I was laying in bed one night and I said
I’ll just quit
To hell with it

And another voice in me said
don’t quit
save that tiny little ember

that spark

and never give them that spark
because as long as you have that spark
you can start the greatest fire

I was working at a ladies dress shop
and they made me work
two hours overtime

I still kept the spark

I said
I will not quit
I will not let them kill me

So I’m walking out
two guys in the office smoking cigars
Hey-a Bukowski! come here a minute

they were laughing at me
and I knew
they were laughing at me
because I was just a slave
and I’m standing there

so I went home
it was a very long walk
I remember the trees were frozen

it was in the winter
it was in St. Louis

and the land-lady had put these letters
under my door

and I opened the one
and it said

we’ve accepted your short story

I said
the fire I’ve saved
has a chance

but the funniest thing is
they took a bad story

– Transcribed from Bukowski: Born Into This