Alone time

June 21, 2018

I only like time alone to lay around and stare at the ceiling for a while without voices around or bodies with voices. Like that.

Charles Bukowski
July 1965 letter to Tom MacNamara

no definite talent

April 10, 2018

Went back to night school there about a year ago and took some art courses, commercial and otherwise but then too, they moved too slow for me and wanted too much obeisance. I have no definite talent or trade, and how I stay alive is largely a matter of magic.

Charles Bukowski
On Writing

A madman or a master

March 24, 2018

Most poets are young simply because they have not been caught up. Show me an old poet and I’ll show you, more often than not, either a madman or a master . . . it’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order simply to make a poem, that you fail. That is why I do not rework poems.

Charles Bukowski
On Writing

have a few drinks

March 22, 2018

I never type in the morning. I don’t get up in the morning. I drink at night. I try to stay in bed until twelve o’clock, that’s noon. Usually, if I have to get up earlier, I don’t feel good all day. I look, if it says twelve, then I get up and my day begins. I eat something, and then I usually run right up to the race track after I wake up. I bet the horses, then I come back and Linda cooks something and we talk awhile, we eat, and we have a few drinks, and then I go upstairs with a couple of bottles and I type — starting around nine-thirty and going until one-thirty, to, two-thirty at night. And that’s it.

Charles Bukowski
Sunlight here I am: interviews and encounters 1963 – 1993

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Charles Bukowski

Trapped

June 9, 2017

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

Place of note

April 21, 2017

The Shoelace

August 8, 2016

broken shoelace

a woman, a
tire that’s flat, a
disease, a
desire: fears in front of you,
fears that hold so still
you can study them
like pieces on a
chessboard…
it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse. death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
madhouse…
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left …
The dread of life
is that swarm of trivialities
that can kill quicker than cancer
and which are always there –
license plates or taxes
or expired driver’s license,
or hiring or firing,
doing it or having it done to you, or
roaches or flies or a
broken hook on a
screen, or out of gas
or too much gas,
the sink’s stopped-up, the landlord’s drunk,
the president doesn’t care and the governor’s
crazy.
lightswitch broken, mattress like a
porcupine;
$105 for a tune-up, carburetor and fuel pump at
sears roebuck;
and the phone bill’s up and the, market’s
down
and the toilet chain is
broken,
and the light has burned out –
the hall light, the front light, the back light,
the inner light; it’s
darker than hell
and twice as
expensive.
then there’s always crabs and ingrown toenails
and people who insist they’re
your friends;
there’s always that and worse;
leaky faucet, christ and christmas;
blue salami, 9 day rains,
50 cent avocados
and purple
liverwurst.

or making it
as a waitress at norm’s on the split shift,
or as an emptier of
bedpans,
or as a carwash or a busboy
or a stealer of old lady’s purses
leaving them screaming on the sidewalks
with broken arms at the age of 80.

suddenly
2 red lights in your rear view mirror
and blood in your
underwear;
toothache, and $979 for a bridge
$300 for a gold
tooth,
and china and russia and america, and
long hair and short hair and no
hair, and beards and no
faces, and plenty of zigzag but no
pot, except maybe one to piss in
and the other one around your
gut.

with each broken shoelace
out of one hundred broken shoelaces,
one man, one woman, one
thing
enters a
madhouse.

so be careful
when you
bend over.

Charles Bukowski

clean smell of fresh shit

January 6, 2016

Buk

People always talked about the good clean smell of fresh sweat. They had to make excuses for it. They never talked about the good clean smell of fresh shit. There was nothing really as glorious as a good beer shit – I mean after drinking twenty or twenty-five beers the night before. The odor of a beer shit like that spread all around and stayed for a good hour-and-a-half. It made you realize that you were really alive.

Charles Bukowski
Ham on Rye

Cats and rain

January 3, 2016

rainandcats

I
think that the
world should be full of cats and full of rain, that’s all, just
cats and
rain, rain and cats, very nice, good
night.

Charles Bukowski
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories