Some argue that Charles Bukowski may be the next best craftsman of the single sentence since Hemingway. And there’s truth in these words. Make sure you’re sitting down when you read these next 21 Bukowski quotes. If you begin to feel light-headed, take a breather. You’ll want to brace yourself for this prose.
Bukowski at His Best
- An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
- Find what you love and let it kill you.
- 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.
- I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.
- The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.
- My beer drunk soul is sadder than all the dead Christmas trees of the world.
- 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.
- 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.
- I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
- We drink our coffee and pretend not to look at each other.
- 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 fucked 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.
- People were usually much better in their letters than in reality. They were much like poets in this way.
- How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, forced-fed, 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?
- But then if you lied to a man about his talent just because he was sitting across from you, that was the most unforgivable lie of them all, because that was telling him to go on, to continue which was the worst way for a man without real talent to waste his life, finally. But many people did just that, friends and relatives mostly.
- That’s what they want: a God damned shows a lit billboard in the middle of hell. That’s what they want, that bunch of dull inarticulate safe, dreary admirers of carnivals.
- I saw a beautiful blonde girl embrace a young man there and kiss him with what seemed hunger and I stood and watched until they broke away.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the sun and in the rain, in the day and in the night, pain is a flower, pain is flowers, blooming all the time.
- All people start to come apart finally and there it is: just empty ashtrays in a room or wisps of hair on a comb in the dissolving moonlight.
- It is hard to find a man whose poems don’t finally disappoint you.
If you liked reading these Bukowski quotes, check out the Writers Corner at the Ritual Blog.
Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society. A cult hero, Bukowski relied on experience, emotion, and imagination in his work, using direct language and violent and sexual imagery.
Charles Bukowski was born on August 16, 1920, and died of Leukemia on March 9, 1994.
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