Since I mowed and raked into the night I gave myself a rest today. It is memorial day and a time to consider the men and women who sacrificed their lives for us. I worked a little, cleaned out the toilets and then took Emma and Bella to Belmont. That makes two of my summer goals notched down for this year. A Pawtuckett Red Sox game and horse racing Belmont. It was a beautiful day to be at the track, not too hot or cool. The sky was clear although for Bella the ride was longer than she expected. I took out sixty and came back with less than ten dollars. Ten for Emma and I to get in. Twenty for fries and two pretzels, a beer and hot chocolate, and a soda, more fries and drinks except not another beer although I could have gone for another. And we bet close to ten dollars on two races. Emma took some great pictures. I wanted to be there since I read one of Bukowski’s last books, The Captain in Out…it was more of a journal. Each day he spent at the tracks and saw the pitiful faces of the betters who were looking for that strike. The ghosts were there. Bukowski was contemplating his next wager. I saw the skeletons and canes, screaming at the horses as they turned the bend, getting up close to the track and waving, holing their tickets or for a few - jumping for joy with dangling cigarettes, small hats, beat up chests...they assumed this is was it feels like to be a winner. Thin old men with tired eyes some spending $4 on a draft beer. Man with an opened shirt and gold watches and slicked back hair buying a hot dog like it was his last meal on earth. The scattered ripped tickets covering the floor; the remnants of lost dreams…the accents of poorly dressed dark men who appeared to contain so much knowledge of the races, speaking Creole, talking out loud and smiling easily. Beer cans. Cigarettes, cigars, the desperation in the faces as their tired bodies wilt after the race…the men who for the most part sit alone and take in the elements, the flying dirt, the romance of a dying tradition. I thought of Bukowski. Imagined he was sitting across from me. I’d see him circle a winner in his racing forum and follow him up to a window. Excuse me, Bill Blake I presume? Yeah or Li Po. This is what New York is all about baby. Take some cash and make it happen on the horses. I am changing my profile picture on Google since Emma’s picture was good. Came home and Ali was making a BBQ. Had another beer with dinner. Ali and I discussed the summer, asking the girls to alternate days to take care of Joe and Bella. I wanted us to just be. No plans just chill out. But that didn’t work. I had another beer outside. I can fall asleep now.
Thank you for reading this.