Popped Hot Air Balloon, And Suckers
-- Charles “Hank” Bukowski
Born Andernach, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany,
raised South Central LA, racetracks
back in the Reagan years
may have been Buk’s version
of Herman Hesse´s anti-fascist Magister Ludi.
There was a bunch of us cocky experts
who hung out besotted among the crappy leftover buntings
and balloons at the top of Hollywood Park’s
stretch section of the bleachers.
Practically every day I was there, including
the weekend of our high school ball.
Hank sat about ten rows behind -- even worse view
albeit the decisive action takes place around that turn.
The huge beast who didn’t wear clothes well was always alone.
Finally I got up the nerve to ask him to autograph
the Daily Racing Form I gave to my kind of date
instead of a corsage.
One day following him through the trash of torn tickets
to the $2 window, we couldn't believe our ears:
Hank bet the goddamn favorite to show!
For all his horse race ruminations,
the Master of the Game actually knew nothing.