Archives for posts with tag: Los Angeles poets

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SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Image
SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Drawing: Self-portrait by Charles Bukowski 

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THE LUCK OF THE WORD (Excerpt)

Poem by Charles Bukowski

throughout the years
I have gotten letters
from men
who say
that reading my
books 
has helped them
get through,
go on.
this is high praise 
indeed
and I know what
they mean;
my nerve to go 
on was helped
by reading
Fante, Dostoevsky,
Lawrence Celine, Hamsun
and others…
a good book
can make an almost
impossible
existence,
livable
for the reader
and
the writer.

***

“The Luck of the Word” appears in Betting on the Muse: Poems & Stories by Charles Bukowski, available at Amazon.com

Photo: Masamitony, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Photo Credit: Charles Bukowski (1988) © Joan Gannij, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. For prints of this photo, visit the photographer at her website here. Postcards of the above image are available at Skylight Books in Los Angeles and at City Lights Books in San Francisco.

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WRITING

Poem by Charles Bukowski

often it is the only 
thing 
between you and 
impossibility. 
no drink, 
no woman’s love, 
no wealth 
can 
match it. 
nothing can save 
you 
except 
writing. 
it keeps the walls 
from 
failing. 
the hordes from 
closing in. 
it blasts the 
darkness. 
writing is the 
ultimate 
psychiatrist, 
the kindliest 
god of all the 
gods. 
writing stalks 
death. 
it knows no 
quit. 
and writing 
laughs 
at itself, 
at pain. 
it is the last 
expectation, 
the last 
explanation. 
that’s 
what it 
is.