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A collection of sayings and quotations by Charles Bukowski on humor, religion, atheism, loneliness, sacrifice, laughter, loss, love, solitude and misanthropy.

100 Thought-Provoking Charles Bukowski Quotes

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Heinrich Karl Bukowski, better known as Henry Charles Bukowski, was a German-born American novelist, short story writer and poet, who is included among the influential poets to have enriched American literature during their lifetime. Bukowski’s works were primarily focused on the social and economic situation in Los Angeles, the city in which he lived. Bukowski’s poems, short stories and novels dealt with the lives of downtrodden and poorer sections of the American population, which made TIME magazine describe him as the ‘laureate of American lowlife’. He produced a staggering amount of work throughout his career with the number of poems running into thousands. In addition to that he wrote six novels as well as plenty of short stories. Some of his well-known poetry collections include ‘The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills’, ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ among others. On the other hand, ‘Post Office’, ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Ham on Rye’ are some of his well known novels. Bukowski also wrote for an underground publication named Open City. He was a highly intelligent man, who had a unique take on the world. We bring to you some of the best known quotes from Charles Bukowski’s life, times and work. Some of these quotes are excerpted from Charles Bukowski's poems, novels and short stories.

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

- Charles Bukowski

Do you hate people?” “I don't hate them...I just feel better when they're not around.

- Barfly, Charles Bukowski

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.

- Charles Bukowski

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire

- Charles Bukowski

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

My ambition is handicapped by laziness

- Factotum, Charles Bukowski

You have to die a few times before you can really live.

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

I wanted the whole world or nothing.

- Post Office, Charles Bukowski

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Charles Bukowski

There are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it's too late and there's nothing worse than too late

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Charles Bukowski

Find what you love and let it kill you.

- Charles Bukowski

Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.

- Charles Bukowski

Some lose all mind and become soul,insane. some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual. some lose both and become accepted

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

Being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.

- Women, Charles Bukowski

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

- 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.

- Tales of Ordinary Madness, Charles Bukowski

Those who escape hell however never talk about it and nothing much bothers them after that.

- Charles Bukowski

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

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I'm too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I'm not going to let anybody see you.

- Charles Bukowski

Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.

- Charles Bukowski

Of course it's possible to love a human being if you don't know them too well.

- Charles Bukowski

I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.

- What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Charles Bukowski

Sex is kicking death in the ass while singing.

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Women, Charles Bukowski

Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.

- Charles Bukowski

I stopped looking for a Dream Girl, I just wanted one that wasn't a nightmare.

- The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, Charles Bukowski

There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

Baby," I said, "I'm a genius but nobody knows it but me.

- Factotum, Charles Bukowski

You boys can keep your virgins give me hot old women in high heels with asses that forgot to get old.

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

There is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.

- Charles Bukowski

Life's as kind as you let it be.

- Hot Water Music, Charles Bukowski

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

- Charles Bukowski

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

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

- Women, Charles Bukowski

What a weary time those years were -- to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.

- Ham on Rye, 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

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

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

I often carry things to read so that I will not have to look at the people.

- The Last Night of the Earth Poems, Charles Bukowski

Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.

- What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Charles Bukowski

Without literature, life is hell.

- Charles Bukowski

...in that drunken place you would like to hand your heart to her and say touch it but then give it back.

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

Lighting new cigarettes, pouring more drinks. It has been a beautiful fight. Still is.

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

We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.

- Charles Bukowski

Great art is horseshit, buy tacos.

- Charles Bukowski

Dogs and angels are not very far apart

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

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.

- Factotum, Charles Bukowski

There are times when those eyes inside your brain stare back at you.

- What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Charles Bukowski

It wasn’t my day. My week. My month. My year. My life. God damn it.

- Pulp, Charles Bukowski

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting

- Charles Bukowski

I never met another man I'd rather be. And even if that's a delusion, it's a lucky one.

- Charles Bukowski

I drive around the streets an inch away from weeping, ashamed of my sentimentality and possible love.

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.

- War All the Time, Charles Bukowski

And yet women-good women--frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.

- Women, Charles Bukowski

I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: "Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I'll be ready.

- Charles Bukowski

I'm going, she said. I love you but you're crazy, you're doomed.

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

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

- The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, Charles Bukowski

Love is all right for those who can handle the psychic overload. It's like trying to carry a full garbage can on your back over a rushing river of piss.

- Charles Bukowski

You son of a bitch, she said, I am trying to build a meaningful relationship. you can't build it with a hammer, he said.

- Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit, Charles Bukowski

Too often the people complain that they have done nothing with their lives and then they wait for somebody to tell them that this isn't so.

- What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Charles Bukowski

Anything is a waste of time unless you are fucking well or creating well or getting well or looming toward a kind of phantom-love-happiness.

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Factotum, Charles Bukowski

Each man's hell is in a different place: mine is just up and behind my ruined face.

- Charles Bukowski

She is no longer the beautiful woman she was. she sends photos of herself sitting upon a rock by the ocean alone and damned. I could have had her once. I wonder if she thinks I could have saved her?

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

The trouble with a mask is it never changes

- Charles Bukowski

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

- Post Office, Charles Bukowski

We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

- Charles Bukowski

If you get married they think you're finished and if you are without a woman they think you're incomplete.

- Charles Bukowski

The fuckers. There, I feel better. God-damned human race. There, I feel better.

- The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, Charles Bukowski

I wish to weep but sorrow is stupid. I wish to believe but belief is a graveyard.

- What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Charles Bukowski

The tigers have found me and I do not care.

- Charles Bukowski

‎"she’ mad but she’ magic. there’ no lie in her fire.

- Charles Bukowski

I said goodbye again sucking up all that was left of her into the little that was left of me. I said, 'don't look for me again. fuck it. we are all lost. goodbye, goodbye.

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

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

- The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, Charles Bukowski

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

- Charles Bukowski

People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.

- The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, Charles Bukowski

In this land some of us fuck more than we die but most of us die better than we fuck

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.

- Charles Bukowski

Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, you know it’s for something else.

- Tales of Ordinary Madness, Charles Bukowski

I wasn't a misanthrope and I wasn't a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.

- 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

Any asshole can chase a skirt, art takes discipline.

- Charles Bukowski

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

Whiskey makes the heart beat faster but it sure doesn't help the mind and isn't it funny how you can ache just from the deadly drone of existence?

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

One can never be sure whether it's good poetry or bad acid

- Love is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski

To fight for each minute is to fight for what is possible within yourself, so that your life and your death will not be like theirs.

- The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Charles Bukowski

People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.

- Charles Bukowski

And then there are some who believe that old relationships can be revived and made new again. but please if you feel that way don't phone don't write don't arrive

- Charles Bukowski

I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.

- Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski

Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.

- Factotum, Charles Bukowski

In my next life I want to be a cat. To sleep 20 hours a day and wait to be fed. To sit around licking my ass.

- The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, Charles Bukowski

It was better for me when I could imagine greatness in others, even if it wasn't always there.

- The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, Charles Bukowski

It's better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.

- Charles Bukowski

I didn't have any friends at school, didn't want any. I felt better being alone. I sat on a bench and watched the others play and they looked foolish to me.

- Charles Bukowski

The more crap you believe, the better off you are.

- Charles Bukowski

The best often die by their own hand just to get away, and those left behind can never quite understand why anybody would ever want to get away from 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.

- Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski