Charles Bukowski “The man with the beautiful eyes”

the man with the beautiful eyes

when we were kids there was a strange house
all the shades were always drawn
and we never heard voices in there
and the yard was full of bamboo
and we liked to play in the bamboo
pretend we were Tarzan
(although there was no Jane).
and there was a fish pond, a large one
full of the fattest goldfish you ever saw
and they were tame.
they came to the surface of the water
and took pieces of bread from our hands.
our parents had told us:
“never go near that house.”
so, of course, we went.
we wondered if anybody lived there.
weeks went by and we never saw anybody.
then one day we heard a voice
from the house “YOU GOD DAMNED WHORE!”
it was a man’s voice.
then the screen door of the house was
flung open and the man walked out.
he was holding a fifth of whiskey in his right hand.
he was about 30.
he had a cigar in his mouth,
needed a shave.
his hair was wild and uncombed
and he was barefoot in undershirt and pants.
but his eyes were bright.they blazed with brightness
and he said, “hey little gentlemen, having a good time, I
hope?”
then he gave a little laugh and walked back into the house.
we left, went back to my parent’s yard and thought about it.
our parents, we decided had wanted us to stay away from there
because they never wanted us to see a man like that, a strong natural
man with beautiful eyes. our parents were ashamed that they were
not like that man, that’s why they wanted us to stay away.
but we went back to that house and the bamboo and the tame
goldfish. we went back many times for many weeks but we never
saw or heard the man again.
the shades were down as always and it was quiet.
then one day as we came back from school
we saw the house.the man with the beautiful eyes
it had burned down,
there was nothing left,
just a smoldering twisted black foundation
and we went to the fish pond
and there was no water in it
and the fat orange goldfish
were dead there,
drying out.
we went back to my parents’ yard
and talked about it and decided that
our parents had burned their house down,
had killed
them
had killed the
goldfish
because it was all too beautiful,
even the bamboo forest had burned.
they had been afraid of the man with the
beautiful eyes. and we were afraid
then that all through our lives
things like that would happen,
that nobody wanted anybody
to be strong and beautiful
like that, that others would never
allow it,
and that
many people
would have to
die.
from The Last Night on Earth Poems

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