1. Friends Within the Darkness

    I can remember starving in a
    small room in a strange city
    shades pulled down, listening to
    classical music
    I was young I was so young it hurt like a knife
    inside
    because there was no alternative except to hide as long
    as possible—
    not in self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance:
    trying to connect.
    the old composers — Mozart, Bach, Beethoven,
    Brahms were the only ones who spoke to me and
    they were dead.
    finally, starved and beaten, I had to go into
    the streets to be interviewed for low-paying and
    monotonous
    jobs
    by strange men behind desks
    men without eyes men without faces
    who would take away my hours
    break them
    piss on them.
    now I work for the editors the readers the
    critics
    but still hang around and drink with
    Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the
    Bee
    some buddies
    some men
    sometimes all we need to be able to continue alone
    are the dead
    rattling the walls
    that close us in.


    By Charles Bukowski