Charles Bukowski Quotes


Inspirational Quotes by Charles Bukowski


Table of Contents


Quotes About (Clickable):


Charles Bukowski Quotes about Death


“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death. They don’t honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can’t hear it. Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.”

– Charles Bukowski, The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors have taken over the Ship


“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.”

– Charles Bukowski,  The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors have taken over the Ship


“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 stonewritten. 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,  “The Meaning of Life: The Big Picture”, Life Magazine (December 1988)

Click for more quotes about Death

Top

Charles Bukowski Quotes about Life & Society


 “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.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Tales of Ordinary Madness


“If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Notes of a Dirty Old Man


“My ambition is handicapped by my laziness.”

– Charles Bukowski, Factotum


“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.”

– Charles Bukowski, Factotum


“That was all a man needed: hope. It was a lack of hope that discouraged a man. I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars a day for weeks at a time in order to have leisure to write. But starvation, unfortunately, didn’t improve art. It only hindered it. A man’s soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a porterhouse steak and drinking a pint of whiskey than he could ever write after eating a nickel candy bar. The myth of the starving artist was a hoax.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Factotum


“I found out that Hollywood is more crooked, dumber, crueler, stupider than all the books I’ve read about it. They didn’t go deeply enough into how it lacks art, and soul, and heart— how it’s really a piece of crap. There are too many hands directing, there’re too many fingers in the pot, and they’re all kind of ignorant about what they’re doing. They’re greedy, and they’re vicious. So you don’t get much of a movie.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Interview included in the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This. Discussing the movie adaptation of Barfly and his novel Hollywood.

 


“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

– Charles Bukowski,  Factotum


“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.”

– Charles Bukowski, Women

 


“And my own affairs were as bad, as dismal, as the day I had been born. The only difference was that now I could drink now and then, though never often enough. Drink was the only thing that kept a man from feeling forever stunned and useless. 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 fuckers for the rest of my life, I thought. God, they all had assholes and sexual organs and their mouths and their armpits. They shit and they chattered and they were dull as horse dung. The girls looked good from a distance, the sun shining through their dresses, their hair. But get up close and listen to their minds running out of their mouths, you felt like digging in under a hill and hiding out with a tommy-gun. I would certainly never be able to be happy, to get married, I could never have children. Hell, I couldn’t even get a job as a dishwasher.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Ham On Rye


“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 goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate 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.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Ham On Rye


“If I’m an ass, I should say so. If I don’t, somebody else will. If I say it first, that disarms them.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Interview with Robert Wennersten (1974)

Click here for more quotes about Life

Top

Charles Bukowski Quotes about Morality & Politics


 “Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Bach, 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.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Women


“LSD, yeah, the big parade – everybody’s doin’ it now. Take LSD, then you are a poet, an intellectual. What a sick mob. I am building a machine gun in my closet now to take out as many of them as I can before they get me.”

– Charles Bukowski,   letter to Steven Richmond (Published in Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life by Howard Sounes)


“I think that everything should be made available to everybody, and I mean LSD, cocaine, codeine, grass, opium, the works. Nothing on earth available to any man should be confiscated and made unlawful by other men in more seemingly powerful and advantageous positions. More often than not Democratic Law works to the advantage of the few even though the many have voted; this, of course, is because the few have told them how to vote. I grow tired of 18th century moralities in a 20th century space-atomic age. If I want to kill myself I feel that should be my business. If I go out and hold up gas stations at night to pay for my supply it is because the law inflates a very cheap thing into an escalated war against my nerves and my soul.”

– Charles Bukowski,  This Floundering Old Bastard is the Best Damn Poet in Town”, interview by John Thomas, in LA Free Press (1967)

Click here for more quotes about Politics

Top

Charles Bukowski Quotes about Women & Love


 “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.”

– Charles Bukowski, Women


“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.”

– Charles Bukowski, Women

 


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

– Charles Bukowski,  Women

 


“Morals were restrictive, but they were grounded on human experience.”

– Charles BukowskiWomen

 


“Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Women

 


“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.”

– Charles Bukowski,  Women


“… don’t wait for the good woman. She doesn’t exist. There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts. The female loves to play man against man, and if she is in a position to do it there is not one who will not resist. The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal. and torture and damnation. Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.

– Charles Bukowski,  in a letter to Steven Richmond (Published in Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life by Howard Sounes)”

Click here for more quotes about Love

Top


 
Related Material


 


Top

Share this Page: