Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 - March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". Regarding Bukowski's enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, "the secret of Bukowski's appeal. . . [is that] he combines the confessional poet's promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.
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.
Don't wait for the good woman. She doesn't exist.
Find what you love and let it kill you.
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 stonewritten. 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.
Hell was what you made it.
I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here.
I wanted the whole world or nothing.
I'm no preacher but I can tell you this- the lives that people lead are driving them crazy and their insanity comes out in the way they drive.
I've had so many knives stuck into me, when they hand me a flower, I can't quite make out what it is. It takes time.
I've never met another man I'd rather be.
If I'm an ass, I should say so. If I don't, somebody else will. If I say it first, that disarms them.
If it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it.
If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.
If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose.
Life's as kind as you let it be.
Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.
More often than not Democratic Law works to the advantage of the few even though the many have voted; this, of course, is because the few have told them how to vote.
My ambition is handicapped by my laziness.
Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.
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.
Once a woman turns against you, forget it. They can love you, then something turns in them. They can watch you dying in a gutter, run over by a car, and they'll spit on you.
People don't need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn't be.
People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel hate or love.
She's mad but she's magic, there's no lie in her fire.
Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and eight times out of nine I'll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.
Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live.
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.
Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.
The difference between a brave man and a coward is a coward thinks twice before jumping in the cage with a lion. The brave man doesn't know what a lion is. He just thinks he does.
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.
The female loves to play man against man, and if she is in a position to do it there is not one who will not resist.
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.
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.
The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left.
The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence.
The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.
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.
There is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy.
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.
There's nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower.
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
We have wasted history like a bunch of drunks shooting dice in the men's crapper of the local bar.
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.
What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death.
What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
When I went to the Yellow Cab Company I passed the Cancer Building and I remembered that there were worse things than looking for a job you didn't want.
You are marvelous; the gods wait to delight in you.
You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
You have to die a few times before you can really live.