Quiet clean girls in gingham dresses

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

all I’ve ever known are whores, ex-prostitutes,
madwomen. I see men with quiet,
gentle women– I see them in the supermarkets,
I see them walking down the streets together,
I see them in their apartments: people at
peace, living together. I know that their
peace is only partial, but there is
peace, often hours and days of peace.
all I’ve ever known are pill freaks, alcoholics,
whores, ex-prostitutes, madwomen.
when one leaves
another arrives
worse than her predecessor.
I see so many men with quiet clean girls in
gingham dresses
girls with faces that are not wolverine or
predatory.
“don’t ever bring a whore around,” I tell my
few friends, “I’ll fall in love with her.”
“you couldn’t stand a good woman, Bukowski.”
I need a good woman. I need a good woman
more than I need this typewriter, more than
I need my automobile, more than I need
Mozart; I need a good woman so badly that I
can taste her in the air, I can feel her
at my fingertips, I can see sidewalks built
for her feet to walk upon,
I can see pillows for her head,
I can feel my waiting laughter,
I can see her petting a cat,
I can see her sleeping,
I can see her slippers on the floor.
I know that she exists
but where is she upon this earth
as the whores keep finding me?

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