I have been reading Charles Bukowski books for quite some time now.  Well it’s actually early last year, but anyway… Regarding Bukowski’s enduring popular appeal, I still do not have a proper saneness as to why I am so enticed with his writings.  Probably, the liberty of his thousand poems, hundred short stories, a couple of novels, and books that speak about relationships, women, the drudgery of work, violence and alcohol in which anyone could easily relate to, or maybe his style of writing.

Charles Bukowski’s literary art bank on life experiences, emotion, direct language and sexual imagery.  His virile  attitude, as he spoke with brutal honesty, straightforward statements in his works, without trying to make himself heroic sets him apart from other novelists and poets.  As I get to know more about him, I have learned that he is a hard-core biker, a gambler, a lover-boy, a tough-guy wannabe and a prolific underground writer who can construct ten to fifteen poems in one sitting while being liquored up, in brutal honesty with no apologies.  Bukowski is a rare kind of genius who has no place in the tidy world of poetry for such a freaky character.  There is a kind of dirty thrill while reading him.  In short, he is a rebel!

If you are the kind who can find a place outside the traditional boundaries of readership, then Bukowski is your man.  I have compiled some of my favorite quotes from eight of his books that in many ways verbalize my thoughts and feelings.  Here are some of his words:

— Love is a Dog from Hell, 1977

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

“Our educational system tells us that we can all be big-ass winners.  It hasn’t told us about the gutters or suicides.”

— You Get Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense, 1986

“I paid, I got up, walked to the door, opened it.  I heard the man say, “that guy’s nuts.”  Out on the street I walked north feeling curiously honored.”

— Notes of a Dirty Old Man, 1969

“I feel no grief for being called something which I am not; in fact, it’s enthralling, somehow, like a good back rub.”

“…and if I have any advice to give to anybody it’s this: take up watercolor painting.”

“It was a beauty fire, it contained soul, the sides of sunshine mountains, hot streams of smiling fish, warm stockings smelling a bit like toast.  I held my hand over the little flame.  I had a beautiful hands.  That one thing I had.  I had beautiful hands.” 

— The Last Night of the Earth Poems, 1992 

“Well, death says, as he walks by, I’m going to get you anyhow no matter what you’ve been: writer, cab-driver, pimp, butcher, sky-diver, I’m going to get you.”

“Is there any wonder why the world is where it’s at now?  Just notice the creature sitting near you in the movie house or standing ahead of you in a supermarket line, or giving a State of the Union Address.  That the gods have let us go on this long this badly.”

—  Factotum, 1977

“If you’re going to try, go all the way.  Otherwise, don’t even start.  This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.  It could mean not eating for three or four days.  It could mean freezing on a park bench.  It could mean jail.  It could mean derision.  It could mean mockery – isolation.  Isolation is the gift.  All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.  And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.  And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.  If you’re going to try, go all the way.  There is no other feeling like that.  You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.  You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.  It’s the only good fight there is.”

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by the alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”  

“Baby,” I said, “I’m genius but nobody knows it but me.”

“I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it.  The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”

—  Post Office, 1971

“Mailman caught drinking the blood of God and taking a shower, naked in Roman Catholic Church.”

“She seemed a bit crazy but I kept looking at her body and I didn’t care.”

—  The Pleasures of the Damned, 2007

“We sat there smoking cigarettes at 5 in the morning.”

“…and reinvent your life because you must; it is your life and its history and the present belong only to you.”

— Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1981

Style is the answer to everything.  A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.  To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it.  To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.

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