.

 

or

if you got out of that

to drive on in

to your place

to find your lady

already drunk,

dirty dishes in the

sink,

the dog unfed,

the flowers unwatered,

the bed unmade,

the ashtrays full of

punched-out

lipstick-smeared

cigarettes.

 

then to get in the tub

with a beer.

you were no longer

young,

you were no longer

anything,

just worn down and

out

with your lady in the

other room

lisping inanities and

insanities,

pouring her glasses

of cheap

wine.

 

you were always going

to get rid of her,

you were working on

that,

you were caught between

the post office and

her,

it was the vise of

death,

each side crushing in

upon you.

 

“Jesus, baby, please,

please, just shut up for

a little while . . .”

 

“ah, you asshole!

what’re you doing in

there, playing with

yourself?”

 

to come roaring out

of that tub, all the impossibilities

of that day and that life

corkscrewing through you

ripping away

everything.

 

out of that tub,

a naked, roaring rocket

of battered body and

mind:

 

“YOU GOD DAMNED WHORE,

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT

ANYTHING?

SITTING THERE ON YOUR

DEAD ASS AND

SUCKING AT THE VINO!”

 

to rush into the other room,

looking all about,

the walls whirling,

the entire world tilting in

against you.

 

“DON’T HIT ME! DON’T HIT

ME!

YOU’D HIT ME BUT YOU

WOULDN’T HIT A

MAN!”

 

“HELL NO, I WOULDN’T

HIT A MAN, YOU THINK

I’M CRAZY?”

 

to grab the bottle from

her,

to drain damn near

half of it.

to find another bottle,

open it,

pour a tall waterglass

full,

then to smash the glass

against a

wall,

to explode it like

that

in purple glory.

 

to find a new glass,

sit down and pour a

full one.

 

she’d be quiet

then.

we’d drink an hour or so

like that.

 

then, to get

dressed,

cigarette dangling,

you are feeling somewhat

better,

then you are moving

toward the door.

 

“hey! where the hell

you going?”

 

“I’m going to the fucking

bar!”

 

“not without me!

not without me, buster!”

 

“all right, get your ass

into gear!”

 

to walk there together.

to get our stools.

to sit before the long mirror.

the mirror you always hated to

look into.

 

to tell the bartender,

“vodka 7.”

 

To have her tell the bartender,

“scotch and water.”

 

everything was far away

then,

the post office, the world,

the past and the

future.

 

to have our drinks arrive.

to take the first hit in the

dark bar.

 

life couldn’t get any

better.

 

– Charles Bukowski

 

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