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Charles Bukowski Poems

A collection of select Charles Bukowski famous poems that were written by Charles Bukowski or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More



by Bukowski, Charles
 George was lying in his trailer, flat on his back, watching a small portable T.V. His
dinner dishes were undone, his breakfast dishes were undone, he needed a shave, and ash
from his rolled cigarettes dropped onto his undershirt. Some of the ash was still burning.
Sometimes the burning ash missed the undershirt and hit his skin, then he cursed, brushing
it away....Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 we are always asked
to understand the other person's
viewpoint
no matter how
out-dated
foolish or
obnoxious.
one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
with
kindliness,
especially if they are
aged.
but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
badly
because they have
lived
out of focus,
they have refused to
see.
not their fault?
whose fault?
mine?
I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
fear.
age is no crime
but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life
among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives
is....Read More



by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 drunk again at 3 a.m. 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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,...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 during my worst times
 on the park benches
 in the jails
 or living with
 whores
 I always had this certain
 contentment-
 I wouldn't call it
 happiness-
 it was more of an inner
 balance 
 that settled for
 whatever was occuring
 and it helped in the
 factories
 and when relationships 
 went wrong
 with the 
 girls. 
 it helped...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when i was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb,unsophisticated.
I had bad blood,a twisted
mind, a pecarious
upbringing.

I was hard as granite,I
leered at the 
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted,jailed,in and
out of fights,in and aout
of my mind.
women were something
to...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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....Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 ah, christ, what a CREW:
more
poetry, always more
P O E T R Y .

if it doesn't come, coax it out with a 
laxative. get your name in LIGHTS,
get it up there in
8 1/2 x 11 mimeo.

keep it coming like a miracle.

ah christ, writers are the most sickening
of all the louts!
yellow-toothed, slump-shouldered,
gutless, flea-bitten and
obvious . . . in tinker-toy rooms
with their...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 we have everything and we have nothing
and some men do it in churches
and some men do it by tearing butterflies
in half
and some men do it in Palm Springs
laying it into butterblondes
with Cadillac souls
Cadillacs and butterflies
nothing and everything,
the face melting down to the last puff
in a cellar in Corpus Christi.
there's something for the touts, the nuns,
the grocery clerks and you...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 Cass was the youngest and most beautiful of 5 sisters. Cass was the most beautiful girl
in town. 1/2 Indian with a supple and strange body, a snake-like and fiery body with eyes
to go with it. Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that
would not hold her. Her hair was black and long...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 call it the greenhouse effect or whatever
but it just doesn't rain like it used to.
I particularly remember the rains of the 
depression era.
there wasn't any money but there was
plenty of rain.
it wouldn't rain for just a night or
a day,
it would RAIN for 7 days and 7
nights
and in Los Angeles the storm drains
weren't built to carry off taht much
water
and the...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
 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...Read More