After the sirens abated and the car alarm died, the woman and I laid in bed awake with the dull light of the garden lamp pouring through the blinds. A few pops rang out in the neighborhood and it could have been gunshots but there are so many crappy cars around here that it could have been a crappy car going pop, and not gunshots.

I got up from the bed and went round the bedroom. “Where are you going?” she asked.

“I’m going to brush my teeth,” I said. She let that go and curled into a humid 10:30 sleep.

I brushed my teeth and spat in the sink. I turned off the light. I circled out of the bathroom and sat down on the couch in the living room. But I wasn’t tired. The sound of the car alarm kept ringing in my ears even when I would focus and know it was gone.

But there were still cars passing outside like fast hawks over the suburb. And I didn’t smoke anymore.

So I pulled out a book of Bukowski’s poems. Not the good ones from when he was young. The mediocre ones from when he was fat, married, and successful.

Bukowski was always a little fat. But I didn’t have anything better to do.

Except read him.

And pretend I had something to say, too.

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