bukowski 2







This is another of my favorite Bukowki poems. Sometimes I have to re-read it to make sure I am still doing this for the right reasons. It is as good a slap up side the head as I have ever found.






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
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
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
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
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-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
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.


:::bukowski i:::
:::bukowki ii:::
:::bukowki iii:::

34 Responses to bukowski 2

  1. Heh, I’ll just stick to writing shitty blogs then.

    I love Buk. I’m reading an interesting volume at present which is made up entirely of correspondence over the space of a few decades, between Buk and Sheri Martinelli. Some great writing and crazy philosophising to be had in those pages.

    May it keep bursting out of you, my dear.

  2. max

    I am not always so crazy for his novels. But I so love his poems.

  3. I’m not normally one for poetry, but I make an exception for him.

  4. max

    I sort of had the poetry kicked out of me by the world by the time I was sixteen and did not know till I found Bukowski you could use poetry to kick back.

    Kicking back really works for me.

  5. tj

    “If you’re doing it because you want women in your bed, don’t do it.”


    That really is a great poem, though.

  6. max

    It is an excellent poem and you are cute as a button you would have women in your bed if all you did was grill cheese sandwiches just stay away from hair spray comments and you are going to do okay.

  7. tj

    Unfortunately I am a bad cook and the hairspray comments come way too easily.

    I will reverse that one of these days.

  8. max

    TJ you have to put your link in your profile you will have girls climbing all over you if they can follow your link back. Now I have to go fix it. Sheesh.

  9. max

    There. Now you are all linked up Sass Boy.

  10. tj

    Oh yeah I meant to do that. Thank you very much.

  11. max

    TJ by the way is this hot studly ex-baseball player who can really write and has a super cute dog named Achilles too. In case any of the women in the audience were wondering.


  12. tj

    LOL. You are awesome.

  13. max

    Oh and you fixed the link. Yay!

    Put something surly up quick to impress the girls.

  14. tj

    OK something surly attached with shirtless photos of me flexing will be up shortly.

  15. tj

    …ok, not really.

  16. I like this poem. And I am all for using poetry to kick back, of course mine seem more like a rap but the kicking part is just as fun.

    Max, you are a beacon of light.

  17. Very cool, and inspirtional in a jerky elitist way…which, to be honest, is the only way I’m ever inspired.

  18. The timing is perfect. I really needed to read something like that right now. Thank you.

  19. max

    There are other things I would like to inspire in you. And they do not involve being jerky or elitist.

  20. charitycase

    God MAX that is incredible I was about to wiz over it going yawn another poem…god how i was wrong that is thrully fucking incredible and i will take those words to heart….
    seriously i am finding precious little moving these days thank you for shaking me XX

  21. charitycase

    opps I meant TRULY fucking incredible… not thrully

  22. max

    Bukowski pretty much rocks any way you look at him.

  23. Excellent poem, Max, thanks for sharing it. I’m still thinking about that other Bukowski poem you had here, I’m sure this one will stick in my head for a while, too.

  24. max

    The Price. That one shatters my glass heart into sand

  25. yay for you max, and putting up good poems. I love Bukowski. I just watched the movie factotum, but it didn’t quite capture me like the book.

    oh and tj, I’m waiting for the pictures…

  26. max

    Yeah, TJ. Photos. Surly. Shirtless. You do not even have to grill a cheese sandwich.

  27. I still remember that great line in “Barfly” when Mickey O’Rourke greets the private eye sent by the publisher:

    “They send a dick to find an asshole.”

  28. Oh, everything he wrote in that poem is so true. If I don’t write at least every other day or two days (and only because LIFE keeps me from doing it every day), I go a little mad!

    I mean, sometimes I wish there was a magical wand to rub my angst out, too, but unfortunately, there is not.

  29. max

    Um, actually, there sort of is but probably we should not go there.


  30. :D

    I was just at a bar called Bukowski.

    Love him and everything he’s ever done, especially this.

  31. max

    Oh you have the best taste.

  32. Pingback: my favorite bukowski poem « celluloid blonde

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