and the next I remembered I'm on a table, everybody's gone: the head of bravery under light, scowling, flailing me down . . . and then some toad stood there, smoking a cigar: "Kid you're no fighter," he told me, and I got up and knocked him over a chair; it was like a scene in a movie, and he stayed there on his big rump and said over and over: "Jesus, Jesus, whatsamatta wit you?" and I got up and dressed, the tape still on my hands, and when I got home I tore the tape off my hands and wrote my first poem, and I've been fighting ever since. From "The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966" (Black Sparrow Press, 24 10th St., Santa Rosa, Calif. 95401: $20, cloth; $12.50, paper; 260 pp.). Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany, in 1920, and brought to the United States at age 3. (See Endpapers, Page 11.) Reared in Los Angeles and currently living in San Pedro, he is the author of 40 books of poetry and prose, of which the most recent is the poetry collection "You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense" (Black Sparrow Press, 1987). He wrote the screenplay for the recent movie, "Barfly," which is based on his life. 1988, Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Press.