Charles Bukowski Quotes (149+)

In this blog post, we talk about a prolific and influential 20th-century poet, short story writer, and novelist, Charles Bukowski.

We also selected a handful of Charles Bukowski quotes to inspire you. 

Who was Charles Bukowski?

Charles Bukowski was born in Germany, shortly after World War I, to a German mother and American soldier father.

When he was two years, eight months old, his parents put him on a ship and brought him to the United States, where they settled in Los Angeles, California, near the father’s family.

Shortly after America joined World War II, Bukowski left Los Angeles, traveling to various cities around the country, spending the bulk of his time in Philadelphia and New Orleans.

In 1947 he returned to Los Angeles, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

While “on the road,” Bukowski was published for the first time in Story magazine. The year was 1944, and he was 24 years old.

At that time he was primarily a short story writer who only occasionally wrote poetry.

But a decade later, in 1954, that would change after Bukowski suffered an internal hemorrhage and spent nine days on the cusp of death in Los Angeles County Hospital.

After that experience, he began writing much more poetry and quickly became one of the most unique and influential voices in 20th-century American poetry.

Ultimately, Bukowski is perhaps more well-known for his novels, such as Post Office, Factotum, Women, and Ham on Rye than for his poetry.

But even while he was working on novels he continued to write poetry and short stories.

In fact, at the time of his death in 1994, Bukowski had written over 5,300 poems and stories. And those are only the titles that we know of.

There were likely hundreds more that were written—and subsequently lost—in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, before he began keeping copies of his work.

After Bukowski’s death in 1994, Black Sparrow Press continued to release new poetry collections every year or so.

Unfortunately, those collections suffer from comprehensive—and inexplicable—editorial tampering, which has the overall effect of making the posthumous collections appear as if they were composed of lesser works.

When reading Bukowski’s original manuscripts, however, it becomes clear that it is the changes made by Bukowski’s then “editor” that lend a clumsy air to much of the work.

Efforts are underway to repair the posthumous volumes, and one day we hope to be able to report that the widespread decimation of nearly half of Bukowski’s published poetry has been reversed, remedied and repaired.

Read more about Charles Bukowski bibliography here.

5 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.   “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

2.    “Do you hate people?”  “I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.”

3.   “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink drinks. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

4.   “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”

5.  “I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”

15 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.  “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire”

2.  “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

3.  “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

4.  “My ambition is handicapped by laziness”

5.  “You have to die a few times before you can really

live.”

6.  “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

7.  “That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. 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.”

8.  “I wanted the whole world or nothing.”

9.  “there is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock. People so tired mutilated either by love or no love. People just are not good to each other one on one. The rich are not good to the rich the poor are not good to the poor.we are afraid. Our educational system tells us that we can all be big- winners. It hasn’t told us about the gutters or the suicides. Or the terror of one person aching in one place alone untouched unspoken to watering a plant.”

10.   “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

11.    “there are worse things

than being alone

but it often takes

decades to realize this

and most often when you do

it’s too late

and there’s nothing worse

than too late”

12.   “Find what you love and let it kill you.”

13.   “If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose”

14.   “Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.”

15. “Some lose all mind and become soul,insane.

some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual.

some lose both and become accepted

20 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.   “I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.”

2.   “being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.”

3.   “I will remember the kisses

our lips raw with love

and how you gave me

everything you had

and how I

offered you what was left of

me,

and I will remember your small room

the feel of you

the light in the window

your records

your books

our morning coffee

our noons our nights

our bodies spilled together

sleeping

the tiny flowing currents

immediate and forever

your leg my leg

your arm my arm

your smile and the warmth

of you

who made me laugh

again.”

4.   “I felt like crying but nothing came out. it was just a sort of sad sickness, sick sad, when you can’t feel any worse. I think you know it. I think everybody knows it now and then. but I think I have known it pretty often, too often.”

5.   “the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.”

6.   “those who escape hell

however

never talk about

it

and nothing much

bothers them

after

that.”

7.   “Boring damned people. All over the earth. Propagating more boring damned people. What a horror show. The earth swarmed with them.”

8.   “A love like that was a serious illness, an illness from which you never entirely recover.”

9.   “There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you.”

10.    “there is a place in the heart that

will never be filled

a space

and even during the

best moments

and

the greatest times

times

we will know it

we will know it

more than

ever

there is a place in the heart that

will never be filled

and

we will wait

and

wait

in that space.”

11.    “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”

12.    “Of course it’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.”

14.    “We are

Born like this

Into this

Into these carefully mad wars

Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness

Into bars where people no longer speak to each other

Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die

Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty

Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed

Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes”

15.    “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.”

16.    “Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Back, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.”

17.    “I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.”

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

19.    “Sex is kicking death in the— while singing.”

20. “I stopped looking for a Dream Girl, I just wanted one that wasn’t a nightmare.”

25 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.   “Sometimes you just have to tinkle in the sink.”

2.    “Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire…. Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It’s real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you’ve suddenly become an idiot. There’s no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.”

4.   “There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn abo

5.   “Baby,” I said, “I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.”

6.   “you boys can keep your virgins

give me hot old women in high heels

with —- that forgot to get old.”

7.   “there is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy”

8.   “I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.”

9.   “We are like roses that have never bothered to bloom when we should have bloomed and it is as if the sun has become disgusted with waiting”

10.    “You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

11.    “What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.”

12.    “Life’s as kind as you let it be.”

13.    “my intoxicated soul is sadder than all the dead christmas trees of the world.”

14.    “We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.”

15.    “Love is a form of prejudice. You love what you need, you love what makes you feel good, you love what is convenient. How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you’ll never meet them. All right, so we do the best we can. Granted. But we must still realize that love is just the result of a chance encounter. Most people make too much of it. On these grounds a good —– is not to be entirely scorned. But that’s the result of a chance meeting too. You’re damned right. Drink up. We’ll have another.”

16.    “The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.”

17.    “unless it comes out of

your soul like a rocket,

unless being still would

drive you to madness or

suicide or murder,

don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is

burning your gut,

don’t do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,

it will do it by

itself and it will keep on doing it

until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.”

18.    “I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.”

19.    “great writers are indecent people

they live unfairly

saving the best part for paper.

good human beings save the world

so that fools like me can keep creating art,

become immortal.

if you read this after I am dead

it means I made it.”

20.    “I often carry things to read

so that I will not have to look at

the people.”

21.    “Lighting new cigarettes,

pouring more

drinks.

It has been a beautiful

fight.

Still

is.”

22.   “she was consumed by 3 simple things:

drink, despair, loneliness; and 2 more:

youth and beauty”

23.    “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 nation of 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.”

24.    “Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.”

25.    “Without literature, life is hell.”

30 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.    “I was sentimental about many things: a woman’s shoes under the bed; one hairpin left behind on the dresser; the way they said, ‘I’m going to tinkle.’ hair ribbons; walking down the boulevard with them at 1:30 in the afternoon, just two people walking together; the long nights of drinking and smoking; talking; the arguments; thinking of suicide; eating together and feeling good; the jokes; the laughter out of nowhere; feeling miracles in the air; being in a parked car together; comparing past loves at 3am; being told you snore; hearing her snore; mothers, daughters, sons, cats, dogs; sometimes death and sometimes divorce; but always carring on, always seeing it through; reading a newspaper alone in a sandwich joint and feeling nausea because she’s now married to a dentist with an I.Q. of 95; racetracks, parks, park picnics; even jails; her dull friends; your dull friends; your drinking, her dancing; your flirting, her flirting; her pills, your ——- on the side and her doing the same; sleeping together”

2. “This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.”

3.   “some moments are nice, some are

nicer, some are even worth

writing

about.”

4. “It wasn’t my day. My week. My month. My year. My life. God damn it.”

5.   “…in that drunken place

you would

like to hand your heart to her

and say

touch it

but then

give it back.”

6.   “dogs and angels are not

very far apart”

7.   “I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the

room was like sunlight to me.”

8.   “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.”

9.   “Style is the answer to everything.

A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing

To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it

To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art

Bullfighting can be an art

Boxing can be an art

Loving can be an art

Opening a can of sardines can be an art

Not many have style

Not many can keep style

I have seen dogs with more style than men,

although not many dogs have style.

Cats have it with abundance.

When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun,

that was style.

Or sometimes people give you style

Joan of Arc had style

John the Baptist

Jesus

Socrates

Caesar

García Lorca.

I have met men in jail with style.

I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.

Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.

Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water,

or you, naked, walking out of the bathroom without seeing me.”

10.             “And yet women-good women–frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.”

11.             “there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too clever, I only let him out

at night sometimes

when everybody’s asleep.

I say, I know that you’re there,

so don’t be

sad.

then I put him back,

but he’s singing a little

in there, I haven’t quite let him

die

and we sleep together like

that

with our

secret pact

and it’s nice enough to

make a man

weep, but I don’t

weep, do

you?”

12.             “There are times when those eyes inside your brain stare back at you.”

13.             “Great art is ——-, buy tacos.”

14.             “I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.”

15.             “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting”

16.             “I sit here

drunk now.

I am

a series of

small victories

and large defeats

and I am as

amazed

as any other

that

I have gotten

from there to

here

without committing murder

or being

murdered;

without

having ended up in the

madhouse.

as I drink alone

again tonight

my soul despite all the past

agony

thanks all the gods

who were not

there

for me

then.”

17.             “I drive around the streets

an inch away from weeping,

ashamed of my sentimentality and

possible love.”

18.             “I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.”

20.             I want so much that is not here and do not know

where to go.”

21.             “She’s mad, but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.”

22.             “The Laughing Heart

your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is a light somewhere.

it may not be much light but

it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.

the gods will offer you chances.

know them.

take them.

you can’t beat death but

you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you.”

23.             “I’m going, she said. I love you but you’re

crazy, you’re doomed.”

24.             “Too often the people complain that they have done nothing with their

lives and then they wait for somebody to tell them that this isn’t so.”

26.             “I want to

let her know

though

that all the nights

sleeping

beside her

even the useless

arguments

were things

ever splendid

and the hard

words

I ever feared to

say

can now be

said:

I love

you.”

27.             “you son of a , she said, I am

trying to build a meaningful

relationship.

you can’t build it with a hammer,

he said.”

28.             “I wish to weep

but sorrow is

stupid.

I wish to believe

but belief is a

graveyard.”

29.             “Anything is a waste of time unless you are ——– well or creating well or getting well or looming toward a kind of phantom-love-happiness.”

30. “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

Charles Bukowski Quotes (149+)

35 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1. “she is no longer

the beautiful woman

she was. she sends

photos of herself

sitting upon a rock

by the ocean

alone and damned.

I could have had

her once. I wonder

if she thinks I

could have

saved her?”

2. “In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.”

3. “each man’s hell is in a different place:

mine is just up and behind

my ruined face.”

4. “It was like the beginning of life and laughter. It was the real meaning of the sun”

5. “Oh, I don’t mean you’re handsome, not the way people think of handsome. Your face seems kind. But your eyes – they’re beautiful. They’re wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.”

6. “Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, you know it’s for something else.”

7. “people run from rain but

sit

in bathtubs full of

water.”

8. “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”

9. “The trouble with a mask is it never changes”

10.   “nobody can save you but yourself and you’re worth saving. it’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning then this is it.”

11.   “if you get married they think you’re

finished

and if you are without a woman they think you’re

incomplete.”

12.   “People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”

13.    “you’ve got to burn

straight up and down

and then maybe sidewise

for a while

and have your guts

scrambled by a

bully

and the demonic

ladies,

you’ve got to run

along the edge of

madness

teetering,

you’ve got to starve

like a winter

alleycat,

you’ve go to live

with the imbecility

of at least a dozen

cities,

then maybe

maybe

maybe

you might know

where you are

for a tiny

blinking

moment.”

14.   “There, I feel better. God-damned human race. There, I feel better.”

15.   “He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.”

16.   “I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone. On the other hand, when I got drunk I screamed, went crazy, got all out of hand. One kind of behavior didn’t fit the other. I didn’t care.”

17.   “the tigers have found me

and I do not care.”

18.   “‎”she’ mad but she’

magic. there’ no lie in her fire.”

19.   “I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.”

20.   “in this land some of us —- more than

we die but most of us die

better than we ——”

21.   “I was glad I wasn’t in love, that I wasn’t happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.”

23.   “so it’s always a process of letting go, one way or another”

24.   “Human relationships didn’t work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death–in a cesspool.”

25.   “your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray. it didn’t help. you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over the river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.”

26.   “nothing can save

you

except

writing.

it keeps the walls

from

failing.”

27.   “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

28.   “it was like any other

relationship, there was

jealousy on both sides,

there were split-ups and

reconciliations.

there were also fragmented moments of

great peace and beauty.

I often tried to get away from her and

she tied to get away from me

but it was difficult:

Cupid, in his strange way, was really

there.”

29.   “my mother, poor fish,

wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a

week, telling me to be happy: “Henry, smile!

why don’t you ever smile?”

and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the

saddest smile I ever saw”

30.   “I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.”

31.   “I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”

32.   “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”

33.   “writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.”

34.   “one can never be sure whether it’s good poetry or bad acid”

35. “There’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say, stay in there, I’m not going

to let anybody see

you.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I pur whiskey on him and inhale

cigarette smoke

and the and the bartenders

and the grocery clerks

never know that

he’s

in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say,

stay down, do you want to mess

me up?

you want to screw up the

works?

you want to blow my book sales in

Europe?

there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too clever, I only let him out

at night sometimes

when everybody’s asleep.

I say, I know that you’re there,

so don’t be

sad.

then I put him back,

but he’s singing a little

in there, I haven’t quite let him

die

and we sleep together like

that

with our

secret pact

and it’s nice enough to

make a man

weep, but I don’t

weep, do you?”

40 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.   “Any person can chase a skirt, art takes discipline.”

2.   “Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.”

3.   “whiskey makes the heart beat faster

but it sure doesn’t help the

mind and isn’t it funny how you can ache just

from the deadly drone of

existence?”

4.   “Yes Yes

when God created love he didn’t help most

when God created dogs He didn’t help dogs

when God created plants that was average

when God created hate we had a standard utility

when God created me He created me

when God created the monkey He was asleep

when He created the giraffe He was drunk

when He created narcotics He was high

and when He created suicide He was low

when He created you lying in bed

He knew what He was doing

He was drunk and He was high

and He created the mountains and the sea and fire at the same time

He made some mistakes

but when He created you lying in bed

He came all over His Blessed Universe.”

5.   “and when love came to us twice

and lied to us twice

we decided to never love again

that was fair

fair to us

and fair to love itself.

we ask for no mercy or no

miracles;

we are strong enough to live

and to die and to

kill flies,

attend the boxing matches, go to the racetrack,

live on luck and skill,

get alone, get alone often,

and if you can’t sleep alone

be careful of the words you speak in your sleep;

and

ask for no mercy

no miracles;

and don’t forget:

time is meant to be wasted,

love fails

and death is useless.”

6.   “The Genius Of The Crowd

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average

human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it

and the best at hate are those who preach love

and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god

those who preach peace do not have peace

those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers

beware the knowers

beware those who are always reading books

beware those who either detest poverty

or are proud of it

beware those quick to praise

for they need praise in return

beware those who are quick to censor

they are afraid of what they do not know

beware those who seek constant crowds for

they are nothing alone

beware the average man the average woman

beware their love, their love is average

seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred

there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you

to kill anybody

not wanting solitude

not understanding solitude

they will attempt to destroy anything

that differs from their own

not being able to create art

they will not understand art

they will consider their failure as creators

only as a failure of the world

not being able to love fully

they will believe your love incomplete

and then they will hate you

and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond

like a mountain

like a tiger

like hemlock

their finest art”

7.   “to fight for each minute is to

fight for what is possible within

yourself,

so that your life and your death

will not be like

theirs.”

8.   “Learn, he says, that there will be hours, days

and months ahead of feeling absolutely terrible

and nothing can change that; neither new

girlfriends, health professionals, changes of diet, dope, humility, or

God. ”

9.   “alone with everybody

the flesh covers the bone

and they put a mind

in there and

sometimes a soul,

and the women break

vases against the walls

and them men drink too

much

and nobody finds the

one

but they keep

looking

crawling in and out

of beds.

flesh covers

the bone and the

flesh searches

for more than

flesh.

there’s no chance

at all:

we are all trapped

by a singular

fate.

nobody ever finds

the one.

the city dumps fill

the junkyards fill

the madhouses fill

the hospitals fill

the graveyards fill

nothing else

fills.”

10.             “and then there are some who

believe that old

relationships can be

revived and made new

again.

but please

if you feel that way

don’t phone

don’t write

don’t arrive”

11.             “and you invented me

and I invented you

and that’s why we don’t

get along

on this bed

any longer.

you were the world’s

greatest invention

until you

flushed me

away.

now it’s your turn

to wait for the touch

of the handle.

somebody will do it

to you,,

and if they don’t

you will –

mixed with your own

green or yellow or white

or blue

or lavender

goodbye.”

12.             “Nothing is worse than to finish a good —-, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his—-.”

13.             “In my next life I want to be a cat. To sleep 20 hours a day and wait to be fed. To sit around licking my —–”

14.             “I didn’t have any friends at school, didn’t want any. I felt better being alone. I sat on a bench and watched the others play and they looked foolish to me.”

15.             “I wasn’t lonely. I experienced no self-pity. I was just caught up in a life in which I could find no meaning.”

16.             “Now something so sad has hold of us that the breath leaves and we can’t even cry.”

17.             “People empty me. I have to get away to refill.”

18.             “I don’t know about other people, but when I wake up in the morning and put my shoes on, I think, Jesus Christ, now what?”

19.             “It was better for me when I could imagine greatness in others, even if it wasn’t always there.”

20.             “Goodness can be found sometimes in the middle of hell.”

21.             “It was a joy! Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.”

22.             “the best often die by their own hand

just to get away,

and those left behind

can never quite understand

why anybody

would ever want to

get away

from

them”

23.             “It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.”

24.             “There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping

after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with

fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too

conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with

the family, runs through school and goes into the business

world.”

25.             “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.”

26.             “Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.”

27.             “The more you believe, the better off you are.”

28.             “Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope: be kind to them: like you they have not escaped.”

29.             “I suppose like others

I have come through fire and sword,

love gone wrong,

head-on crashes, drunk at sea,

and I have listened to the simple sound of water running

in tubs

and wished to drown”

30.             “they thought I had guts

they were wrong

I was only frightened of

more important things”

31.             “Human relationships were strange. I mean, you were with one person a while, eating and sleeping and living with them, loving them, talking to them, going places together, and then it stopped. Then there was a short period when you weren’t with anybody, then another woman arrived, and you ate with her and —– her, and it all seemed so normal, as if you had been waiting just for her and she had been waiting for you. I never felt right being alone; sometimes it felt good but it never felt right.”

32.             “the courage it took to get out of bed each

morning

to face the same things

over and over

was

enormous.”

33.             “The best thing about the bedroom was the bed. I liked to stay in bed for hours, even during the day with covers pulled up to my chin. It was good in there, nothing ever occurred in there, no people, nothing.”

34.             “the tired sunsets and the tired

people –

it takes a lifetime to die and

no time at

all.”

35.             “the writing of some

men

is like a vast bridge

that carries you

over

the many things

that claw and tear.

The Wine of Forever”

36.             “The crazy ones only laugh when there is no reason to laugh.”

37.             “I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.”

38.             “the history of melancholia

includes all of us.”

“nobody can save you but

yourself.

you will be put again and again

into nearly impossible

situations.

they will attempt again and again

through subterfuge, guise and

force

to make you submit, quit and/or die quietly

inside.

nobody can save you but

yourself

and it will be easy enough to fail

so very easily

but don’t, don’t, don’t.

just watch them.

listen to them.

do you want to be like that?

a faceless, mindless, heartless

being?

do you want to experience

death before death?

nobody can save you but

yourself

and you’re worth saving.

it’s a war not easily won

but if anything is worth winning then

this is it.

think about it.

think about saving your self.”

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

45 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1. “I wasn’t much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.”

2. “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.”

3. “There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”

4. “The area dividing the brain and the soul

Is affected in many ways by experience —

Some lose all mind and become soul:

insane.

Some lose all soul and become mind:

intellectual.

Some lose both and become:

accepted.”

5. “It began as a mistake.”

6. “To me, nudity is a joke. I don’t think nude people are very attractive at all. I like my women fully clothed. I like to imagine what might be under there. It might not be the standard thing. Imagine, stripping a woman down, and she has a body like a little submarine. With periscope, propellers, torpedoes. That would be the one for me. I’d marry her right off and be faithful to the end.”

7. “Finally there is nothing here for death to take away.”

8. “Our disappointment sits between us.”

9. “Beware

Those Who

Are ALWAYS

READING

BOOKS”

10.   “But my whole life has been a matter of fighting for one simple hour to do what I want to do. There was always something getting in the way of my getting to myself.”

11.   “The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole nation of driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.”

12.   “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”

13.   “i was born to hustle roses down the avenue of the dead.”

14.   “Once a woman turns against you, forget it. They can love you, then something turns in them. They can watch you dying in a gutter, run over by a car, and they’ll spit on you.”

15.   “I like to change liquor stores frequently because the clerks got to know your habits if you went in night and day and bought huge quantities. I could feel them wondering why I wasn’t dead yet and it made me uncomfortable. They probably weren’t thinking any such thing, but then a man gets paranoid when he has 300 hangovers a year.”

16.   “how come you’re so ugly?”

“my life has hardly been pretty — the hospitals, the jails, the jobs, the women, the drinking. some of my critics claim that i have deliberately inflicted myself with pain. i wish that some of my critics had been along with me for the journey. it’s true that i haven’t always chosen easy situations but that’s a hell of a long ways from saying that i leaped into the oven and locked the door. hangover, the electric needle, bad drink, bad women, madness in small rooms, starvation in the land of plenty, god knows how i got so ugly, i guess it just comes from being slugged and slugged again and again, and not going down, still trying to think, to feel, still trying to put the butterfly back together again…it’s written a map on my face that nobody would ever want to hang on their wall.

sometimes i’ll see myself somewhere…suddenly…say in a large mirror in a supermarket…eyes like little mean bugs…face scarred, twisted, yes, i look insane, demented, what a mess…spilled vomit of skin…yet, when i see the “handsome” men i think, my god my god, i’m glad i’m not them”

17.   “when the phone rings

I too would like to hear words

that might ease

some of this.”

18.   “The less I needed, the better I felt.”

20.   “Are you becoming what you’ve always hated?”

21.    “if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.”

22.   “…maybe a damned good night’s sleep will bring me back to a gentle sanity.

But at the moment, I look about this room and, like myself, it’s all in disarray: things fallen out of place, cluttered, jumbled, lost, knocked over and I can’t put it straight, don’t

want to.

Perhaps living through these petty days will get us ready for the dangerous ones.”

23.   “When a hot woman meets a hermit one of them is going to change.”

24.   “animals never worry about Heaven or Hell. neither do I. maybe that’s why we get along”

25.   “I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn’t want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn’t understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores.”

26.   “I can never drive my car over a bridge without thinking of suicide.

I can never look at a lake or an ocean without thinking of suicide.”

27.   “stay with the intoxicating drink.

intoxicating drink is continuous blood.

a continuous lover.”

28.   “But now and then, a woman walks up, full blossom, a woman just bursting out of her dress…a sex creature, a curse, the end of it all.”

29.   “There is a place in the heart that will never be filled; a space. And even during the best moments, and the greatest times, we will know it.”

30.   “beware the average man the average woman

beware their love, their love is average

seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred

there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you

to kill anybody

not wanting solitude

not understanding solitude

they will attempt to destroy anything

that differs from their own

not being able to create art

they will not understand art

they will consider their failure as creators

only as a failure of the world”


32.   “unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it”

33.   “Writing is something that you don’t know how to do. You sit down and it’s something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It’s beyond me, because you yourself don’t even know if you’re going to be able to. I’m always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I’ll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don’t go up there to write. The typewriter’s up there. If it doesn’t start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.”

34.   “What a woman wants is a reaction. What a man wants is a woman.”

35.   “purple does something strange to me”

36.   “If you are going to try, go all the way or don’t even start. If you follow it you will be alive with the gods. It is the only good fight there is.”

37.   “love be damned now

as love was damned when it

first arrived.”

38.   “If there are junk yards in hell, love is the dog that guards the gates.”

39.   “nobody ever finds

the one”

40.   “Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful, all alike. And I’ve got to live with these people for the rest of my life, I thought.”

41.   “Eyes. Those damn eyes —— me forever.”

42.   “What is your advice to young writers?”

“Drink and smoke plenty of cigarettes.”

43.   “when I am feeling

low

all i have to do is

watch my cats

and my

courage

returns”

44.   “regret is mostly caused by not having

done anything.”

45. “Love is a form of prejudice. You love what you need, you love what makes you feel good, you love what is convenient. How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you’ll never meet them.”

50 Charles Bukowski Quotes

1.    “some men never

die

and some men never

live

but we’re all alive

tonight.”

2.   “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”

3.   “I think I need a drink.’

‘Almost everybody does only they don’t know it.”

4.   “That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man.”

5.   “After dinner or lunch or whatever it was — with my crazy 12-hour night I was no longer sure what was what — I said, “Look, baby, I’m sorry, but don’t you realize that this job is driving me crazy? Look, let’s give it up. Let’s just lay around and make love and take walks and talk a little. Let’s go to the zoo. Let’s look at animals. Let’s drive down and look at the ocean. It’s only 45 minutes. Let’s play games in the arcades. Let’s go to the races, the Art Museum, the boxing matches. Let’s have friends. Let’s laugh. This kind of life like everybody else’s kind of life: it’s killing us.”

7. “I hope that death contains

less than this.”

9.   “I feel strangely normal.”

10.            “My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.”

11.            “Dying should come easy:

like a freight train you

don’t hear when

your back is

turned.”

12.            “Love breaks my

bones and I

laugh”

13.            “and I laugh, I can still laugh, who can’t laugh when the whole thing

is so ridiculous

that only the insane, the clowns, the half-wits, the cheaters, the ——, the horseplayers, the bankrobbers, the poets … are interesting?”

14.            “I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love,

and how you gave me everything you had

and how I offered you what was left of me.”

15.            “Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.”

16.            “when we were kids

laying around the lawn

on our

bellies

we often talked

about

how

we’d like to

die

and

we all

agreed on the

same

thing;

we’d all

(although

none of us

had

done any


and now

that

we are hardly

kids

any longer

we think more

about

how

not to

die

and

although

we’re

ready

most of

us

would

prefer to

do it

alone

under the

sheets

now

that

most of

us

have

our lives

away.”

17.            “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.”

18.            “I like women who haven’t lived with too many men.

I don’t expect virginity but I simply prefer women

who haven’t been rubbed raw by experience.

There is a quality about women who choose

men sparingly;

it appears in their walk

in their eyes

in their laughter and in their

gentle hearts.

Women who have had too many men

seem to choose the next one

out of revenge rather than with

feeling.

When you play the field selfishly everything

works against you:

one can’t insist on love or

demand affection.

You’re finally left with whatever

you have been willing to give

which often is:

nothing.”

19.            “I thought you were sane,” I said, “but you’re

just as crazy as the rest of them.”

20.            “What’s genius? I don’t know but I do know that the difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what

he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can’t help doing.”

21.            “I

think that the

world should be full of cats and full of rain, that’s all, just

cats and

rain, rain and cats, very nice, good

night.”

22.            “The nights you fight best are

when all the weapons are pointed at you,

when all the voices hurl their insults

while the dream is being strangled.

The nights you fight best are

when reason gets kicked in the gut,

when the chariots of gloom encircle you.

The nights you fight best are

when the laughter of fools fills the air,

when the kiss of death is mistaken for love.

The nights you fight best are

when the game is fixed,

when the crowd screams for your blood.

The nights you fight best are

on a night like this

as you chase a thousand dark rats from your brain,

as you rise up against the impossible,

as you become a brother to the tender sister of joy

and move on

regardless.”

23.            “I only want sweet peace and kindliness when I awaken — but there’s always some finger pointing, telling me some terrible deed I committed during the night. It seems I make a lot of mistakes and it seems that I am not allowed any.”

25.            “in this room

the hours of love

still make shadows.”

26.            “You are thirty minutes late.”

“Yes.”

“Would you be thirty minutes late to a wedding or a funeral?”

“No.”

“Why not, pray tell?”

“Well, if the funeral was mine I’d have to be on time. If the wedding was mine it would be my funeral.”

27.            “I have one problem, I don’t hate people. They disgust me and I want to get away from them. I do not have hatred. I have an escape mechanism.”

28.            “I knew I was strong, and maybe like they said, “crazy.” But I had this feeling inside of me that something real was there.”

29.            “You have my soul and I have your money”

30.            “having nothing to struggle

against

they have nothing to struggle

for.”

31.            “It’s a — you world. Well, keep it going anyhow, what the hell.”

32.            “I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.”

33.   “Each person is only given so many evenings and each wasted evening is a gross violation against the natural course of your only life.”

34.            “we had such tremendous fun

and much agony together

for some years”

35.            “I pretend to understand because I don’t want anybody to be hurt”

36.            “Belane, are you nuts?”

Who knows? Insanity is comparative. Who sets the norm?”

37.            “It’s so easy to be easy—if you let it.”

38.            “I never felt right being alone; sometimes it felt good but it never felt right.”

39.            “be it peace or happiness

let it enfold you”

40.            “I don’t remember going to bed, but in the morning, there I was.”

41.            “we know God is dead, they’ve told us, but listening to you I wasn’t sure.”

42.            “New Year’s Eve always terrifies me.”

43.            “there’s nothing to

discuss

there’s nothing to

remember

there’s nothing to

forget

it’s sad

and

it’s not

sad

seems the

most sensible

thing

a person can

do

is

sit

with drink in

hand

as the walls

wave

their goodbye

smiles

one comes through

it

all

with a certain

amount of

efficiency and

bravery

then

leaves

some accept

the possibility of

God

to help them

get

through

others

take it

staight on

and to these

I drink

tonight.”

44.            “News travels fast in places where nothing much ever happens.”

45.            “I don’t like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there”

47.            “You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

48.            “invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,

don’t swim in the same slough.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and

stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,

change your tone and shape so often that they can never categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and

accept what is

but only on the terms that you have invented

and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;

it is your life and

its history

and the present

belong only to

you.”

49.            “people are not good to each other.

perhaps if they were

our deaths would not be so sad.”

50. “People don’t need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn’t be.”

Other Mental health quotes which you may like

Below are other mental health quotes which may be of interest to you:

One day at a time quotes
Party Quotes
Paul Walker Quotes
Pema Chodron Quotes
Peter Pan Quotes
Positive soul mates quotes
Postnatal depression quotes
Priority Quotes to Inspire You

Conclusions

In this blog post we talked about a prolific and influential 20th-century poet, short story writer, and novelist, Charles Bukowski.

We also selected a handful of Chrles Bukowski quotes to inspire you. 

Bukowski is perhaps more well-known for his novels, such as Post Office, Factotum, Women, and Ham on Rye than for his poetry.

But even while he was working on novels he continued to write poetry and short stories.

In fact, at the time of his death in 1994, Bukowski had written over 5,300 poems and stories.

And those are only the titles that we know of.

There were likely hundreds more that were written—and subsequently lost—in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, before he began keeping copies of his work.

Which Charles Bukowski quote is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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