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Best Famous Charles Bukowski Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Charles Bukowski poems. This is a select list of the best famous Charles Bukowski poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Charles Bukowski poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Charles Bukowski poems.

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by Charles Bukowski | |

Metamorphosis

 a girlfriend came in
built me a bed
scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor
scrubbed the walls
vacuumed
cleaned the toilet
the bathtub
scrubbed the bathroom floor
and cut my toenails and 
my hair.
then all on the same day the plumber came and fixed the kitchen faucet and the toilet and the gas man fixed the heater and the phone man fixed the phone.
noe I sit in all this perfection.
it is quiet.
I have broken off with all 3 of my girlfriends.
I felt better when everything was in disorder.
it will take me some months to get back to normal: I can't even find a roach to commune with.
I have lost my rythm.
I can't sleep.
I can't eat.
I have been robbed of my filth.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Hooray Say The Roses

 hooray say the roses, today is blamesday
and we are red as blood.
hooray say the roses, today is Wednesday and we bloom wher soldiers fell and lovers too, and the snake at the word.
hooray say the roses, darkness comes all at once, like lights gone out, the sun leaves dark continents and rows of stone.
hooray say the roses, cannons and spires, birds, bees, bombers, today is Friday the hand holding a medal out the window, a moth going by, half a mile an hour, hooray hooray hooray say the roses we have empires on our stems, the sun moves the mouth: hooray hooray hooray and that is why you like us.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Whats The Use Of A Title?

 They dont make it 
the beautiful die in flame- 
sucide pills,rat poison,rope what- 
ever.
.
.
they rip their arms off, throw themselves out of windows, they pull their eyes out of the sockets, reject love reject hate reject,reject.
they do'nt make it the beautiful can't endure, they are butterflies they are doves they are sparrows, they dont make it.
onetall shot of flame while the old men play checkers in the park one flame,one good flame while the old men play checkers in the park in the sun.
the beautiful are found in the edge of a room crumpled into spiders and needles and silence and we can never understand why they left,they were so beautiful.
they dont make it, the beautiful die young and leave the ugly to their ugly lives.
lovley and brilliant: life and suidcide and death as the old men play checkers in the sun in the park.


More great poems below...

by Charles Bukowski | |

Working Out

 Van Gogh cut off his ear
gave it to a
prostitute
who flung it away in
extreme
disgust.
Van, whores don't want ears they want money.
I guess that's why you were such a great painter: you didn't understand much else.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Who In The Hell Is Tom Jones?

 I was shacked with a
24 year old girl from
New York City for
two weeks- about
the time of the garbage
strike out there, and
one night my 34 year 
old woman arrived and
she said, "I want to see
my rival.
" she did and then she said, "o, you're a cute little thing!" next I knew there was a screech of wildcats- such screaming and scratch- ing, wounded animal moans, blood and piss.
.
.
I was drunk and in my shorts.
I tried to seperate them and fell, wrenched my knee.
then they were through the screen door and down the walk and out into the street.
squadcars full of cops arrived.
a police heli- coptor circled overhead.
I stood in the bathroom and grinned in the mirror.
it's not often at the age of 55 that such splendid things occur.
better than the Watts riots.
the 34 year old came back in.
she had pissed all over her- self and her clothing was torn and she was followed by 2 cops who wanted to know why.
pulling up my shorts I tried to explain.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Prayer In Bad Weather

 by God, I don't know what to
do.
they're so nice to have around.
they have a way of playing with the balls and looking at the cock very seriously turning it tweeking it examining each part as their long hair falls on your belly.
it's not the fucking and sucking alone that reaches into a man and softens him, it's the extras, it's all the extras.
now it's raining tonight and there's nobody they are elsewhere examining things in new bedrooms in new moods or maybe in old bedrooms.
anyhow, it's raining tonight, on hell of a dashing, pouring rain.
.
.
.
very little to do.
I've read the newspaper paid the gas bill the electric co.
the phone bill.
it keeps raining.
they soften a man and then let him swim in his own juice.
I need an old-fashioned whore at the door tonight closing her green umbrella, drops her green umbrella, drops of moonlit rain on her purse, saying "shit, man, can't you get better music than that on your radio? and turn up the heat.
.
.
" it's always when a man's swollen with love and everything else that keeps raining splattering flooding rain good for the trees and the grass and the air.
.
.
good for things that live alone.
I would give anything for a female's hand on me tonight.
they soften a man and then leave him listening to the rain.


by Charles Bukowski | |

My Groupie

 I read last Saturday in the
redwoods outside of Santa Cruz
and I was about 3/4's finished
when I heard a long high scream
and a quite attractive 
young girl came running toward me
long gown & divine eyes of fire
and she leaped up on the stage
and screamed: "I WANT YOU!
I WANT YOU! TAKE ME! TAKE
ME!"
I told her, "look, get the hell
away from me.
" but she kept tearing at my clothing and throwing herself at me.
"where were you," I asked her, "when I was living on one candy bar a day and sending short stories to the Atlantic Monthly?" she grabbed my balls and almost twisted them off.
her kisses tasted like shitsoup.
2 women jumped up on the stage and carried her off into the woods.
I could still hear her screams as I began the next poem.
mabye, I thought, I should have taken her on stage in front of all those eyes.
but one can never be sure whether it's good poetry or bad acid.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Flophouse

 you haven't lived
until you've been in a
flophouse
with nothing but one
light bulb
and 56 men
squeezed together
on cots
with everybody
snoring
at once
and some of those
snores
so
deep and
gross and
unbelievable-
dark
snotty
gross
subhuman
wheezings
from hell
itself.
your mind almost breaks under those death-like sounds and the intermingling odors: hard unwashed socks pissed and shitted underwear and over it all slowly circulating air much like that emanating from uncovered garbage cans.
and those bodies in the dark fat and thin and bent some legless armless some mindless and worst of all: the total absence of hope it shrouds them covers them totally.
it's not bearable.
you get up go out walk the streets up and down sidewalks past buildings around the corner and back up the same street thinking those men were all children once what has happened to them? and what has happened to me? it's dark and cold out here.


by Charles Bukowski | |

True Story

 they found him walking along the freeway
all red in
front
he had taken a rusty tin can
and cut off his sexual
machinery
as if to say --
see what you've done to
me? you might as well have the
rest.
and he put part of him in one pocket and part of him in another and that's how they found him, walking along.
they gave him over to the doctors who tried to sew the parts back on but the parts were quite contented the way they were.
I think sometimes of all of the good ass turned over to the monsters of the world.
maybe it was his protest against this or his protest against everything.
a one man Freedom March that never squeezed in between the concert reviews and the baseball scores.
God, or somebody, bless him.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Layover

 Making love in the sun, in the morning sun
in a hotel room
above the alley
where poor men poke for bottles;
making love in the sun
making love by a carpet redder than our blood,
making love while the boys sell headlines
and Cadillacs,
making love by a photograph of Paris
and an open pack of Chesterfields,
making love while other men- poor folks-
work.
That moment- to this.
.
.
may be years in the way they measure, but it's only one sentence back in my mind- there are so many days when living stops and pulls up and sits and waits like a train on the rails.
I pass the hotel at 8 and at 5; there are cats in the alleys and bottles and bums, and I look up at the window and think, I no longer know where you are, and I walk on and wonder where the living goes when it stops.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Decline

 naked along the side of the house,
8 a.
m.
, spreading sesame seed oil over my body, Jesus, have I come to this? I once battled in dark alleys for a laugh.
now I'm not laughing.
I splash myself with oil and wonder, how many years do you want? how many days? my blood is soiled and a dark angel sits in my brain.
things are made of something and go to nothing.
I understand the fall of cities, of nations.
a small plane passes overhead.
I look upward as if it made sense to look upward.
it's true, the sky has rotted: it won't be long for any of us.
from The Olympia Review - 1994


by Charles Bukowski | |

Cut While Shaving

 It's never quite right, he said, the way people look,
the way the music sounds, the way the words are
written.
It's never quite right, he said, all the things we are taught, all the loves we chase, all the deaths we die, all the lives we live, they are never quite right, they are hardly close to right, these lives we live one after the other, piled there as history, the waste of the species, the crushing of the light and the way, it's not quite right, it's hardly right at all he said.
don't I know it? I answered.
I walked away from the mirror.
it was morning, it was afternoon, it was night nothing changed it was locked in place.
something flashed, something broke, something remained.
I walked down the stairway and into it.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Love and Fame and Death

 it sits outside my window now
like and old woman going to market;
it sits and watches me,
it sweats nevously
through wire and fog and dog-bark
until suddenly
I slam the screen with a newspaper
like slapping at a fly
and you could hear the scream
over this plain city,
and then it left.
the way to end a poem like this is to become suddenly quiet.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Show Biz

 I can't have it
and you can't have it
and we won't
get it

so don't bet on it
or even think about
it

just get out of bed
each morning

wash
shave
clothe
yourself
and go out into
it

because
outside of that
all that's left is
suicide and
madness

so you just
can't
expect too much

you can't even
expect

so what you do
is
work from a modest
minimal
base

like when you
walk outside
be glad your car
might possibly
be there

and if it is-
that the tires
aren't
flat

then you get
in
and if it
starts--you
start.
and it's the damndest movie you've ever seen because you're in it-- low budget and 4 billion critics and the longest run you ever hope for is one day.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Rain Or Shine

 the vultures at the zoo
(all three of the)
sit very quietly in their
caged tree
and below
on the ground
are chunks of rotten meat.
the vultures are over-full.
our taxes have fed them well.
we move on to the next cage.
a man is in there sitting on the ground eating his own shit.
i recognize him as our former mailman.
his favorite expression had been: "have a beautiful day.
" that day i did.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Be Angry At San Pedro

 I say to my woman, "Jeffers was 
a great poet.
think of a title like Be Angry At The Sun.
don't you realize how great that is? "you like that negative stuff.
" she says "positively," I agree, finishing my drink and pouring another.
"in one of Jeffers' poems, not the sun poem, this woman fucks a stallion because her husband is such a gross spirit.
and it's believable.
then the husband goes out to kill the stallion and the stallion kills him.
" "I never heard of Jeffers," she says.
"you never heard of Big Sur? Jeffers made Big Sur famous just like D.
H.
Lawrence made Taos famous.
when a great writer writes about where he lives the mob comes in and takes over.
" "well you write about San Pedro," she says.
"yeah," I say, "and have you read the papers lately? they are going to construct a marina here, one of the largest in the world, millions and billions of dollars, there is going to be a huge shopping center, yachts and condominiums every- where!" "and to think," my woman says smiling, "that you've only lived here for three years!" "I still think," I say, changing the subject, "you ought to read Jeffers.
"


by Charles Bukowski | |

Sway With Me

 sway with me, everything sad --
madmen in stone houses
without doors,
lepers steaming love and song
frogs trying to figure
the sky;
sway with me, sad things --
fingers split on a forge
old age like breakfast shell
used books, used people
used flowers, used love
I need you
I need you
I need you:
it has run away
like a horse or a dog,
dead or lost
or unforgiving.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Its Ours

 there is always that space there 
just before they get to us 
that space 
that fine relaxer 
the breather 
while say 
flopping on a bed 
thinking of nothing 
or say 
pouring a glass of water from the 
spigot 
while entranced by 
nothing 

that 
gentle pure 
space 

it's worth 

centuries of 
existence 

say 

just to scratch your neck 
while looking out the window at 
a bare branch 

that space 
there 
before they get to us 
ensures 
that 
when they do 
they won't 
get it all 

ever.


by Charles Bukowski | |

These Things

 these things that we support most well 
have nothing to do with up, 
and we do with them 
out of boredom or fear or money 
or cracked intelligence; 
our circle and our candle of light 
being small, 
so small we cannot bear it, 
we heave out with Idea 
and lose the Center: 
all wax without the wick, 
and we see names that once meant 
wisdom, 
like signs into ghost towns, 
and only the graves are real.


by Charles Bukowski | |

The Icecream People

 the lady has me temporarily off the bottle
and now the pecker stands up
better.
however, things change overnight-- instead of listening to Shostakovich and Mozart through a smeared haze of smoke the nights change, new complexities: we drive to Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors: Rocky Road, Bubble Gum, Apricot Ice, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint.
.
.
we park outside and look at icecream people a very healthy and satisfied people, nary a potential suicide in sight (they probably even vote) and I tell her "what if the boys saw me go in there? suppose they find out I'm going in for a walnut peach sundae?" "come on, chicken," she laughs and we go in and stand with the icecream people.
none of them are cursing or threatening the clerks.
there seem to be no hangovers or grievances.
I am alarmed at the placid and calm wave that flows about.
I feel like a leper in a beauty contest.
we finally get our sundaes and sit in the car and eat them.
I must admit they are quite good.
a curious new world.
(all my friends tell me I am looking better.
"you're looking good, man, we thought you were going to die there for a while.
.
.
") --those 4,500 dark nights, the jails, the hospitals.
.
.
and later that night there is use for the pecker, use for love, and it is glorious, long and true, and afterwards we speak of easy things; our heads by the open window with the moonlight looking through, we sleep in each other's arms.
the icecream people make me feel good, inside and out.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Marina

 majestic, majic
infinite
my little girl is
sun
on the carpet-
out the door
picking a flower, ha!
an old man,
battle-wrecked,
emerges from his
chair
and she looks at me
but only sees
love,
ha!, and I become
quick with the world
and love right back
just like I was meant
to do.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Alone With Everybody

 the flesh covers the bone 
and they put a mind 
in there and 
sometimes a soul, 
and the women break 
vases against the walls 
and the men drink too 
much 
and nobody finds the 
one 
but keep 
looking 
crawling in and out 
of beds.
flesh covers the bone and the flesh searches for more than flesh.
there's no chance at all: we are all trapped by a singular fate.
nobody ever finds the one.
the city dumps fill the junkyards fill the madhouses fill the hospitals fill the graveyards fill nothing else fills.


by Charles Bukowski | |

As The Sparrow

 To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Raw With Love

 little dark girl with 
kind eyes 
when it comes time to 
use the knife 
I won't flinch and 
i won't blame 
you, 
as I drive along the shorealone 
as the palms wave, 
the ugly heavy palms, 
as the living does not arrive 
as the dead do notleave, 
i won'tblame you, 
insteaad 
i will remeber 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, 
and I will remeber your small room 
the feel of you 
the light in the window 
your recordds 
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.
little dark girl with kind eys you have no knife.
the knife is mine and i won't use it yet.


by Charles Bukowski | |

Question And Answer

 he sat naked and drunk in a room of summer
 night, running the blade of the knife
 under his fingernails, smiling, thinking
 of all the letters he had received
 telling him that
 the way he lived and wrote about
 that--
 it had kept them going when
 all seemed
 truly
 hopeless.
putting the blade on the table, he flicked it with a finger and it whirled in a flashing circle under the light.
who the hell is going to save me? he thought.
as the knife stopped spinning the answer came: you're going to have to save yourself.
still smiling, a: he lit a cigarette b: he poured another drink c: gave the blade another spin.
--from The Last Night of the Earth Poems