“…the poor man’s area of these boulevards where I lived, where we all lived.  I mean we lived near there – in broken-down courts, attics, garages or slept on the floors of temporary friends.”

“So I called up my own personal friends, and I’m the type who doesn’t have too many personal friends, or if I have them, they don’t have toilets let alone telephones…more often, they don’t have anything.”

“Living was easy – all you had to do was let go.  And have a little money.  Let the other men fight the wars, let the other men go to jail.”

“An old grandma had the window seat next to me.  She looked calm, almost bored. Probably took 4 or 5 flights a week, ran a string of whore-houses.”

“Sure, it was nice country.  Pines and pines and lakes and pines.  Fresh air. No traffic.  It bored me.  There wasn’t any beauty in me.  I thought, I’m not a very nice fellow.  Here’s life the way it should be and I feel as if I were in jail.”

“You can get just so much out of bars and they won’t go down anymore.  They come up.  People in bars were like people in 5 and dime stores: they were killing time and everything else.”

“All I wanted to do was get back to my room in LA, all the shades down while drinking COLD TURKEY and eating hard-boiled eggs with paprika, and hoping for some Mahler on the radio…”

“College students were all right anyhow.  They only asked one thing – that you didn’t purposefully lie to them.  I thought that was fair.”

“We drove along and that’s when I knew there was never any escape.  There was always something that had to be done or they blotted you out.  It was a hard fact but I noted it down and wondered if there would ever be any way to escape it.”

“There hasn’t been a starving man yet who ever asked a cop for a dime.  Our record is clear.”

“The human race had always disgusted me.  Essentially, what made them disgusting was the family-relationship illness, which included marriage, exchange of power and aid, which like a sore, a leprosy, became then:  your next door neighbor, your neighborhood, your district, your city, your country, your state, your nation…everybody grabbing each other’s assholes in the honeycomb of survival out of a fear-animalistic stupidity.”

“…another thing that one should realize is that it is HARD to win at anything; losing is easy.  It’s grand to be The Great American Loser – anybody can do it; almost everybody does.”

“…one day at a racetrack can teach you more than four years at any university…and knowing the libraries useless and the poets carefully complaining fakes, I did my studying at the bars and boxing matches…”

“…one of the world’s greatest works of Art:  a woman with fine legs climbing out of her car…”

“I sat and waited for my train to Los Angeles, the only city in the world.  I mean, yes it was more full of shits than any other city and that’s what made it funny.  It was my town. It was my peach brandy.  I almost loved it.”

“The desk clerk’s face looked like cornmeal mush.  It was all Frank could do to keep from hitting him.”

“If you don’t have much soul left and you know it, you still got soul.”

“…nothing was ever dead that didn’t take a chance, lose, come back to the same place.”

“The first thing these people do in a riot is run and grab a color tv set.  They want the same poison that made the enemy a half-wit.”

“Bukowski cried when Judy Garland sang at the NY Philharmonic, Bukowski cried when Shirley Temple sang “I Got Animal Crackers in my Soup”; Bukowski cried in cheap flophouses, Bukowski can’t talk, b is scared of women, b has a bad stomach, b is full of fears, and hates dictionaries, nuns, pennies, buses, churches parkbenches, spiders, flies, fleas, freaks; b didn’t go to war. B is old, b hasn’t flown a kite for 45 years; if b were an ape they’d run him out of the tribe…”

“He is 43.  I am 48. I look at least 15 years older than he.  And feel some shame. The sagging belly.  The hang dog air. The world has taken many hours and years from me with their very dull and routine tasks; it tells.  I feel shame for my defeat; not his money, my defeat.  The best revolutionary is a poor man; I am not even a revolutionary, I am only tired.  What a bucket of shit was mine! Mirror, mirror on the wall…”


Copyright Charles Bukowski 1969, 2008
my thoughts on CB:  https://walkcheerfullyblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/writers-i-like

Photo credit: Bukowski.net