Artists on Writers - No. 2, Charles Bukowski

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Forewordby techgnotic


If the severely acne-scarred face and coarse exterior brought on by his alcoholic and depressed life was the book cover of his being, then Charles was the ultimate book that could not be judged by its cover.

The exquisite collection that was this everyman artist’s art consisted of thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels—mostly all wrenchingly autobiographical, mostly all about moments of epiphany and grace in an otherwise miserable and unhappy existence. The perfect explication of the common man's deepest truth; it's not easy to be here.

Unvarnished and brutal blunt force trauma underlined with hope, beauty, longing, and love.

Therein lies the power of his poetry and his prose that strikes to the very soul of the reader that allows his legendary cruelties toward the people in his life and his many general misdeeds to be mostly forgiven—a price worth paying in light of the beauty of his words in those moments when his artistry transcended the ugliness beaten into his heart by an abusive father. A small but loyal fan base has grown up around his poetry and novels. A bourbon-soaked slice of his life was portrayed by Mickey Rourke in “Barfly.” But his works remain just beneath the popular radar, a treasure chest of sparkling gems that remain to this day hard to sell, victims of the stained brown bag packaging they were first delivered in.

About Artists on Writers


Writers will always find inspiration in the visions of artists, always feeling compelled to tell the stories behind the moments captured in artists’ unforgettable images,

Just as,

Artists will always find inspiration in the words of writers, always feeling compelled to lend visual reality and habitat to the characters described in the scribe’s haunting words.

A Quote From Charles Bukowski


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

Quotes from BUKOWSKI


“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

“Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.”

“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”


by Charles Bukowski

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.

There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders and the grocery clerks
never know that he's in there.

There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay down, do you want to mess me up?
You want to screw up the works?
You want to blow my book sales in Europe?

There's a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out
but I'm too clever,
I only let him out at night sometimes when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be sad.

Then I put him back,
but he's singing a little in there,
I haven't quite let him die
and we sleep together like that with our secret pact
and it's nice enough to make a man weep,
but I don't weep, do you?

Oh Yes

by Charles Bukowski

There are worse things than being alone,
but it often takes decades to realize this
and most often when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
than too late.

Alone With Everybody

by Charles Bukowski

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.

Nody ever finds the one.

The city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

Nothing else fills.

What Bothers Them Most

excerpt by Charles Bukowski

They simply never understand,
do they,
that sometimes solitude is
one of the most beautiful things
on earth?

Quotes from BUKOWSKI


“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

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

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

Questions For the Reader


  1. Does an artist’s life story necessarily serve as an element of his or her art?  Can you even try to separate the work from the life of the artist?
  2. Does “real” artistic commitment require excesses and the testing of boundaries in the real-time of your own life experience?
  3. In your experience has your art been affected by the way you conduct your life?
  4. Can the actions of an artist be so negative as to dismiss all of the artist’s work?  For example, Ezra Pound a poet who embraced fascism or Leni Riefenstahl who made infamous and some say brilliant propaganda films for the Nazis.

Research & Curation


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