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The 10 Best Charles Bukowski Quotes About Drinking

Words of wisdom from Charles Bukowski, one of the 20th century's best-known American writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. And in honor of what would have been Bukowski's 95th birthday...

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"That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen."

—Charles Bukowski, Women



"Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now."

Charles Bukowski


"stay with the beer.

beer is continuous blood.

a continuous lover."

—Charles Bukowski, "how to be a great writer"


"'I think I need a drink.'

'Almost everybody does only they don't know it.'"

—Charles Bukowski, Women


"I like to change liquor stores frequently because the clerks got to know your habits if you went in night and day and bought huge quantities. I could feel them wondering why I wasn't dead yet and it made me uncomfortable. They probably weren't thinking any such thing, but then a man gets paranoid when he has 300 hangovers a year."

—Charles Bukowski, Women


"Getting drunk was good. I decided that I would always like getting drunk. It took away the obvious and maybe if you could get away from the obvious often enough, you wouldn't become obvious yourself."

—Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye


"When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn't have you by the throat."

—Charles Bukowski, Factotum


"in the cupboard sits my bottle

like a dwarf waiting to scratch out my prayers.

I drink and cough like some idiot at a symphony,

sunlight and maddened birds are everywhere,

the phone rings gamboling its sound

against the odds of the crooked sea;

I drink deeply and evenly now,

I drink to paradise

and death

and the lie of love."

—Charles Bukowski, "Soirée"


"'What? You mean you'd dare drink right after getting out of jail for intoxication?'

'That's when you need a drink the most.'"

—Charles Bukowski, Factotum



lighting new cigarettes

pouring more


it has been a beautiful




—Charles Bukowski, "cornered"

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