Top 66 Charles Bukowski Quotes

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“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

“Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.”

― Charles Bukowski

“If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job, I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: ‘Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?’ They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I can relax with bums because I am a bum. I don’t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don’t like to be shaped by society.”

― 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

“The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live 10 times longer than if you have 10. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever. It’s truly ridiculous.”

― Charles Bukowski

“When everything works best, it’s not because you chose writing but because writing chose you. It’s when you’re mad with it, it’s when it’s stuffed in your ears, your nostrils, under your fingernails. It’s when there’s no hope but that.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.”

― Charles Bukowski

“What my character is or how many jails I have lounged in, or wards or walls or wassails, how many lonely-heart poetry readings I have dodged, is beside the point. A man’s soul or lack of it will be evident with what he can carve upon a white sheet of paper.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.”

― 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

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

― Charles Bukowski

“In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, I must have read a whole library.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I do not like the human race. I don’t like their heads, I don’t like their faces, I don’t like their feet, I don’t like their conversations, I don’t like their hairdos, I don’t like their automobiles.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I have no definite talent or trade, and how I stay alive is largely a matter of magic.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I only type every third night. I have no plan. My mind is a blank. I sit down. The typewriter gives me things I don’t even know I’m working on. It’s a free lunch. A free dinner. I don’t know how long it is going to continue, but so far there is nothing easier than writing.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Never get out of bed before noon.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better because they know that everything is just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know. They’re saviours.”

― 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

“The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal and torture and damnation.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.”

― Charles Bukowski

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

― Charles Bukowski

“Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.”

― Charles Bukowski

“My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist, I would be a liar.”

― Charles Bukowski

“To do a dull thing with style-now that’s what I call art.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.”

― Charles Bukowski

“If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women, it is because of these who I met were that. There are many ‘bads’ – bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even ‘bad’ white males. Only, when you write about ‘bad’ white males, they don’t complain about it. And need I say that there are ‘good’ blacks, ‘good’ homosexuals and ‘good’ women?”

― Charles Bukowski

“My love is a hummingbird sitting that quiet moment on the bough, as the same cat crouches.”

― Charles Bukowski

“The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Much publishing is done through politics, friends, and natural stupidity.”

― Charles Bukowski

“We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our education system.”

― Charles Bukowski

“There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I would be married, but I’d have no wife, I would be married to a single life.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Humanity, you never had it to begin with.”

― Charles Bukowski

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

― Charles Bukowski

“When I write, when I’m going hot, I don’t want to write more than four hours in a row. After that, you’re pushing it.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try; I just type.”

― Charles Bukowski

“It’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order to simply make a poem, that you fail.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Even though I write about the human race, the further away from them, the better I feel. Two miles is great; two thousand miles is beautiful.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.”

― Charles Bukowski

“We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I am a dangerous man when turned loose with a typewriter.”

― Charles Bukowski

“My writing is jagged and harsh, I want it to remain that way; I don’t want it smoothed out.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Writers have to put up with this editor thing; it is ageless and eternal and wrong.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I kept writing not because I felt I was so good, but because I felt they were so bad, including Shakespeare, all those. The stilted formalism, like chewing cardboard.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Generally, a writer of force is anywhere from 20 years to 200 years ahead of his generation.”

― Charles Bukowski

“It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.”

― Charles Bukowski

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

― Charles Bukowski

“Joan of Arc had style. Jesus had style.”

― Charles Bukowski

“There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls, but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts.”

― Charles Bukowski

“The female loves to play man against man. And if she is in a position to do it, there is not one who will resist.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Shakespeare didn’t work at all for me.”

― Charles Bukowski

“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

“When I say that basically writing is a hard hustle, I don’t mean that it is a bad life, if one can get away with it. It’s the miracle of miracles to make a living by the typer.”

― Charles Bukowski

“When I worked on a magazine, I learned that there are many, many writers writing that can’t write at all; and they keep on writing all the cliches and bromides and 1890 plots, and poems about Spring and poems about Love, and poems they think are modern because they are done in slang or staccato style, or written with all the ‘i’s’ small.”

― Charles Bukowski

“To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Sometimes I’ve called writing a disease. If so, I’m glad that it caught me.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I don’t write so much now. I’m getting on 33, pot belly and creeping dementia.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I have not worked out my poems with a careful will, falling rather on haphazard and blind formulation of wordage, a more flowing concept, in a hope for a more new and lively path. I do personalize at times, but this only for the grace and elan of the dance.”

― Charles Bukowski

“I used to live on one candy bar a day – it cost a nickel. I always remember the candy bar was called Payday. That was my payday. And that candy bar tasted so good, at night I would take one bite, and it was so beautiful.”

― Charles Bukowski

“You can do without a woman but not a typewriter.”

― Charles Bukowski

“A cat is only itself, representative of the strong forces of life that won’t let go.”

― Charles Bukowski

“Those who have been writing literature have not been writing life.”

― Charles Bukowski
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