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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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Written by Charles Bukowski |

16-bit Intel 8088 chip

 with an Apple Macintosh
you can't run Radio Shack programs
in its disc drive.
nor can a Commodore 64 drive read a file you have created on an IBM Personal Computer.
both Kaypro and Osborne computers use the CP/M operating system but can't read each other's handwriting for they format (write on) discs in different ways.
the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but can't use most programs produced for the IBM Personal Computer unless certain bits and bytes are altered but the wind still blows over Savannah and in the Spring the turkey buzzard struts and flounces before his hens.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

What Can We Do?

 at their best, there is gentleness in Humanity.
some understanding and, at times, acts of courage but all in all it is a mass, a glob that doesn't have too much.
it is like a large animal deep in sleep and almost nothing can awaken it.
when activated it's best at brutality, selfishness, unjust judgments, murder.
what can we do with it, this Humanity? nothing.
avoid the thing as much as possible.
treat it as you would anything poisonous, vicious and mindless.
but be careful.
it has enacted laws to protect itself from you.
it can kill you without cause.
and to escape it you must be subtle.
few escape.
it's up to you to figure a plan.
I have met nobody who has escaped.
I have met some of the great and famous but they have not escaped for they are only great and famous within Humanity.
I have not escaped but I have not failed in trying again and again.
before my death I hope to obtain my life.
from blank gun silencer - 1994

Written 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.

More great poems below...

Written by Charles Bukowski |

The Icecream People

 the lady has me temporarily off the bottle
and now the pecker stands up
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.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

Death Wants More Death

 death wants more death, and its webs are full:
I remember my father's garage, how child-like
I would brush the corpses of flies
from the windows they thought were escape-
their sticky, ugly, vibrant bodies
shouting like dumb crazy dogs against the glass
only to spin and flit
in that second larger than hell or heaven
onto the edge of the ledge,
and then the spider from his dank hole
nervous and exposed
the puff of body swelling
hanging there
not really quite knowing,
and then knowing-
something sending it down its string,
the wet web,
toward the weak shield of buzzing,
the pulsing;
a last desperate moving hair-leg
there against the glass
there alive in the sun,
spun in white;
and almost like love:
the closing over,
the first hushed spider-sucking:
filling its sack 
upon this thing that lived;
crouching there upon its back
drawing its certain blood
as the world goes by outside
and my temples scream
and I hurl the broom against them:
the spider dull with spider-anger
still thinking of its prey
and waving an amazed broken leg;
the fly very still,
a dirty speck stranded to straw;
I shake the killer loose
and he walks lame and peeved
towards some dark corner
but I intercept his dawdling
his crawling like some broken hero,
and the straws smash his legs
now waving
above his head
and looking
looking for the enemy 
and somewhat valiant,
dying without apparent pain
simply crawling backward
piece by piece
leaving nothing there
until at last the red gut sack
its secrets,
and I run child-like
with God's anger a step behind,
back to simple sunlight,
as the world goes by
with curled smile
if anyone else
saw or sensed my crime

Written by Charles Bukowski |

An Almost Made Up Poem

 I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you knew famous artists and most of them were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right, go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous because we’ never met.
we got close once in New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never touched.
so you went with the famous and wrote about the famous, and, of course, what you found out is that the famous are worried about their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed with them, who gives them that, and then awakens in the morning to write upper case poems about ANGELS AND GOD.
we know God is dead, they’ told us, but listening to you I wasn’ sure.
maybe it was the upper case.
you were one of the best female poets and I told the publishers, editors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’ magic.
there’ no lie in her fire.
” I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
I would have loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom, but that didn’ happen.
your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you.
kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray.
it didn’ help.
you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.
I wrote back but never heard again.
a friend wrote me of your suicide 3 or 4 months after it happened.
if I had met you I would probably have been unfair to you or you to me.
it was best like this.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

His Wife The Painter

 There are sketches on the walls of men and women and ducks,
and outside a large green bus swerves through traffic like
insanity sprung from a waving line; Turgenev, Turgenev,
says the radio, and Jane Austin, Jane Austin, too.
"I am going to do her portrait on the 28th, while you are at work.
" He is just this edge of fat and he walks constantly, he fritters; they have him; they are eating him hollow like a webbed fly, and his eyes are red-suckled with anger-fear.
He feels hatred and discard of the world, sharper than his razor, and his gut-feel hangs like a wet polyp; and he self-decisions himself defeated trying to shake his hung beard from razor in water (like life), not warm enough.
Rue Transonian, le 15 Avril, 1843.
) Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale.
"She has a face unlike that of any woman I have ever known.
" "What is it? A love affair?" "Silly.
I can't love a woman.
Besides, she's pregnant.
" I can paint- a flower eaten by a snake; that sunlight is a lie; and that markets smell of shoes and naked boys clothed, and that under everything some river, some beat, some twist that clambers along the edge of my temple and bites nip-dizzy.
men drive cars and paint their houses, but they are mad; men sit in barber chairs; buy hats.
Recollection of Mortefontaine.
Paris, Louvre.
"I must write Kaiser, though I think he's a homosexual.
" "Are you still reading Freud?" "Page 299.
" She made a little hat and he fastened two snaps under one arm, reaching up from the bed like a long feeler from the snail, and she went to church, and he thought now I h've time and the dog.
About church: the trouble with a mask is it never changes.
So rude the flowers that grow and do not grow beautiful.
So magic the chair on the patio that does not hold legs and belly and arm and neck and mouth that bites into the wind like the ned of a tunnel.
He turned in bed and thought: I am searching for some segment in the air.
It floats about the peoples heads.
When it rains on the trees it sits between the branches warmer and more blood-real than the dove.
Christ Destroying the Cross.
Hanover, Dartmouth College, Baker Library.
He burned away in his sleep.

Written 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.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

Cows In Art Class

 good weather
is like
good women-
it doesn't always happen
and when it does
it doesn't
always last.
man is more stable: if he's bad there's more chance he'll stay that way, or if he's good he might hang on, but a woman is changed by children age diet conversation sex the moon the absence or presence of sun or good times.
a woman must be nursed into subsistence by love where a man can become stronger by being hated.
I am drinking tonight in Spangler's Bar and I remember the cows I once painted in Art class and they looked good they looked better than anything in here.
I am drinking in Spangler's Bar wondering which to love and which to hate, but the rules are gone: I love and hate only myself- they stand outside me like an orange dropped from the table and rolling away; it's what I've got to decide: kill myself or love myself? which is the treason? where's the information coming from? books.
like broken glass: I wouldn't wipe my ass with 'em yet, it's getting darker, see? (we drink here and speak to each other and seem knowing.
) buy the cow with the biggest tits buy the cow with the biggest rump.
present arms.
the bartender slides me a beer it runs down the bar like an Olympic sprinter and the pair of pliers that is my hand stops it, lifts it, golden piss of dull temptation, I drink and stand there the weather bad for cows but my brush is ready to stroke up the green grass straw eye sadness takes me all over and I drink the beer straight down order a shot fast to give me the guts and the love to go on.
from "poems written before jumping out of an 8 story window" - 1966

Written by Charles Bukowski |

Gamblers All

 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, and 
you walk to the bathroom, do your toilet, see that face 
in the mirror, oh my oh my oh my, but you comb your hair anyway, 
get into your street clothes, feed the cats, fetch the 
newspaper of horror, place it on the coffee table, kiss your 
wife goodbye, and then you are backing the car out into life itself, 
like millions of others you enter the arena once more.
you are on the freeway threading through traffic now, moving both towards something and towards nothing at all as you punch the radio on and get Mozart, which is something, and you will somehow get through the slow days and the busy days and the dull days and the hateful days and the rare days, all both so delightful and so disappointing because we are all so alike and so different.
you find the turn-off, drive through the most dangerous part of town, feel momentarily wonderful as Mozart works his way into your brain and slides down along your bones and out through your shoes.
it's been a tough fight worth fighting as we all drive along betting on another day.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

The Sun Weilds Mercy

 and the sun weilds mercy
but like a jet torch carried to high,
and the jets whip across its sight
and rockets leap like toads,
and the boys get out the maps
and pin-cuishon the moon,
old green cheese,
no life there but too much on earth:
our unwashed India boys
crosssing their legs,playing pipes,
starving with sucked in bellies,
watching the snakes volute
like beautiful women in the hungry air;
the rockets leap,
the rockets leap like hares,
clearing clump and dog
replacing out-dated bullets;
the Chineses still carve
in jade,quietly stuffing rice
into their hunger, a hunger
a thousand years old,
their muddy rivers moving with fire
and song, barges, houseboats
pushed by drifting poles
of waiting without wanting;
in Turkey they face the East
on their carpets
praying to a purple god
who smokes and laughs
and sticks fingers in their eyes
blinding them, as gods will do;
but the rockets are ready: peace is no longer,
for some reason,precious;
madness drifts like lily pads
on a pond circling senselessly;
the painters paint dipping
their reds and greens and yellows,
poets rhyme their lonliness,
musicians starve as always
and the novelists miss the mark,
but not the pelican , the gull;
pelicans dip and dive, rise,
shaking shocked half-dead
radioactive fish from their beaks;
indeed, indeed, the waters wash
the rocks with slime; and on wall st.
the market staggers like a lost drunk looking for his key; ah, this will be a good one,by God: it will take us back to the sabre-teeth, the winged monkey scrabbling in pits over bits of helmet, instrument and glass; a lightning crashes across the window and in a million rooms lovers lie entwined and lost and sick as peace; the sky still breaks red and orange for the painters-and for the lovers, flowers open as they always have opened but covered with thin dust of rocket fuel and mushrooms, poison mushrooms; it's a bad time, a dog-sick time-curtain act 3, standing room only, SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT, SOLD OUT again, by god,by somebody and something, by rockets and generals and leaders, by poets , doctors, comedians, by manufacturers of soup and biscuits, Janus-faced hucksters of their own indexerity; I can now see now the coal-slick contanminated fields, a snail or 2, bile, obsidian, a fish or 3 in the shallows, an obloquy of our source and our sight.
has this happend before? is history a circle that catches itself by the tail, a dream, a nightmare, a general's dream, a presidents dream, a dictators dream.
can't we awaken? or are the forces of life greater than we are? can't we awaken? must we foever, dear freinds, die in our sleep?

Written 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 
and nobody finds the 
but keep 
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.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

How Is Your Heart?

 during my worst times
 on the park benches
 in the jails
 or living with
 I always had this certain
 I wouldn't call it
 it was more of an inner
 that settled for
 whatever was occuring
 and it helped in the
 and when relationships 
 went wrong
 with the 
it helped through the wars and the hangovers the backalley fights the hospitals.
to awaken in a cheap room in a strange city and pull up the shade- this was the craziest kind of contentment and to walk across the floor to an old dresser with a cracked mirror- see myself, ugly, grinning at it all.
what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

Written by Charles Bukowski |

Here I Am ...

 drunk again at 3 a.
at the end of my 2nd bottle of wine, I have typed from a dozen to 15 pages of poesy an old man maddened for the flesh of young girls in this dwindling twilight liver gone kidneys going pancrea pooped top-floor blood pressure while all the fear of the wasted years laughs between my toes no woman will live with me no Florence Nightingale to watch the Johnny Carson show with if I have a stroke I will lay here for six days, my three cats hungrily ripping the flesh from my elbows, wrists, head the radio playing classical music .
I promised myself never to write old man poems but this one's funny, you see, excusable, be- cause I've long gone past using myself and there's still more left here at 3 a.
I am going to take this sheet from the typer pour another glass and insert make love to the fresh new whiteness maybe get lucky again first for me later for you.
from "All's Normal Here" - 1985

Written by Charles Bukowski |

Poem For My 43rd Birthday

 To end up alone
in a tomb of a room
without cigarettes
or wine--
just a lightbulb
and a potbelly,
and glad to have
the room.
in the morning they're out there making money: judges, carpenters, plumbers, doctors, newsboys, policemen, barbers, carwashers, dentists, florists, waitresses, cooks, cabdrivers.
and you turn over to your left side to get the sun on your back and out of your eyes.
from "All's Normal Here" - 1985