cold summer by Charles Bukowski


not as bad as it could be
but bad enough: in and out
of the hospital, in and out of
the doctor’s office, hanging
by a thread: “you’re in
remission, no, wait, 2 new
cells here, and your
platelets are way down.
have you been drinking?
we’ll probably have to take
another bone marrow test

the doctor is busy, the
waiting room in the cancer
ward is crowded.

the nurses are pleasant, they
joke with me.
I think that’s nice, joking while in the
valley of the
shadow of death.
my wife is with me.
I am sorry for my wife, I am
sorry for all the

then we are down in the
parking lot.
she drives sometimes.
I drive sometimes.
I drive now.
it’s been a cold summer.
“maybe you should take a
little swim we get home,”
says my

it’s a warmer day than

“sure,” I say and pull out of
the parking lot.

she’s a brave woman, she
acts like everything is
as usual.

but now I’ve got to pay for all
those profligate years;
there were so many of
the bill has come due
and they’ll accept only
one final

I might as well take a

Charles Bukowski


About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from
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2 Responses to cold summer by Charles Bukowski

  1. Pingback: In the Darkness, Light | clemencebodin

  2. russellboyle says:

    You’re most welcome, y. I find Bukowski’s work compelling. I have to keep reading, even when his words are quite shocking.

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