Sunday, June 12, 2005

To The Races

About 6 years ago a boyfriend took me to the horse races. I was hooked from the get-go. The live excitement, the mad dash to the betting window, the height and shiny sweatiness of the gorgeous thoroughbreds; something entirely poetic about it all. I can see how Bukowski was an addict.

So I tried it again Friday night. This time, I won little for my hard work in watching each horse warm up, picking my favorites, and placing my $2 bet. I realized at the end of the night, after spending $50 on bets and winning back only $15, that I know very little about betting on horses. So I'm gonna learn. And I might just bet on my favorite number. Sometimes it's as random as all that. For instance, the #4 horse came in first in games 3 through 7, and although my gut told me to wager on the 4 each time, I resisted. Resist no more! But I do seriously have to pay more attention to my bets and the odds. I bet a 4-2-3 perfecta in one race, and the order was 4-3-2. Because I only placed a $2 bet, rather than boxing the 3 picks for a $6 bet, I won nothing. If I'd known you had to box the bet to secure the order in any random ending, I'd have won about $250. I won nothing. The ticket booth girl said "You came close hon". Doesn't help me at all now does it.

There is something quiet, still, peaceful, wanting and home about the races. You can be alone with your numbers, your gut, your poetry. And sometimes you can win.

Here's what Bukowski had to say about the races; beautifully and aptly put:


I'll settle for the 6 horse
on a rainy afternoon
a paper cup of coffee
in my hand
a little way to go,
the wind twirling out
small wrens from
the upper grandstand roof,
the jocks coming out
for a middle race
and the easy rain making
at once
almost alike,
the horses at peace with
each other
before the drunken war
and I am under the grandstand
feeling for
settling for coffee,
then the horses walk by
taking their little men
it is funeral and graceful
and glad
like the opening
of flowers.

Read some more Bukowski if you want.

He's also got a good little bit from a poem called "as the poems go":

the best writers have said very
and the worst,
far too much.

That's it.


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