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

Rain

a symphony orchestra.
there is a thunderstorm,
they are playing a Wagner overture
and the people leave their seats under the trees
and run inside to the pavilion
the women giggling, the men pretending calm,
wet cigarettes being thrown away,
Wagner plays on, and then they are all under the
pavilion. the birds even come in from the trees
and enter the pavilion and then it is the Hungarian
Rhapsody #2 by Lizst, and it still rains, but look,
one man sits alone in the rain
listening. the audience notices him. they turn
and look. the orchestra goes about its
business. the man sits in the night in the rain,
listening. there is something wrong with him,
isn't there?
he came to hear the
music.

Charles Bukowski

No. 6

I'll settle for the 6 horse
on a rainy afternoon
a paper cup of coffee
in my hand
a little way to go,
the wind twirling out
small wrens from
the upper grandstand roof,
the jocks coming out
for a middle race
silent
and the easy rain making
everything
at once
almost alike,
the horses at peace with
each other
before the drunken war
and I am under the grandstand
feeling for
cigarettes
settling for coffee,
then the horses walk by
taking their little men
away-
it is funeral and graceful
and glad
like the opening
of flowers.

Charles Bukowski

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 the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but 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.

Charles Bukowski

The Sun Weilds Mercy

and the sun weilds mercy
but like a jet torch carried to high,
and the jets whip across its sight
and rockets leap like toads,
and the boys get out the maps
and pin-cuishon the moon,
old green cheese,
no life there but too much on earth:
our unwashed India boys
crosssing their legs,playing pipes,
starving with sucked in bellies,
watching the snakes volute
like beautiful women in the hungry air;
the rockets leap,
the rockets leap like hares,
clearing clump and dog
replacing out-dated bullets;
the Chineses still carve
in jade,quietly stuffing rice
into their hunger, a hunger
a thousand years old,
their muddy rivers moving with fire
and song, barges, houseboats
pushed by drifting poles
of waiting without wanting;
in Turkey they face the East
on their carpets
praying to a purple god
who smokes and laughs
and sticks fingers in their eyes
blinding them, as gods will do;
but the rockets are ready: peace is no longer,
for some reason,precious;
madness drifts like lily pads
on a pond circling senselessly;
the painters paint dipping
their reds and greens and yellows,
poets rhyme their lonliness,
musicians starve as always
and the novelists miss the mark,
but not the pelican , the gull;
pelicans dip and dive, rise,
shaking shocked half-dead
radioactive fish from their beaks;
indeed, indeed, the waters wash
the rocks with slime; and on wall st.
the market staggers like a lost drunk
looking for his key; ah,
this will be a good one,by God:
it will take us back to the
sabre-teeth, the winged monkey
scrabbling in pits over bits
of helmet, instrument and glass;
a lightning crashes across
the window and in a million rooms
lovers lie entwined and lost
and sick as peace;
the sky still breaks red and orange for the
painters-and for the lovers,
flowers open as they always have
opened but covered with thin dust
of rocket fuel and mushrooms,
poison mushrooms; it's a bad time,
a dog-sick time-curtain
act 3, standing room only,
SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT again,
by god,by somebody and something,
by rockets and generals and
leaders, by poets , doctors, comedians,
by manufacturers of soup
and biscuits, Janus-faced hucksters
of their own indexerity;
I can now see now the coal-slick
contanminated fields, a snail or 2,
bile, obsidian, a fish or 3
in the shallows, an obloquy of our
source and our sight.....
has this happend before? is history
a circle that catches itself by the tail,
a dream, a nightmare,
a general's dream, a presidents dream,
a dictators dream...
can't we awaken?
or are the forces of life greater than we are?
can't we awaken? must we foever,
dear freinds, die in our sleep?

Charles Bukowski

Flophouse

you haven't lived
until you've been in a
flophouse
with nothing but one
light bulb
and 56 men
squeezed together
on cots
with everybody
snoring
at once
and some of those
snores
so
deep and
gross and
unbelievable-
dark
snotty
gross
subhuman
wheezings
from hell
itself.
your mind
almost breaks
under those
death-like
sounds
and the
intermingling
odors:
hard
unwashed socks
pissed and
shitted
underwear
and over it all
slowly circulating
air
much like that
emanating from
uncovered
garbage
cans.
and those
bodies
in the dark
fat and
thin
and
bent
some
legless
armless
some
mindless
and worst of
all:
the total
absence of
hope
it shrouds
them
covers them
totally.
it's not
bearable.
you get
up
go out
walk the
streets
up and
down
sidewalks
past buildings
around the
corner
and back
up
the same
street
thinking
those men
were all
children
once
what has happened
to
them?
and what has
happened
to
me?
it's dark
and cold
out
here.

Charles Bukowski

Question And Answer

he sat naked and drunk in a room of summer
night, running the blade of the knife
under his fingernails, smiling, thinking
of all the letters he had received
telling him that
the way he lived and wrote about
that--
it had kept them going when
all seemed
truly
hopeless.



putting the blade on the table, he
flicked it with a finger
and it whirled
in a flashing circle
under the light.



who the hell is going to save
me? he
thought.



as the knife stopped spinning
the answer came:
you're going to have to
save yourself.



still smiling,
a: he lit a
cigarette
b: he poured
another
drink
c: gave the blade
another
spin.


--from The Last Night of the Earth Poems

Charles Bukowski

Layover

Making love in the sun, in the morning sun
in a hotel room
above the alley
where poor men poke for bottles;
making love in the sun
making love by a carpet redder than our blood,
making love while the boys sell headlines
and Cadillacs,
making love by a photograph of Paris
and an open pack of Chesterfields,
making love while other men- poor folks-
work.
That moment- to this. . .
may be years in the way they measure,
but it's only one sentence back in my mind-
there are so many days
when living stops and pulls up and sits
and waits like a train on the rails.
I pass the hotel at 8
and at 5; there are cats in the alleys
and bottles and bums,
and I look up at the window and think,
I no longer know where you are,
and I walk on and wonder where
the living goes
when it stops.

Charles Bukowski

An Almost Made Up Poem

I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about
ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you
knew famous artists and most of them
were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right,
go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous
because we’ never met. we got close once in
New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never
touched. so you went with the famous and wrote
about the famous, and, of course, what you found out
is that the famous are worried about
their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed
with them, who gives them that, and then awakens
in the morning to write upper case poems about
ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ told
us, but listening to you I wasn’ sure. maybe
it was the upper case. you were one of the
best female poets and I told the publishers,
editors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’
magic. there’ no lie in her fire.” I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you
I would probably have been unfair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.

Charles Bukowski

Friends Within The Darkness

I can remember starving in a
small room in a strange city
shades pulled down, listening to
classical music
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.

the old composers -- Mozart, Bach, Beethoven,
Brahms were the only ones who spoke to me and
they were dead.

finally, starved and beaten, I had to go into
the streets to be interviewed for low-paying and
monotonous
jobs
by strange men behind desks
men without eyes men without faces
who would take away my hours
break them
piss on them.

now I work for the editors the readers the
critics

but still hang around and drink with
Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the
Bee
some buddies
some men
sometimes all we need to be able to continue alone
are the dead
rattling the walls
that close us in.

Charles Bukowski

It's Ours

there is always that space there
just before they get to us
that space
that fine relaxer
the breather
while say
flopping on a bed
thinking of nothing
or say
pouring a glass of water from the
spigot
while entranced by
nothing

that
gentle pure
space

it's worth

centuries of
existence

say

just to scratch your neck
while looking out the window at
a bare branch

that space
there
before they get to us
ensures
that
when they do
they won't
get it all

ever.

Charles Bukowski

Raw With Love

little dark girl with
kind eyes
when it comes time to
use the knife
I won't flinch and
i won't blame
you,
as I drive along the shorealone
as the palms wave,
the ugly heavy palms,
as the living does not arrive
as the dead do notleave,
i won'tblame you,
insteaad
i will remeber 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 remeber your small room
the feel of you
the light in the window
your recordds
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.
little dark girl with kind eys
you have no
knife.the knife is
mine and i won't use it
yet.

Charles Bukowski

True

one of Lorca's best lines
is,
"agony, always
agony ..."
think of this when you
kill a
cockroach or
pick up a razor to
shave
or awaken in the morning
to
face the
sun.

Charles Bukowski

Poem For My 43rd Birthday

To end up alone
in a tomb of a room
without cigarettes
or wine--
just a lightbulb
and a potbelly,
grayhaired,
and glad to have
the room.
...in the morning
they're out there
making money:
judges, carpenters,
plumbers, doctors,
newsboys, policemen,
barbers, carwashers,
dentists, florists,
waitresses, cooks,
cabdrivers...
and you turn over
to your left side
to get the sun
on your back
and out
of your eyes.
from "All's Normal Here" - 1985

Charles Bukowski

Big Night On The Town

drunk on the dark streets of some city,
it's night, you're lost, where's your
room?
you enter a bar to find yourself,
order scotch and water.
damned bar's sloppy wet, it soaks
part of one of your shirt
sleeves.
It's a clip joint-the scotch is weak.
you order a bottle of beer.
Madame Death walks up to you
wearing a dress.
she sits down, you buy her a
beer, she stinks of swamps, presses
a leg against you.
the bar tender sneers.
you've got him worried, he doesn't
know if you're a cop, a killer, a
madman or an
Idiot.
you ask for a vodka.
you pour the vodka into the top of
the beer bottle.
It's one a.m. In a dead cow world.
you ask her how much for head,
drink everything down, it tastes
like machine oil.

you leave Madame Death there,
you leave the sneering bartender
there.

you have remembered where
your room is.
the room with the full bottle of
wine on the dresser.
the room with the dance of the
roaches.
Perfection in the Star Turd
where love died
laughing.

Charles Bukowski
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