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130 Genius Charles Bukowski Quotes On Life And Beyond

130 Genius Charles Bukowski Quotes On Life And Beyond

Are you interested in reading the thoughts of an outstanding poet and novelist, an unapologetic observer of life, and one of literature’s most provocative minds?

Yes, I’m speaking about the brilliant Charles Bukowski!

As a devoted fan, I’ve searched the Internet far and wide to collect the best Charles Bukowski quotes that capture the raw essence of human experience like no other.

They are deep, ironic, provocative, authentic, wise, witty, and brilliant — just like the personality of this incredible man.

Let’s start, shall we?

10 Greatest Charles Bukowski Quotes

1. “Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.” ― Charles Bukowski

smiling Bukowski with a cigarette representing the greatest Charles Bukowski quote

2. “I am a series of small victories and large defeats.” ― Charles Bukowski

3. “I am not like other people. I am burning in hell. The hell of myself.” ― Charles Bukowski

4. “There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out, but I’m too tough for him.” ― Charles Bukowski

5. “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

portrait of Bukowski holding a cigarette representing the greatest Charles Bukowski quote

6. “To create art means to be crazy alone forever.” ― Charles Bukowski

7. “I wasn’t much of a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.” ― Charles Bukowski

8. “To do a dull thing with style — now that’s what I call art. ” ― Charles Bukowski

9. “My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.” ― Charles Bukowski

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

Bukowski holding a cigarette and smiling

See also: 140 Single Quotes For Instagram Celebrating Single Life

Inspirational Quotes From Charles Bukowski

1. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski in a kitchen, holding a cigarette and beer

2. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

3. “I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 60 Brilliant Wine Quotes That’ll Suit Your Taste Buds

4. “Be it peace or happiness, let it enfold you.” ― Charles Bukowski

5. “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

smiling Charles Bukowski with cigarette and beer in hands

6. “The less I needed, the better I felt.” ― Charles Bukowski

7. “It was better for me when I could imagine greatness in others, even if it wasn’t always there.” ― Charles Bukowski

8. “Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, you know it’s for something else.” ― Charles Bukowski

9. “Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope: be kind to them: like you, they have not escaped.” ― Charles Bukowski

10. “I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.” ― Charles Bukowski

iconic image of Charles Bukowski, cigarette and beer at the ready

11. “Goodness can be found sometimes in the middle of hell.” ― Charles Bukowski

12. “Oh, I don’t mean you’re handsome, not the way people think of handsome. Your face seems kind. But your eyes — they’re beautiful. They’re wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: List Of Top 190 Beautiful Eyes Quotes That Will Amaze You

13. “Nothing can save you except writing. It keeps the walls from failing.” ― Charles Bukowski

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

15. “When I am feeling low, all I have to do is watch my cats, and my courage returns.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski captured with his signature cigarette and beer

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

17. “I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 100 Being Alone Quotes To Embrace The Beauty Of Solitude

18. “It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.” ― Charles Bukowski

19. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

20. “Any damn fool can beg up some kind of job; it takes a wise man to make it without working.” ― Charles Bukowski

shot of Charles Bukowski in the kitchen with his vices

21. “We know God is dead, they’ve told us, but listening to you I wasn’t sure.” ― Charles Bukowski

22. “Food is good for the nerves and the spirit. Courage comes from the belly — all else is desperation.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 350 Awesome Food Captions For Instagram + Food Quotes

23. “That’s what friendship is, sharing the prejudice of experience.” ― Charles Bukowski

24. “Like the fox I run with the hunted and if I’m not the happiest man on earth I’m surely the luckiest man alive.” ― Charles Bukowski

25. “Everything you own must be able to fit inside one suitcase; then your mind might be free.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski's kitchen moment cigarette and beer in hand

26. “Drink from the well of yourself and begin again.” ― Charles Bukowski

27. “To be young is the only religion.” ― Charles Bukowski

28. “I take much pleasure in being alone but there is also a strange warm grace in not being alone.” ― Charles Bukowski

29. “We must bring our own light to the darkness.” ― Charles Bukowski

30. “There’s a light somewhere. It may not be much light but it beats the darkness.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski enjoying a smoke and beer in the kitchen

See also: Brilliant List Of 120 Light Quotes To Awaken Your Mind

Charles Bukowski Quotes On Life 

1. “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski with an intense face expression

2.  “Some men never die and some men never live, but we’re all alive tonight.” ― Charles Bukowski

3.  “You have to die a few times before you can really live.” ― Charles Bukowski

4. “Life’s as kind as you let it be.” ― Charles Bukowski

5. “People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.” ― Charles Bukowski

intense gaze of Charles Bukowski in a portrait

6. “I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.” ― Charles Bukowski

7. “Perhaps living through these petty days will get us ready for the dangerous ones.” ― Charles Bukowski

8. “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

9. “We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. ” ― Charles Bukowski

10. “People are not good to each other. Perhaps if they were, our deaths would not be so sad.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski's solemn and contemplative face

11. “Do some living and get yourself a typewriter.” ― Charles Bukowski

12. “Dying should come easy: like a freight train you don’t hear when your back is turned.” ― Charles Bukowski

13. “If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.” ― Charles Bukowski

14. “Without literature, life is hell.” ― Charles Bukowski

15. “True revolution comes from true revulsion; when things get bad enough the kitten will kill the lion.” ― Charles Bukowski

thoughtful visage of Charles Bukowski

16. “There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock. People so tired, mutilated either by love or no love.” ― Charles Bukowski

17. “Too often the people complain that they have done nothing with their lives and then they wait for somebody to tell them that this isn’t so.” ― Charles Bukowski

18. “You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Your life is your life. Know it while you have it.” ― Charles Bukowski

19. “There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.” ― Charles Bukowski

20. “The price of creation is never too high. The price of living with other people always is.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski with serious and pensive look

21. “It is possible to be truly mad and to still exist upon scraps of life.” ― Charles Bukowski

22. “There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.” ― Charles Bukowski

23. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

24. “A woman must be nursed into subsistence by love, where a man can become stronger by being hated.” ― Charles Bukowski

25. “There will always be something to ruin our lives. It all depends on what or which finds us first. You’re always ripe and ready to be taken.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski wearing a serious expression

26. “Love is not a candle burning down. Life is. And love and life are not the same or else Love, having choice, nobody would ever die.” ― Charles Bukowski

27. “Sometimes things are just what they seem to be and that’s all there is to it.” ― Charles Bukowski

28. “Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 320 Cool & Catchy Drinking Captions For Instagram

29. “Beautiful thoughts and beautiful women never last.” ― Charles Bukowski

30. “Everything is so sweetly awful, so continuously sweetly awful: the art of consummation: life eating life.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski's contemplative and focused demeanor

Charles Bukowski Love Quotes

1. “I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski in a side portrait with a serious expression

2. “And love is a word used too much and much too soon.” ― Charles Bukowski

3. “Find what you love and let it kill you.” ― Charles Bukowski

4. “And yet women — good women — frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.” ― Charles Bukowski

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

Charles Bukowski in profile, wearing a serious look

6. If there are junk yards in hell, love is the dog that guards the gates.” ― Charles Bukowski

7. “Love is all right for those who can handle the psychic overload. It’s like trying to carry a full garbage can on your back over a rushing river of piss.” ― Charles Bukowski

8. “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” ― Charles Bukowski

9. “There is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy.” ― Charles Bukowski

10. “Love be damned now as love was damned when it first arrived.” ― Charles Bukowski

intense side portrait of Charles Bukowski

11. “People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.” ― Charles Bukowski

12. “I drive around the streets an inch away from weeping, ashamed of my sentimentality and possible love.” ― Charles Bukowski

13. “Of course it’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.” ― Charles Bukowski

14. “Love is a form of prejudice. You love what you need, you love what makes you feel good, you love what is convenient. How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them?” ― Charles Bukowski

15. ‘’I often tried to get away from her and she tried to get away from me but it was difficult: Cupid, in his strange way, was really there.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski's contemplative side profile

16. “A love like that was a serious illness, an illness from which you never entirely recover.” ― Charles Bukowski

17. “I want to let her know though that all the nights sleeping beside her even the useless arguments were things ever splendid and the hard words I ever feared to say can now be said: I love you.” ― Charles Bukowski

18. “Love breaks my bones and I laugh.” ― Charles Bukowski

19. “If you get married they think you’re finished, and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.” ― Charles Bukowski

20. “What a woman wants is a reaction. What a man wants is a woman.” ― Charles Bukowski

focused expression on Charles Bukowski's face

21. “I was glad I wasn’t in love, that I wasn’t happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.” ― Charles Bukowski

22. “People don’t need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn’t be.” ― Charles Bukowski

23. “Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It’s just a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.” ― Charles Bukowski

24. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

25. “I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love, and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me.” ― Charles Bukowski

side view of author Charles Bukowski with a serious demeanor

26. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

27. “In this room the hours of love still make shadows.” ― Charles Bukowski

28. “I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.” ― Charles Bukowski

29. “I want to be with you. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.” ― Charles Bukowski

30. “Look, let me put it this way: with me, you’re number one and there isn’t even a number two.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski's pensive side profile in a portrait

Thought-Provoking Charles Bukowski Quotes

1. “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski in a suit, holding a cigarette

2. “He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.” ― Charles Bukowski

3. “And when nobody wakes you up in the morning, and when nobody waits for you at night, and when you can do whatever you want. what do you call it, freedom or loneliness?” ― Charles Bukowski

4. “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 240 Fire Captions For Instagram To Set The World On Fire

5. “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski with a cigarette in hand

6. “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.” ― Charles Bukowski

7. “Some lose all mind and become soul, insane. Some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual. Some lose both and become accepted.” ― Charles Bukowski

8. “People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.” ― Charles Bukowski

9. “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” ― Charles Bukowski

10. “I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.” ― Charles Bukowski

suited Charles Bukowski, cigarette poised

11.  “Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 80 Best Relationship Lonely Quotes To Help You Find Hope

12. “The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.” ― Charles Bukowski

13. “The tired sunsets and the tired people — it takes a lifetime to die and no time at all.” ― Charles Bukowski

14. “Do you hate people?” “I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.” ― Charles Bukowski

15. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski looking dapper with a cigarette

16. “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.” ― Charles Bukowski

17. “Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.” ― Charles Bukowski

See also: 140 Regret Quotes That Will Help You Grow As A Person

18. “Those who escape hell, however, never talk about it and nothing much bothers them after that.” ― Charles Bukowski

19. “That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man.” ― Charles Bukowski

20. “There is a place in the heart that will never be filled; a space. And even during the best moments, and the greatest times, we will know it.” ― Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski in a sharp suit, cigarette at the ready

21. “A woman is a full-time job. You have to choose your profession.” ― Charles Bukowski

22. “I was only photographing in words the reality of it all.” ― Charles Bukowski

23. “There is always somebody about to ruin your day, if not your life.” ― Charles Bukowski

24. “I walked around the block twice, passed 200 people, and failed to see a human being.” ― Charles Bukowski

25. “Long ago, among other lies they were taught that silence was bravery.” ― Charles Bukowski

cigarette-smoking Charles Bukowski in a stylish suit

See also: 150 Silence Quotes When Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

26. “Too often, the only escape is sleep.” ― Charles Bukowski

27. “Why did I come here? I thought. Why is it always only a matter of choosing between something bad and something worse?” ― Charles Bukowski

28. “If I bet on humanity, I’d never cash a ticket.” ― Charles Bukowski

29. “The greatest men are the most alone.” ― Charles Bukowski

30. “No pain means the end of feeling; each of our joys is a bargain with the devil.” ― Charles Bukowski

Bukowski's iconic image in a suit, holding a cigarette

See also: 220 Awesome Devil Quotes For Instagram + Devil Captions

Wrapping It Up

Charles Bukowski quotes capture the raw essence of life in every line.

I hope they left you both enriched and challenged by his unapologetic perspective!

130 Genius Charles Bukowski Quotes On Life And Beyond