A List of the Best Charles Bukowski Quotes

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A List of the Best Charles Bukowski Quotes

A List of the Best Charles Bukowski Quotes

featured, people, writing
Reading Time: < 1

Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers. I love his raw, honest style of writing and clear, straight-to-the-point tone of voice. My favorite Charles Bukowski novel is Ham On Rye, although I love Post Office, too. And my favorite book of poetry by Charles Bukowski is Love Is A Dog From Hell. Over the years, I’ve gathered a list of my favorite, best Charles Bukowski quotes for your reading pleasure. Quotes about drinking (his favorite hobby), quotes about love and relationships, & quotes about life in general. Check out my Charles Bukowski Biography post here.

My list of the best Charles Bukowski quotes:

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.

— Charles Bukowski

Practice- that’s all it took. All a guy needed was a chance. Somebody was always controlling who got a chance, & who didn’t.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye

He taught me the meaning of pain. Pain without reason.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye

she was consumed by 3 simple things:
drink, despair, loneliness; and 2 more:
youth and beauty

— Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers At Last

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

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski, An Almost Made Up Poem

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.

— Charles Bukowski

Great art is horseshit, buy tacos.

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski, Women

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

I don’t care what they say after I’m dead. In fact, I hardly care what they say while I’m alive. I only write to help myself get through the weeks and the months and the years.

— Charles Bukowski

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.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

I hated them because they had something I had not yet had, and I said to myself, I said to myself again, someday I will be as happy as any of you, you will see.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

We sat on a park bench and chewed the gum and I thought, well, now I have found something, I have found something that is going to help me, for a long time to come. The park grass looked greener, the park benches and the flowers were trying harder.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye

beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone

— Charles Bukowski, The Genius of the Crowd

Love breaks my bones
and I laugh

— Charles Bukowski

The tigers have found me and I do not care.

— Charles Bukowski, For Jane

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

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski

I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go.

— Charles Bukowski, The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966

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

— Charles Bukowski, Factotum

In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.

— Charles Bukowski, Post Office

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

— Charles Bukowski, An Almost Made Up Poem

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.

— Charles Bukowski

So it’s always a process of letting go, one way or another.

— Charles Bukowski

nothing can save
you
except
writing.
it keeps the walls
from
failing.

— Charles Bukowski

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.”

— Charles Bukowski

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.

— Charles Bukowski, An Almost Made Up Poem

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

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski

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.

— Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?

— Charles Bukowski, Post Office

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.

— Charles Bukowski

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.

— Charles Bukowski

The less I needed, the better I felt.

— Charles Bukowski

I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go.

— Charles Bukowski

I guess we often get the deep blues, both of us, and wonder what it all means – the people, the buildings, the day by day things, the waste of time, of ourselves.

— Charles Bukowski

Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski

Without literature, life is hell.

— Charles Bukowski

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

People wanted a loser who became a winner. Or a winner who became a loser. But a loser who stayed a loser? That was too much like themselves. They weren’t interested in themselves.

— Charles Bukowski, More Notes of a Dirty Old Man

I was alone again, I always felt better being alone. When you’re alone, the only problem is yourself. It’s nicer that way. You stay out of trouble.

— Charles Bukowski

Any person into living and creativity must discourage a certain number of visitors, if not most of them.

— Charles Bukowski

To go someplace to work every day and to return. It was impossible. To do things, simple things, to be part of family picnics, Christmas, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Mother’s Day… was a man born just to endure those things and then die?

— Charles Bukowski

I avoid the mirror with a studied regularity.

— Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems

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

— Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye

Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.

— Charles Bukowski

I didn’t pay a hell of a lot of attention to grammar, and when I write it is for the love of the word, the color, like tossing paint on a canvas, and using a lot of ear and having read a bit here and there, I generally come out ok, but technically I don’t know what’s happening, nor do I care.

— Charles Bukowski

stay out of churches and bars and museums,
and like the spider be
patient—
time is everybody’s cross

— Charles Bukowski, How to Be a Great Writer

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…You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.

— Charles Bukowski, Go All the Way

An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski

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

I am waiting to live,
waiting to die.

— Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse

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 fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
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

— Charles Bukowski, Dinosauria, We

Brilliant men are created out of desperate circumstances; fools are also.

— Charles Bukowski

the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us
impossibly.

— Charles Bukowski

But trouble and pain were what kept a man alive. Or trying to avoid pain and trouble. It was a full time job. And sometimes even in sleep you couldn’t rest.

— Charles Bukowski, Pulp

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.

— Charles Bukowski

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.

— Charles Bukowski

Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It’s just there a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.

— Charles Bukowski

She had wild eyes, slightly insane. She also carried an overload of compassion that was real enough and which obviously cost her something.

— Charles Bukowski, Women

Money is like sex. It seems much more important when you don’t have any.

— Charles Bukowski

Never get out of bed before noon.

— Charles Bukowski

Everybody was screwed. There were no winners. There were only apparent winners. We were all chasing after a lot of nothing. Day after day. Survival seemed the only necessity. That didn’t seem enough. Not with Lady Death waiting.

— Charles Bukowski

don’t feel sorry for me
because I am alone
for even
at the most terrible
moments
humor
is my
companion.

— Charles Bukowski

Often the best parts of life were when you weren’t doing anything at all, just mulling it over, chewing on it.

— Charles Bukowski, Pulp

I didn’t like parties. I didn’t know how to dance and people frightened me, especially people at parties. They attempted to be sexy and gay and witty and although they hoped they were good at it, they weren ‘t. They were bad at it.

— Charles Bukowski

I was an agnostic. Agnostics didn’t have much to argue about.”

— Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye

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.

— Charles Bukowski

My beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead Christmas trees of the world.

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski, Factotum

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

— Charles Bukowski

I was easy to please. It was the rest of the world that was the problem.

— Charles Bukowski

And i call god a liar, i say anything that moved like that or knew my name could never die in the common verity of dying.

— Charles Bukowski

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

— Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense


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