Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hookers, Madmen, and Doomed

Here is a poem by Charles Bukowski, that I heard on public radio's "writers' almanac'', and I instantly liked it. You can listen to the program (5 minutes, the poem comes at the end) here:


the hookers, the madmen and the doomed

today at the track
2 or 3 days after
the death of the
came this voice
over the speaker
asking us all to stand
and observe
a few moments
of silence. well,
that's a tired
formula and
I don't like it
but I do like
silence. so we
all stood: the
hookers and the
madmen and the
doomed. I was
set to be dis-
pleased but then
I looked up at the
TV screen
and there
standing silently
in the paddock
waiting to mount
stood the other jocks
along with
the officials and
the trainers:
quiet and thinking
of death and the
one gone,
they stood
in a semi-circle
the brave little
men in boots and
the legions of death
appeared and
vanished, the sun
blinked once
I thought of love
with its head ripped
still trying to
sing and
then the announcer
said, thank you
and we all went on about
our business.

"the hookers, the madmen and the doomed" by Charles Bukowski, from What Matters Most is How Well You Work Through the Fire. © Black Sparrow Press, 1999. 


  1. I <3 Charles! I was in love with him for 2 years...and "Be kind" was my favorite!

  2. Were you in love with him or his poems? :P

    I had not read his poems before I heard this one, but I will try to find "Be kind" ... Thanks for the suggestion!


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