“What Can You Do?” by Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

there is always somebody to chop the wood
for you, to speak of the ways of God,
there is always somebody to kill the meat,
to unplug the toilet,
there is always somebody to bury you,
there are always the animals with the
beautiful eyes,
and there are always the gossips,
like Stanley leaning toward me
and saying in a soft voice,
“do you know that at the end of
his career Saroyan had other
people writing his stuff and that he
gave them twenty-five
percent?”
this was supposed to make me
feel good because I was a starving
writer and the rejects were arriving
in endless numbers.
It didn’t make me feel
good.
there is always somebody to make
you feel worse about the
human race.
there is always the dead dog on
the freeway.
there is always a fog full of
cutting
blades.
there is always Christ drunk in
the tavern with dirty
fingernails.

from Rattle #7, Winter 1999