Quotations by Bukowski, Charles


… and we are in bed
together
laughing
and we don’t care
about anything …

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“a pleasant afternoon in bed,” It Catches My Heart In Its Hands (1963)
Added on 15-Sep-21 | Last updated 15-Sep-21
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But the problem is that bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“Charles Bukowski,” interview by Alden Mills, Arete (Jul/Aug 1989)

This is almost always misquoted in a much broader paraphrase, e.g., "The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence," perhaps to echo Russell and Yeats.

More examination of this quotation: The Best Lack All Conviction While the Worst Are Full of Passionate Intensity – Quote Investigator.
Added on 29-Sep-21 | Last updated 29-Sep-21
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what matters most is
how well you
walk through the
fire.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“How Is Your Heart?” (1986)
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Added on 4-Sep-19 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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some people never go crazy.
what truly horrible lives
they must lead.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“Some People”
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Added on 8-Sep-21 | Last updated 8-Sep-21
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For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“The Meaning of Life: The Big Picture,” Life Magazine (Dec 1988)
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Added on 17-Jan-20 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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Each person is only given so many
Evenings
And each wasted evening is
A gross violation against the
Natural course of
Your only
Life ….

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“The Telephone” (c. 1991), The Last Night of the Earth (1992)
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Added on 6-Oct-21 | Last updated 6-Oct-21
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I was waiting for
something extraordinary to
happen

but as the years wasted on
nothing ever did unless I
caused it

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“two kinds of hell” (c. 1990)
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While this sounds motivational, in the context of the poem, the "extraordinary" things (bar fights, dalliances) always end up poorly.

First published in Third Lung Review, #8 (1992); collected in an edited version in The People Look Like Flowers at Last (2007).
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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 (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972)
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Added on 16-May-07 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 31 (1975)
Added on 13-Mar-20 | Last updated 13-Mar-20
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My ambition is handicapped by my laziness.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 45 (1975)
Added on 31-May-17 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
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Added on 31-Jan-20 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
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Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
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Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way, Part 2, epigram (2003)
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The book was reprinted as New Poems, Book Two (2011).
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I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead: men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideals.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Sunlight Here I Am: Interviews and Encounters, 1963-1993 (2003)
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When asked his reaction to the assassination of John Kennedy.
Added on 24-Jan-20 | Last updated 24-Jan-20
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You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Tales of Ordinary Madness, “Too Sensitive” (1967)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Jan-20
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The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998)
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Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (1999)
Added on 22-Sep-21 | Last updated 22-Sep-21
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