Sep 20, 2006 by

Doughnut Orgy

I found this poem, the shoelace, from Charles Bukowski’s 1972 collection Mockingbird Wish Me Luck to be all too relevant to the mental state of New Orleans. I thought about posting a revised version of this poem with references to FEMA paperwork, no air conditioning, and such as things that make us go crazy, but I trust that readers of this blog and other NOLA blogs can come up with numerous examples of the things that make minds snap.

a woman, a

tire that’s flat, a

disease, a

desire: fears in front of you,

fears that hold so still

you can study them

like pieces on a


it’s not the large things that

send a man to the

madhouse. death he’s ready for, or

murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…

no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies

that send a man to the


not the death of his love

but a shoelace that snaps

with no time left …

The dread of life

is that swarm of trivialities

that can kill quicker than cancer

and which are always there –

licence plates or taxes

or expired driver’s license,

or hiring or firing,

doing it or having it done to you, or

roaches or flies or a

broken hook on a

screen, or out of gas

or too much gas,

the sink’s stopped-up, the landlord’s drunk,

the president doesn’t care and the governor’s


lightswitch broken, mattress like a


$105 for a tune-up, carburetor and fuel pump at

sears roebuck;

and the phone bill’s up and the, market’s


and the toilet chain is


and the light has burned out –

the hall light, the front light, the back light,

the inner light; it’s

darker than hell

and twice as


then there’s always crabs and ingrown toenails

and people who insist they’re

your friends;

there’s always that and worse;

leaky faucet, christ and christmas;

blue salami, 9 day rains,

50 cent avocados

and purple


or making it

as a waitress at norm’s on the split shift,

or as an emptier of


or as a carwash or a busboy

or a stealer of old lady’s purses

leaving them screaming on the sidewalks

with broken arms at the age of 80.


2 red lights in your rear view mirror

and blood in your


toothache, and $979 for a bridge

$300 for a gold


and china and russia and america, and

long hair and short hair and no

hair, and beards and no

faces, and plenty of zigzag but no

pot, except maybe one to piss in

and the other one around your


with each broken shoelace

out of one hundred broken shoelaces,

one man, one woman, one


enters a


so be careful

when you

bend over.

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