Flophouse

you haven't liveduntil you've been in a flophouse with nothing but one light bulb and 56 men squeezed together on cots with everybody snoring at once and some of those snores so deep and gross and unbelievable- dark snotty gross subhuman wheezings from hell itself.

your mind almost breaks under those death-like sounds

and the intermingling odors: hard unwashed socks pissed and shitted underwear

and over it all slowly circulating air much like that emanating from uncovered garbage cans.

and those bodies in the dark

fat and thin and bent

some legless armless

some mindless

and worst of all: the total absence of hope

it shrouds them covers them totally.

it's not bearable.

you get up

go out walk the streets up and down sidewalks

past buildings

around the corner

and back up the same street

thinking

those men were all children once

what has happened to them?

and what has happened to me?

it's dark and cold out here.

Charles Bukowski