national poetry month, day 7.

This really ought to be read aloud, preferably while smoking a cigarette. But there are limits to this medium, so you’ll have to do your own reading and smoking.

the price
by Charles Bukowski
drinking 15 dollar champagne–
Cordon Rouge–with the hookers.
one is named Georgia and she
doesn’t like pantyhose:
I keep helping her pull up
her long dark stockings.
the other is Pam–prettier
but not much soul,
we smoke and talk and I 
play with their legs and
stick my bare foot into 
Georgia’s open purse.
it’s filled with
bottles of pills. I 
take some of the pills.
“listen,” I say, “one of 
you has soul, the other
looks, can’t I combine
the 2 of you? take the soul
and stick it into the looks?”
“you want me,” says Pam, “it
will cost you a  hundred.”
we drink some more and Georgia
falls to the floor and can’t
get up.
I tell Pam that I like her
earrings very much, her
hair is long and a natural
red.
“I was only kidding about the
hundred,” she says.
“oh,” I say, “what will it cost
me?”
she lights her cigarette with
my lighter and looks at me
through the flame:
her eyes tell me.
“look,” I say, “I don’t think I
can ever pay that price again.”
she crosses her legs
inhales on her cigarette
as she exhales she smiles
and says, “sure you can.”

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