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Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Charles Bukowski. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Charles Bukowski

Henry Charles Bukowski ( boo-KOW-skee; born Heinrich Karl Bukowski, German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ˈkaʁl buˈkɔfski]; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German–American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor

Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column Notes of a Dirty Old Man in the LA underground newspaper Open City.

Bukowski published extensively in small literary magazines and with small presses beginning in the early 1940s and continuing on through the early 1990s. As noted by one reviewer, "Bukowski continued to be, thanks to his antics and deliberate clownish performances, the king of the underground and the epitome of the littles in the ensuing decades, stressing his loyalty to those small press editors who had first championed his work and consolidating his presence in new ventures such as the New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, or Slipstream." Some of these works include his Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8 Story Window, published by his friend and fellow poet Charles Potts, and better known works such as Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. These poems and stories were later republished by John Martin's Black Sparrow Press (now HarperCollins/Ecco Press) as collected volumes of his work.

In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, "the secret of Bukowski's appeal ... [is that] he combines the confessional poet's promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero."Since his death in 1994, Bukowski has been the subject of a number of critical articles and books about both his life and writings, despite his work having received relatively little attention from academic critics in the United States during his lifetime. In contrast, Bukowski enjoyed extraordinary fame in Europe, especially in Germany, the place of his birth.

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

What a weary time those years were, to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.

--Charles Bukowski

Longer Version:

Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

A life can change in a tenth of a second or sometimes it can take 70 years.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Animals never worry about heaven or hell. Neither do I. Maybe that's why we get along.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Our disappointment sits between us.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Fiction is an improvement on life.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Generally, a writer of force is anywhere from 20 years to 200 years ahead of his generation.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Those who have been writing literature have not been writing life.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Much publishing is done through politics, friends, and natural stupidity.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Sometimes I've called writing a disease. If so, I'm glad that it caught me.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

It's when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order to simply make a poem, that you fail.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Life wore a man out, wore a man thin.
Tomorrow would be a better day.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I tell you such fine music waits in the shadows of hell.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I grow tired of 18th century moralities in a 20th century space-atomic age.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Agony sometimes changes
form
but
it never ceases for
anybody.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

To experience real agony is something hard to write about, impossible to understand while it grips you; you're frightened out of your wits, can't sit still, move, or even go decently insane.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

We had such tremendous fun and much agony together for some years.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

My poems are only bits of scratching
on the floor of a
cage.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The psyche has been burned and left us senseless, the world has been darker than lights-out in a closet full of hungry bats, and the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Art is its own excuse, and it's either Art or it's something else. It's either a poem or a piece of cheese.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I was fairly poor but most of my money went for wine and classical music. I loved to mix the two together.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

When you clean up a city, you destroy it.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The way to create art is to burn and destroy
ordinary concepts and to substitute them
with new truths that run down from the top of the head
and out of the heart.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Most people are much better at saying things in letters than in conversation, and some people can write artistic, inventive letters, but when they try a poem or story or novel they become pretentious.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Days like this, like your day today.
maybe the rain on the window trying to
get through to you. What do you see today?
what is it? where are you?
the best days are sometimes the first,
sometimes the middle and even sometimes the last.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I went home each night dizzy and sick. He was murdering me with the sound of his voice.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There are too many ways to drown even if you don't want to drown.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Was I the only person who was distracted by this future without a chance?

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Walking out with the people, I didn't know which was more exciting, the air race, the parachute jump that failed, or the cunt.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Anything, anything to stop drowning in this dull, trivial and cowardly existence.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I am this fiery snail crawling home.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

To die on a kitchen floor at 7 o'clock in the morning while other people are frying eggs is not so rough unless it happens to you.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

So, that's what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That's what they needed. People were fools.

--Charles Bukowski

Longer Version:

So, that's what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That's what they needed. People were fools. It was going to be easy for me.


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I just sit here and look at my hands. It is one of my better evenings. Yesterday I was very depressed.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I'm not a guru. I wish you wouldn't pose these things at me, man. Ask me about women or something.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left.

--Charles Bukowski

Longer Version:

The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidates who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn't understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I write fiction
What's fiction?
Fiction is an improvement on life.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I'll use the knives for spreading jam, and the gas to warm my greying love.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

If I never see you again
I will always carry you
inside
outside
on my fingertips
and at brain edges
and in centers
centers
of what I am of
what remains.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

No matter how little a man has he will find that he will always settle for less.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The trouble with a mask is it never changes.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

It doesn't matter if Prince Charles falls off his horse
or that the hummingbird is so seldom
seen
or that we are too senseless to go
insane.
coffee. give us more of that NOTHING
coffee.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

What a pitiful mass of dangerous nothing.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

My youth, one time, that time I knew even through the nothingness, it was a celebration of something not to do but only know.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I view his furry storage tanks -- what can a man think about while looking at a cat's nuts? Certainly not the sunken navies of great sea battles.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Be it peace or happiness
let it enfold you.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There is a blue bird in my heart that wants to get out.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The writer has no responsibility other than to jack off in bed alone and write a good page.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

If you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There's no release, just gurus and self- appointed gods and hucksters. the more people say, the less there is to say.

--Charles Bukowski


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There's nothing like privacy. You know, I like people. It's nice that they might like my books and all that...but I'm not the book, see? I'm the guy who wrote it, but I don't want them to come up and throw roses on me or anything. I want them to let me breathe.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

And love was lightning and remembrance.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The grace is being able to like rock music, symphony music, jazz … anything that contains the original energy of joy.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

So where do you go? Back to the bottle And back to a tiny room somewhere. And wait. And wait, and wait. That's all.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The rent is a little higher here
but so far I've been able to
pay it
and that's a miracle too
like still maybe being sane
while thinking of guns and sidewalks
and old ladies in libraries.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I am too sick to lay down the sidewalks frighten me the whole damned city frightens me, what I will become what I have become frightens me.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

She could talk. If she was a sphinx she could have talked, if she was a stone she could have talked. I wondered when she'd get tired and leave. Even after I stopped listening it was like being battered with tiny pingpong balls.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There is enough treachery , hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Nobody escapes them. Some even live with them. The idea is to realize that a trap is a trap. If you are in one and you don't realize it, then you're finished.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I want quiet thunder.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

The telephone is needed for
Emergency purposes only
These people are not
Emergencies, they are
Calamities.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Sometimes I feel as if we are all trapped in a movie. We know our lines, where to walk, how to act, only there is no camera. Yet, we can't break out of the movie. And it's a bad one.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Some men never die and some men never live but we're all alive tonight.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I drive around the streets
an inch away from weeping,
ashamed of my sentimentality and
possible love.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Courts are places where the ending is written first and all that precedes is simply vaudeville.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

If I have any advice to anybody it's this: take up watercolor painting.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I hope that I never become a vogue. A vogue is damned and doomed forever.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I felt that even the sun belonged to my father, that I had no right to it because it was shining upon my father's house. I was like his roses, something that belonged to him and not to me.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

They, all of them, seemed to put literary form in front of the actuality and living of life itself.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others.

--Charles Bukowski

Longer Version:

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

They thought I had guts they were wrong I was only frightened of more important things.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Now we are citizens of nothing. the sun itself knows the sad truth of how we surrendered our lives and deaths to simple ritual….how we said no, no, no, no to the most beautiful YES ever uttered -
life itself.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Beware women grown
old
who were never
anything but
young.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I am not a man who looks for solutions in God or politics. If somebody else wants to do the dirty work and create a better world for us and he can do it, I will accept it.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

It seemed to me that I had never met another person on earth as discouraging to my happiness as my father. and it appeared that I had the same effect upon him.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I was young I was so young it hurt like a knife inside because there was no alternative except to hide as long as possible -- - not in self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance: trying to connect.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

It's nice enough to make a man weep, but I don't weep, do you?

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out.

--Charles Bukowski

Longer Version:

There's a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I pour whiskey on him and inhale

cigarette smoke

and the whores and the bartenders

and the grocery clerks

never know that

he's

in there.


photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

She was desperate and she was choosey at the same time and, in a way, beautiful, but she didn't have quite enough going for her to become what she imagined herself to be.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

I don't write so much now. I'm getting on 33, pot belly and creeping dementia.

--Charles Bukowski

photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

It was only the matter of a new voice. Nobody listened to an old voice anymore. Old voices became a part of one's self, like a fingernail.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Hate contains truth. beauty is a facade.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

Knowledge without follow-through is worse than no knowledge.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

A good book can make an almost impossible existence, liveable.

--Charles Bukowski
photo of author Charles Bukowski with quote

What you see on the freeway is just what there is,
a funeral procession of the dead,
the greatest horror of our time in motion.
I'll see you there tomorrow!

--Charles Bukowski

We wish you a perfect day!