starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, mabye it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
world.
New Orleans was a place to
hide.
I could piss away my life,
unmolested.
except for the rats.
the rats in my small dark room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
death.
women were beyond me.
they saw something
depraved.
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
brought my
coffee.
that was plenty for
me, that was
enough.
there was something about
that city, though:
it didn’t let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
needed.
it let me alone.
sitting up in my bed
the lights out,
hearing the outside
sounds,
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
the grape
enter
]me
as I heard the rats
moving about the
room,
I preferred them
to
humans.
being lost,
being crazy mabye
is not so bad
if you can be
that way:
undisturbed.
New Orleans gave me
that.
nobody ever called
my name.
no telephone,
no car,
no job,
no anything.
me and the
rats
and my youth,
one time,
that time
I knew
even through the
nothingness,
it was a
celebration
of something not to
do
but only
know.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Charles Bukowski's poem Young In New Orleans

2 Comments

  1. Philip says:

    I started to read it, and I couldn’t stop. I coulnd’t wait for the next line. That’s how I know it was really good! Really interesting.

  2. Dechlan Strange says:

    His perspectives and mental imagery reside in a place of simple knowing in my minds eye like putting on a pair of old familiar socks and noticing the pattern for the first time

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