Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski , was a Los Angeles, California poet and novelist often mistakenly associated with Beat Generation writers because of alleged similarities of style and attitude. Bukowski's writing was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles. He wrote more than fifty books and countless smaller pieces. He is often mentioned as an influence by contemporary authors and his style is frequently imitated.
Found 114 thoughts of Charles Bukowski

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

Charles Bukowski

I don't hate people, I just feel better when they aren't around.

Charles Bukowski

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.

Charles Bukowski

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 or 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 beer. 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.

Charles Bukowski

Eat Your Heart Out

I've come by, she says, to tell you
that this is it. I'm not kidding, it's
over. this is it.
I sit on the couch watching her arrange
her long red hair before my bedroom
mirror.
she pulls her hair up and
piles it on top of her head-
she lets her eyes look at
my eyes-
then she drops her hair and
lets it fall down in front of her face.
we go to bed and I hold her
speechlessly from the back
my arm around her neck
I touch her wrists and hands
feel up to
her elbows
no further.
she gets up.
this is it, she says,
this will do. well,
I'm going.
I get up and walk her
to the door
just as she leaves
she says,
I want you to buy me
some high-heeled shoes
with tall thin spikes,
black high-heeled shoes.
no, I want them
red.
I watch her walk down the cement walk
under the trees
she walks all right and
as the pointsettas drip in the sun
I close the door.

Charles Bukowski

Metamorphosis

a girlfriend came in
built me a bed
scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor
scrubbed the walls
vacuumed
cleaned the toilet
the bathtub
scrubbed the bathroom floor
and cut my toenails and
my hair.
then
all on the same day
the plumber came and fixed the kitchen faucet
and the toilet
and the gas man fixed the heater
and the phone man fixed the phone.
noe I sit in all this perfection.
it is quiet.
I have broken off with all 3 of my girlfriends.
I felt better when everything was in
disorder.
it will take me some months to get back to normal:
I can't even find a roach to commune with.
I have lost my rythm.
I can't sleep.
I can't eat.
I have been robbed of
my filth.

Charles Bukowski

The Shower

we like to shower afterwards
(I like the water hotter than she)
and her face is always soft and peaceful
and she'll watch me first
spread the soap over my balls
lift the balls
squeeze them,
then wash the cock:
"hey, this thing is still hard!"
then get all the hair down there,-
the belly, the back, the neck, the legs,
I grin grin grin,
and then I wash her. . .
first the cunt, I
stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her ass
I gently soap up the cunt hairs,
wash there with a soothing motion,
I linger perhaps longer than necessary,
then I get the backs of the legs, the ass,
the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her,
soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck,
the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet,
and then the cunt, once more, for luck. . .
another kiss, and she gets out first,
toweling, sometimes singing while I stay in
turn the water on hotter
feeling the good times of love's miracle
I then get out. . .
it is usually mid-afternoon and quiet,
and getting dressed we talk about what else
there might be to do,
but being together solves most of it
for as long as those things stay solved
in the history of women and
man, it's different for each-
for me, it's splendid enough to remember
past the memories of pain and defeat and unhappiness:
when you take it away
do it slowly and easily
make it as if I were dying in my sleep instead of in
my life, amen.

Charles Bukowski

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

if I suffer at this
typewriter
think how I'd feel
among the lettuce-
pickers of Salinas?
I think of the men
I've known in
factories
with no way to
get out-
choking while living
choking while laughing
at Bob Hope or Lucille
Ball while
2 or 3 children beat
tennis balls against
the wall.
some suicides are never
recorded.

Charles Bukowski

Decline

naked along the side of the house,
8 a.m., spreading sesame seed oil
over my body, Jesus, have I come
to this?
I once battled in dark alleys for a
laugh.
now I'm not laughing.
I splash myself with oil and wonder,
how many years do you want?
how many days?
my blood is soiled and a dark
angel sits in my brain.
things are made of something and
go to nothing.
I understand the fall of cities, of
nations.
a small plane passes overhead.
I look upward as if it made sense to
look upward.
it's true, the sky has rotted:
it won't be long for any of
us.
from The Olympia Review - 1994

Charles Bukowski

Love & Fame & Death

it sits outside my window now
like and old woman going to market;
it sits and watches me,
it sweats nevously
through wire and fog and dog-bark
until suddenly
I slam the screen with a newspaper
like slapping at a fly
and you could hear the scream
over this plain city,
and then it left.

the way to end a poem
like this
is to become suddenly
quiet.

Charles Bukowski

Eulogy To A Hell Of A Dame

some dogs who sleep ay night
must dream of bones
and I remember your bones
in flesh
and best
in that dark green dress
and those high-heeled bright
black shoes,
you always cursed when you drank,
your hair coimng down you
wanted to explode out of
what was holding you:
rotten memories of a
rotten
past, and
you finally got
out
by dying,
leaving me with the
rotten
present;
you've been dead
28 years
yet I remember you
better than any of
the rest;
you were the only one
who understood
the futility of the
arrangement of
life;
all the others were only
displeased with
trivial segments,
carped
nonsensically about
nonsense;
Jane, you were
killed by
knowing too much.
here's a drink
to your bones
that
this dog
still
dreams about.

Charles Bukowski

Trapped

don't undress my love
you might find a mannequin:
don't undress the mannequin
you might find
my love.
she's long ago
forgotten me.
she's trying on a new
hat
and looks more the
coquette
than ever.

she is a
child
and a mannequin
and death.
I can't hate
that.
she didn't do
anything
unusual.
I only wanted her
to.

Charles Bukowski

Freedom

he drank wine all night of the
28th, and he kept thinking of her:
the way she walked and talked and loved
the way she told him things that seemed true
but were not, and he knew the color of each
of her dresses
and her shoes-he knew the stock and curve of
each heel
as well as the leg shaped by it.

and she was out again and whe he came home,and
she'd come back with that special stink again,
and she did
she came in at 3 a.m in the morning
filthy like a dung eating swine
and
he took out a butchers knife
and she screamed
backing into the roominghouse wall
still pretty somehow
in spite of love's reek
and he finished the glass of wine.

that yellow dress
his favorite
and she screamed again.

and he took up the knife
and unhooked his belt
and tore away the cloth before her
and cut off his balls.

and carried them in his hands
like apricots
and flushed them down the
toilet bowl
and she kept screaming
as the room became red

GOD O GOD!
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

and he sat there holding 3 towels
between his legs
no caring now wether she lft or
stayed
wore yellow or green or
anything at all.

and one hand holding and one hand
lifting he poured
another wine

Charles Bukowski

Sway With Me

sway with me, everything sad --
madmen in stone houses
without doors,
lepers steaming love and song
frogs trying to figure
the sky;
sway with me, sad things --
fingers split on a forge
old age like breakfast shell
used books, used people
used flowers, used love
I need you
I need you
I need you:
it has run away
like a horse or a dog,
dead or lost
or unforgiving.

Charles Bukowski

Nirvana

not much chance,
completely cut loose from
purpose,
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the wat to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
entered.
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arived.
the meal was
particularly
good
and the
coffee.
the waitress was
unlike the women
he had
known.
she was unaffected,
there was a natural
humor which came
from her.
the fry cook said
crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back,
laughed, a good
clean
pleasant
laugh.
the young man watched
the snow through the
windows.
he wanted to stay
in that cafe
forever.
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
was
beautiful
there,
that it would always
stay beautiful
there.
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board.
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
here.
but then
he rose and followed
the others into the
bus.
he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
window.
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills.
the young man
looked straight
foreward.
he heard the other
passengers
speaking
of other things,
or they were
reading
or
attempting to
sleep.
they had not
noticed
the
magic.
the young man
put his head to
one side,
closed his
eyes,
pretended to
sleep.
there was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
engine,
the sound of the
tires
in the
snow.

Charles Bukowski

Somebody

god I got the sad blue blues,
this woman sat there and she
said
are you really Charles



Bukowski?




and I said

forget that


I do not feel good
I've got the sad sads
all I want to do is
fuck you
and she laughed
she thought I was being
clever
and O I just looked up her long slim legs of heaven
I saw her liver and her quivering intestine
I saw Christ in there
jumping to a folk-rock
all the long lines of starvation within me
rose
and I walked over
and grabbed her on the couch
ripped her dress up around her face
and I didn't care
rape or the end of the earth
one more time
to be there
anywhere
real
yes
her panties were on the
floor
and my cock went in
my cock my god my cock went in
I was Charles
Somebody.

Charles Bukowski

The Most

here comes the fishhead singing
here comes the baked potato in drag
here comes nothing to do all day long
here comes another night of no sleep
here comes the phone wringing the wrong tone
here comes a termite with a banjo
here comes a flagpole with blank eyes
here comes a a cat and a dog wearing nylons
here comes a machine gun saying
here comes bacon burning in the pan
here comes a voice saying something dull
here comes a newspaper stuffed with small red birds
with flat brown beaks
here comes a cunt carrying a torch
a grenade
a deathly love
here comes a victory carrying
one bucket of blood
and stumbling over the berry bush
and the sheets hang out the windows
and the bombers head east west north south
get lost
get tossed like salad
as all the fish in the sea line up and form
one line
one long line
one very long thin line
the longest line you could ever imagine
and we get lost
walking past purple mountains
we walk lost
bare at last like the knife
having given
having spit it out like an unexpected olive seed
as the girl at the call service
screams over the phone:
"don't call back! you sound like a jerk!"

Charles Bukowski

Curtain

the final curtain on one of the longest running
musicals ever, some people claim to have
seen it over one hundred times.
I saw it on the tv news, that final curtain:
flowers, cheers, tears, a thunderous
accolade.
I have not seen this particular musical
but I know if I had that I wouldn't have
been able to bear it, it would have
sickened me.
trust me on this, the world and its
peoples and its artful entertainment has
done very little for me, only to me.
still, let them enjoy one another, it will
keep them from my door
and for this, my own thunderous
accolade.
from The Olympia Review - 1994

Charles Bukowski

For Jane

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
everything.
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.

Charles Bukowski

This Then

it's the same as before
or the other time
or the time before that.
here's a cock
and here's a cunt
and here's trouble.

only each time
you think
well now I've learned:
I'll let her do that
and I'll do this,
I no longer want it all,
just some comfort
and some sex
and only a minor
love.

now I'm waiting again
and the years run thin.
I have my radio
and the kitchen walls
are yellow.
I keep dumping bottles
and listening
for footsteps.

I hope that death contains
less than this.

Charles Bukowski

Working Out

Van Gogh cut off his ear
gave it to a
prostitute
who flung it away in
extreme
disgust.
Van, whores don't want
ears
they want
money.
I guess that's why you were
such a great
painter: you
didn't understand
much
else.

Charles Bukowski

Consummation Of Grief

I even hear the mountains
the way they laugh
up and down their blue sides
and down in the water
the fish cry
and the water
is their tears.
I listen to the water
on nights I drink away
and the sadness becomes so great
I hear it in my clock
it becomes knobs upon my dresser
it becomes paper on the floor
it becomes a shoehorn
a laundry ticket
it becomes
cigarette smoke
climbing a chapel of dark vines. . .
it matters little
very little love is not so bad
or very little life
what counts
is waiting on walls
I was born for this
I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead.

Charles Bukowski

Writing

often it is the only
thing
between you and
impossibility.
no drink,
no woman's love,
no wealth
can
match it.
nothing can save
you
except
writing.
it keeps the walls
from
failing.
the hordes from
closing in.
it blasts the
darkness.
writing is the
ultimate
psychiatrist,
the kindliest
god of all the
gods.
writing stalks
death.
it knows no
quit.
and writing
laughs
at itself,
at pain.
it is the last
expectation,
the last
explanation.
that's
what it
is.
from blank gun silencer - 1991

Charles Bukowski

Sleep

she was a short one
getting fat and she had once been
beautiful and
she drank the wine
she drank the wine in bed and
talked and screamed and cursed at
me
and i told her
please, I need some
sleep.
-sleep? sleep? ya son of a
bitch, ya never sleep, ya
don't need any
sleep!
I buried her one morning early
I carried her down the sides of the Hollywood Hills
brambles and rabbits and rocks
running in front of me
and by the time I'd dug the ditch
and stuck her in
belly down
and put the dirt back on
the sun was up and it was warm
and the flies were lazy and
I could hardly see anything out of my eyes
everything was so
warm and yellow.
I managed to drive home and I got into bed and I
slept for 5 days and 4
nights.
from "poems written before jumping out of an 8 story window" - 1966

Charles Bukowski

Three Oranges

first time my father overheard me listening to
this bit of music he asked me,
"what is it?"
"it's called Love For Three Oranges,"
I informed him.
"boy," he said, "that's getting it
cheap."
he meant sex.
listening to it
I always imagined three oranges
sitting there,
you know how orange they can
get,
so mightily orange.
maybe Prokofiev had meant
what my father
thought.
if so, I preferred it the
other way
the most horrible thing
I could think of
was part of me being
what ejaculated out of the
end of his
stupid penis.
I will never forgive him
for that,
his trick that I am stuck
with,
I find no nobility in
parenthood.
I say kill the Father
before he makes more
such as
I.
from ONTHEBUS - 1992

Charles Bukowski
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