All quotes by Charles Bukowski
"I don't know if this is true to you but for me sometimes it gets so bad that anything else, say like, looking at a bird on an overhead power line seems as great as a Beethoven symphony. Then you forget it and you're back again."
"That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen."
--'Women: A Novel'
"My ambition is handicapped by laziness."
"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."
"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."
"Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Back, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice."
--'Women: A Novel'
"You boys can keep your virgins. Give me hot old women in high heels with asses that forgot to get old."
"I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of."
"Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now."
"There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock."
"Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire. Pain arrives--bang! And there it is, it sits on you. It's real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you've suddenly become an idiot. There's no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help."
"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."
"If you get married they think you're finished and if you are without a woman they think you're incomplete."
"But now and then, a woman walks up, full blossom, a woman just bursting out of her dress…a sex creature, a curse, the end of it all."
"Dogs and angels are not very far apart."
"I never met another man I'd rather be. And even if that's a delusion, it's a lucky one."
"In that drunken place you would like to hand your heart to her and say touch it but then give it back."
"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."
"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."
"I stopped looking for a Dream Girl, I just wanted one that wasn't a nightmare."