He was childless
but his old skin felt like family.
Twice a week at the track,
ponies lined up,
he had a system;
and he'd slap the rolled up
as he cheered for ole number 4.

Then one day he told me,
kid, I've been around a while
and I know how things work,
the track is life
and there are only three things we need:
we need faith,
we need practice,
and we need luck,
and I suppose it made sense to him,
he was a winner,
but I knew it isn't the same for every horse.

And every time I looked around,
I'd see the torn tickets
and the gloomy desolation of faces who lost,
the old men in brown coats,
who snuck off to the track,
despite their wife.
The men who went out every week
to lose what they couldn't afford
because they believed there are only three
things a man needed.

title stolen from hollywood by bukowski

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