What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire
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This second posthumous collection from Charles Bukowski takes readers deep into the raw, wild vein of writing that extends from the early 70s to the 1990s.
practitioners; this is certainly not a game for flyweights or Ping-Pong players— all arguments to the contrary. —but once you get the taste, it’s good to get your teeth into words. I forgive those who can’t quit. I forgive myself. this is where the action is, this is the hot horse that comes in. there’s no grander fort no better flag no better woman no better way; yet there’s much else to say— there seems as much hell in it as magic; death gets as close as any lover has,
here. I could better my living conditions. but I have an idea I’ll never get out of here. I like the nearby taco stand too much. I like the cheap bars and pawn shops and the roving insane who sleep on our bus stop benches or in the bushes and raid the Goodwill container for clothing. I feel a bond with these people. I was once like them even though I now am a published writer with some minor success. somebody else was killed last night in this neighborhood almost under my
walks past my window and claws the screen. “mercy, my friend,” I ask. “there’ll be no mercy,” he says, turning back to his tiny flat. the 12 dead roses look at me. we needed him so big, with a cigar sticking out of his mouth he listened patiently to the people to the old women in the neighborhood who told him about their arthritis and their constipation or about the peeping toms who looked in at their wrinkled bodies at night breathing heavily outside the blinds. he
I’ll see you tomorrow.” and then he was gone. although I did see him after the 6th race his head was down and he was slowly walking along. I moved off and took a seat. I didn’t see him any more that day. or the next. or the next. or the next week. maybe he’s working in the movie industry again. he’s a nicer guy than most, I almost like him. or maybe he’s still at the track, hiding out. it’s embarrassing. I don’t need the 20 that much. they’ve
the men wanting badly to go out and raise hell but now the money is needed for clothing, tires, toys, TV sets children’s shoes, the rent. I finish eating walk down to the first floor and out, and nearby is a penny arcade. I remember it from the 1940s. I walk in. it is full of young Latinos and Blacks between the ages of six and fifteen and they shoot machine guns play mechanical soccer and the piped-in salsa music is very loud. they fly spacecraft test their strength fight in