Ah, the kooky yet brilliant Henry Charles Bukowski.
He was a German-American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. (And a womanizer, and a drunk.)
Frankly, I think some of his work is a drunken man’s scribbles. He’s “Noted for his use of violent images and graphic language in poetry and fiction that depict survival in a corrupt, blighted society” by Britannica. But damn, this man had a way with words—a way of cutting through the facades and bullsh*t of life. And with that sharp eye, he was also able to write some of my favorite, most poignant words.
Here are nine hard-hitting quotes from the epic, brash, sharp-mouthed, booze lover himself:
1. 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.
2. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Find what you love and let it kill you.
6. Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.
7. I felt like crying but nothing came out. it was just a sort of sad sickness, sick-sad, when you can’t feel any worse. I think you know it. I think everybody knows it now and then. but I think I have known it pretty often, too often.
8. 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.
9. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.