There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls, but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts.
My objection to war was not that I had to kill somebody or be killed senselessly, that hardly mattered. What I objected to was to be denied the right to sit in a small room and starve and drink cheap wine and go crazy in my own way and at my own leisure.
darkness falls upon Humanityand faces become terriblethingsthat wanted more than therewas.all our days are marked withunexpectedaffronts - somedisastrous, othersless sobut the process iswearing andcontinuous.attrition rules.most givewayleavingempty spaceswhere people shouldbe.and nowas we ready to self-destructthere is very little left tokillwhich makes the tragedyless and moremuch muchmore.
Never bring a lot of money to where a poor man lives. He can only lose what little he has. On the other hand it is mathematically possible that he might win whatever you bring with you. What you must do, with money and the poor, is never let them get too close to one another.
Morning night and noonthe traffic moves throughand the murder and treacheryof friends and loversand all the peoplemove through you.pain is the joy of knowingthe unkindest truththat arrives without warning.life is being alonedeath is being alone.even the fools weepmorning night and noon.
We went up the Harbor freeway north and then we cut onto the San Diego freeway north. I hated the San Diego freeway. It always jammed. Then I noticed a slight rain beginning to fall."That's it," I said, "it's beginning to rain." All the cars were going to stop. California drivers didn't know how to drive in the rain."
There's a small balcony here, the door is open and I can see the lights ofthe cars on the Harbor Freeway south, they never stop, that roll of lights, on and on.All those people. What are they doing? What are they thinking? We're allgoing to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't."
Our progenitors, our educational systems, the land, the media, the way have deluded and misled the masses: they have been defeated by the aridity of the actual dream. they were unaware that achievement or victory or luck or whatever the hell you want to call it must have its defeats."
I sit heredrunk now.I am a series ofsmall victoriesand large defeatsand I am asamazedas any otherthatI have gottenfrom there toherewithout committing murderor beingmurdered;withouthaving ended up in themadhouse.as I drink aloneagain tonightmy soul despite all the pastagonythanks all the godswho were nottherefor methen."
My mother, poor fish,wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times aweek, telling me to be happy: "Henry, smile!why don't you ever smile?"and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was thesaddest smile I ever saw"
I will remember your small room, the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons, our nights, our bodies spilled together, sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever. Your leg, my leg, your arm, my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again."
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.
The human race had always disgusted me. essentially, what made them disgusting was the family-relationship illness, which included marriage, exchange of power and aid, which neighborhood, your district, your city, your county, your state, your nation-everybody grabbing each other's assholes in the Honeycomb of survival out of a fear-animalistic stupidity.
Thanksgiving. It proved you had survived another year with its wars, inflation, unemployment, smog, presidents. It was a grand neurotic gathering of clans: loud drunks, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, screaming children, would-be suicides. And don't forget indigestion. I wasn't different from anyone else: There sat the 18-pound bird on my sink, dead, plucked, totally disemboweled. Iris would roast it for me.
Everything was a trap: women, drugs, whiskey, wine, scotch, beer - even beer - cigars, and cigarettes. Traps: Work or no work. Traps: Artistry or no artistry; everything sucked you into some spiderweb. I disdained the use of the needle for the same reason that I disdained some so-called beautiful women - the price was far beyond the measure of the worth. I didn't want to hustle that hard.
All our days are marked with/ unexpected/ affronts--some/ disastrous, others/ less so/ but the process is/ wearing and/ continuous./ Attrition rules./ Most give/ way/ leaving/ empty spaces/ where people should/ be.
There's a small balcony here, the door is open and I can see the lights of the cars on the Harbor Freeway south, they never stop, that roll of lights, on and on. All those people. What are they doing? What are they thinking? We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't.
escape from the black widow spider is a miracle as great as art. what a web she can weave slowly drawing you to her she'll embrace you then when she's satisfied she'll kill you still in her embrace and suck the blood from you.
Sex is interesting, but it's not totally important. I mean it's not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.
The ladies usually go for the biggest damn fool they can find; that is why the human race stands where it does today: we have bred the clever and lasting Casanovas, all hollow inside, like the chocolate Easter bunnies we foster upon our poor children.
Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire.... Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It's real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you've suddenly become an idiot. There's no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.
and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed, shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,"look, look at this!" but they don't understand, they say something like,"you say you've been influenced by Celine?" no," I hold the cat up,"by what happens, by things like this, by this, by this!
I was fighting a small fight of my own which wasn't leading anywhere-but like a man with a bent spoon trying to dig through a cement wall I knew that a small fight was better than quitting: it kept the heart alive.
and I laugh, I can still laugh, who can't laugh when the whole thing is so ridiculous that only the insane, the clowns, the half-wits, the cheaters, the whores, the horseplayers, the bankrobbers, the poets ... are interesting?
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.
I think that everything should be made available to everybody, and I mean LSD, cocaine, codeine, grass, opium, the works. Nothing on earth available to any man should be confiscated and made unlawful by other men in more seemingly powerful and advantageous positions.
There's no light at the end of the tunnel, there isn't even a tunnel. The best thing I can do is get drunk and listen to classical music. Or sleep and wait for death to get closer. Leaving this will not be a horrible thing. Yet I'm glad, somehow, that I threw my words in the air: confetti, celebrating nothing.
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 to laugh. I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love.
Human relationships didn't work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death--in a cesspool.
great writers are indecent people they live unfairly saving the best part for paper. good human beings save the world so that bastards like me can keep creating art, become immortal. if you read this after I am dead it means I made it.
it was like any other relationship, there was jealousy on both sides, there were split-ups and reconciliations. there were also fragmented moments of great peace and beauty. I often tried to get away from her and she tied to get away from me but it was difficult: Cupid, in his strange way, was really there.
I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas.
...maybe a damned good night's sleep will bring me back to a gentle sanity. But at the moment, I look about this room and, like myself, it's all in disarray: things fallen out of place, cluttered, jumbled, lost, knocked over and I can't put it straight, don't want to. Perhaps living through these petty days will get us ready for the dangerous ones.
Her violence frightened me. She always claimed that I was the jealous one, and I was often jealous, but when I saw things working against me I simply became disgusted and withdrew. Lydia was different. She reacted. She was the Head Cheerleader at the Game of Violence.
This is very important -- to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you're gonna lose everything...just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That's why they're all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.
Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser or listening to the rain in the dark. The less I needed the better I felt.
The apartment was built at the edge of a high cliff so that when you looked out the back window it seemed as if you were twelve floors up instead of four. It was very much like living on the edge of the world - a last resting place before the final big drop.
I was laying in bed one night and I thought 'I'll just quit - to hell with it.' And another little voice inside me said 'Don't quit - save that tiny little ember of spark.' And never give them that spark because as long as you have that spark, you can start the greatest fire again.
2 p.m. beer nothing matters but flopping on a mattress with cheap dreams and a beer as the leaves die and the horses die and the landladies stare in the halls; brisk the music of pulled shades, a last man's cave in an eternity of swarm and explosion; nothing but the dripping sink, the empty bottle, euphoria, youth fenced in, stabbed and shaven, taught words propped up to die.
I got up and walked back to my roominghouse. The moonlight was bright. My footsteps echoed in the empty street and it sounded as if somebody was following me, I looked around. I was mistaken. I was quite alone.
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 so obvious yourself.
I had decided against religion a couple of years back. If it were true, it made fools out of people, or it drew fools. And if it weren't true, the fools were all the more foolish. What I need is a good doctor, I thought. You either lived or died.
If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.
There are no good wars or bad wars. The only thing bad about a war is to lose it. All wars have been fought for a so-called good Cause on both sides. But only the victor's Cause becomes history's Noble Cause. It's not a matter of who is right or who is wrong, it's a matter of who has the best generals and the better army!
Don't wait for the good woman. She doesn't exist. There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd.
The whole LSD, STP, marijuana, heroin, hashish, prescription cough medicine crowd suffers from the "Watchtower" itch: you gotta be with us, man, or you're out, you're dead. This pitch is a continual and seeming MUST with those who use the stuff. It's no wonder they keep getting busted.
I don't carry notebooks and I don't consciously store ideas. I try not to think that I am a writer and I am pretty good at doing that. I don't like writers, but then I don't like insurance salesmen either.
I only want sweet peace and kindliness when I awaken -- but there's always some finger pointing, telling me some terrible deed I committed during the night. It seems I make a lot of mistakes and it seems that I am not allowed any.
nothing's news. it's the same old thing in disguise. only one thing comes without a disguise and you only see it once, or maybe never. like getting hit by a freight train. makes us realize that all our moaning about long lost girls in gingham dresses is not so important after all.
Love is a form of prejudice. You love what you need, you love what makes you feel good, you love what is convenient. How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you'll never meet them.
I would say that Mickey Mouse has a greater influence on the American public than Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Rabelais, Shostakovitch, Lenin, and/or Van Gogh. Which says 'What?' about the American Public. Disneyland remains the central attraction of Southern California, but the graveyard remains our reality.
Learn, he says, that there will be hours, days and months ahead of feeling absolutely terrible and nothing can change that; neither new girlfriends, health professionals, changes of diet, dope, humility, or God.
I felt like crying but nothing came out. it was just a sort of sad sickness, sick sad, when you can't feel any worse. I think you know it. I think everybody knows it now and then. but I think I have known it pretty often, too often.
The dog approached again, cautiously. I found the bologna sandwich, ripped off a chunk, wiped the cheap watery mustard off, then placed it on the sidewalk.The dog walked up to the bit of sandwich, put his nose to it, sniffed, then turned and walked off. This time he didn't look back. He accelerated down the street.No wonder I had been depressed all my life. I wasn't getting proper nourishment.
it is so dark now with the sadness ofpeoplethey were tricked, they were taught to expect theultimate when nothing ispromisednow young girls weep alone in small roomsold men angrily swing their canes atvisions asladies comb their hair asants search for survivalhistory surrounds usand our livesslink awayinshame.
when we were kidslaying around the lawnon ourbellieswe often talkedabouthowwe'd like todieandwe allagreed on thesamething;we'd alllike to diefucking(althoughnone of ushaddone anyfucking)and nowthatwe are hardlykidsany longerwe think moreabouthownot todieandalthoughwe'rereadymost ofuswouldprefer todo italoneunder thesheetsnowthatmost ofushave fuckedour livesaway.
girlsplease give yourbodies and yourlivestothe young menwhodeserve thembesidesthere isno wayI would welcometheintolerabledullsenseless hellyou would bringmeandI wish youluckin bedandoutbut notinminethankyou.
beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone
as long as there arehuman beings aboutthere is never going to beany peacefor any individualupon this earth (oranywhere elsethey mightescape to).all you can dois maybe grabten lucky minuteshereor maybe an hourthere.somethingis working toward youright now, andI mean youand nobody butyou.
all theorieslike clichesshot to hell,all these small faceslooking upbeautiful and believing;I wish to weepbut sorrow isstupid.I wish to believe but believe is agraveyard. we have narrowed it down tothe butcherknife and themockingbird wish usluck.
The area dividing the brain and the soul Is affected in many ways by experience --Some lose all mind and become soul:insane.Some lose all soul and become mind:intellectual.Some lose both and become:accepted.
There is only one place to write and that is alone at a typewriter. The writer who has to go into the streets is a writer who does not know the streets. . . when you leave your typewriter you leave your machine gun and the rats come pouring through.
my mother, poor fish,wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times aweek, telling me to be happy: "Henry, smile!why don't you ever smile?"and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was thesaddest smile I ever saw
The best thing about the bedroom was the bed. I liked to stay in bed for hours, even during the day with covers pulled up to my chin. It was good in there, nothing ever occurred in there, no people, nothing.
Turgenev was a very serious fellow but he could make me laugh because a truth first encountered can be very funny. When someone else's truth is the same as your truth, and he seems to be saying it just for you, that's great.
Most people are much better at saying things in letters than in conversation, and some people can write artistic, inventive letters, but when they try a poem or story or novel they become pretentious.
I wasn't sleeping on the streets at night. Of course, there were a lot of good people sleeping in the streets. They weren't fools, they just didn't fit into the needed machinery of the moment. And those needs kept altering.
I sit here drunk now. I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here without committing murder or being murdered; without having ended up in the madhouse. as I drink alone again tonight my soul despite all the past agony thanks all the gods who were not there for me then.
It was sad, it was sad, it was sad. When Betty came back we didn't sing or laugh, or even argue. We sat drinking in the dark, smoking cigarettes, and when we went to sleep, I didn't put my feet on her body or she on mine like we used to. We slept without touching. We had both been robbed.
The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life to a function that doesn't interest you. This situation so repelled me that I was driven to drink, starvation, and mad females, simply as an alternative.
nobody can save you but yourself. you will be put again and again into nearly impossible situations. they will attempt again and again through subterfuge, guise and force to make you submit, quit and/or die quietly inside. nobody can save you but yourself
I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.
When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill. It was good to be old, no matter what they said. It was reasonable that a man had to be at least 50 years old before he could write with anything like clarity.
when I was a boy I used to dream of becoming the village idiot. I used to lie in bed and imagine myself the happy idiot able to get food easily ...and easy sympathy, a planned confusion of not too much love or effort. some would claim that I have succeeded.
It was a joy! Words weren't dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.
the last cigarettes are smoked, the loaves are sliced, and lest this be taken for wry sorrow, drown the spider in wine. you are much more than simply dead: I am a dish for your ashes, I am a fist for your vanished air. the most terrible thing about life is finding it gone.
But then if you lied to a man about his talent just because he was sitting across from you, that was the most unforgivable lie of them all, because that was telling him to go on, to continue which was the worst way for a man without real talent to waste his life, finally. But many people did just that, friends and relatives mostly.
The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.
I will remember the kisses our lips raw with love and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me, and I will remember your small room the feel of you the light in the window your records your books our morning coffee our noons our nights our bodies spilled together sleeping the tiny flowing currents immediate and forever your leg my leg your arm my arm your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.
I lapsed into my pathetic cut-off period. Often with humans, both good and bad, my senses simply shut off, they get tired, I give up. I am polite. I nod. I pretend to understand because I donât want anybody to be hurt. That is the one weakness that has lead me into the most trouble. Trying to be kind to others I often get my soul shredded into a kind of spiritual pasta. No matter. My brain shuts off. I listen. I respond. And they are too dumb to know that I am not there.
Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.
Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It's just a little while, and then it burns away... Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.
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.
For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
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.
Dog is much admired by Man because he believes in the hand which feeds him. A perfect set-up. For 13 cents a day you've got a hired killer who thinks you are god. A dog can't tell a Nazi from a Republican from a Commie from a Democrat and, many times, neither can I.
There may not be a hell, but those who judge may create one. I think people are over-taught. They are over-taught everything. You have to find out by what happens to you, how you will react. I'll have to use a strange term here... "good." I don't know where it comes from, but I feel that there's an ultimate strain of goodness born in each of us. I don't believe in God, but I believe in this "goodness" like a tube running through our bodies. It can be nurtured. It's always magic, when on a freeway packed with traffic, a stranger makes room for you to change lanes... it gives you hope.
You know the typical crowd, Wow, itâs Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there? Well, yeah. Because thereâs nothing out there. Itâs stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. Iâve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. Thatâs all. Sorry for all the millions, but Iâve never been lonely. I like myself. Iâm the best form of entertainment I have.
I mean, say that you figure that everything is senseless, then it can't be quite senseless because you are aware that it's senseless and your awareness of senselessness almost gives it sense. You know what I mean?
there is a place in the heart that will never be filled a space and even during the best moments and the greatest times times we will know it we will know it more than ever there is a place in the heart that will never be filled and we will wait and wait in that space.
your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray. it didn't help. you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over the river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.
As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Nobody escapes them. Some even live with them. The idea is to realize that a trap is a trap. If you are in one and you don't realize it, then you're finished.
I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didnât understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go. Suicide? Jesus Christ, just more work. I felt like sleeping for five years but they wouldnât let me.
Are people crazy? People waited all their lives. They waited to live, they waited to die. They waited in line to buy toilet paper. They waited in line for money. And if they didn't have any money they waited in longer lines. You waited to go to sleep and then you waited to awaken. You waited to get married and you waited to get divorced. You waited for it to rain, you waited for it to stop. You waited to eat and then you waited to eat again. You waited in a shrink's office with a bunch of psychos and you wondered if you were one.
I've never been lonely. I've been in a room... I've felt suicidal, I've been depressed. I've felt awful ... awful beyond all , but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me...or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I've never been bothered with because I've always had this terrible itch for solitude...
..few writers like other writers' works. The only time they like them is when they are dead or if they have been for a long time. Writers only like to sniff their own turds. I am one of those. I don't even like to talk to writers, look at them or worse, listen to them. And the worst is to drink with them, they slobber all over themselves, really look piteous, look like they are searching for the wing of the mother. I'd rather think about death than about other writers. Far more pleasant.
Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.
There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with the family, runs through school and goes into the business world.
I like women who havenât lived with too many men. I donât expect virginity but I simply prefer women who havenât been rubbed raw by experience. There is a quality about women who choose men sparingly; it appears in their walk in their eyes in their laughter and in their gentle hearts. Women who have had too many men seem to choose the next one out of revenge rather than with feeling. When you play the field selfishly everything works against you: one canât insist on love or demand affection. Youâre finally left with whatever you have been willing to give which often is: nothing.
This is a world where everybodyâs gotta do something. Ya know, somebody laid down this rule that everybodyâs gotta do something, they gotta be something. You know, a dentist, a glider pilot, a narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that . . . Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I donât wanna do. All the things that I donât wanna be. Places I donât wanna go, like India, like getting my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that, I donât understand that . . .
I don't know if this is true to you but for me sometimes it gets so bad that anything else say like looking at a bird on an overhead power line seems as great as a Beethoven symphony. then you forget it and you're back again.
dont undress my love you might find a mannequin dont undress the mannequin you might find love. shes long ago forgotten me. hes trying on a new hat and looks more the coquette then ever. she is a child and a mannequin and death. i can't hate that. she didnt do anything unusual. I only wanted her to.
A yet women -good women- frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep. Basically I craved prostitutes, base women, because they were deadly and hard and made no personal demands. Nothing was lost when they left. Yet at the same time I yearned for a gentle, good woman, despite the overwhelming price.
I didn't like parties.I didn't know how to dance and people frightened me, especially people at parties. They attempted to be sexy and gay and witty and although they hoped they were good at it, they weren 't. They were bad at it. Their trying so hard only made it worse.
Most of the world was mad. And the part that wasn't mad was angry. And the part that wasn't mad or angry was just stupid. I had no chance. I had no choice. Just hang on and wait for the end. It was hard work. It was the hardest work imaginable.
I was glad I wasn't in love, that I wasn't happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.
I couldn't get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn't have you by the throat.
I got lost somehow, began staring up her legs. I was always a leg man. It was the first thing I saw when I was born. But then I was trying to get out. Ever since I have been working in the other direction and with pretty lousy luck.
There's nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him. And the longer he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it.
Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.
I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn't want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn't understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores.
We do not abandon ship. I say, as corny as it may sound, through the strength and spirit and fire and dare and gamble of a few men in a few ways we can save the carcass of humanity from drowning. No light goes out until it goes out. Let's fight as men, not rats. Period. No further addition.
i am with the roots of flowers entwined, entombed sending up my passionate blossoms as a flight of rockets and argument; wine churls my throat, above me feet walk upon my brain, monkies fall from the sky clutching photographs of the planets, but i seek only music and the leisure of my pain
LSD, yeah, the big parade â everybody's doin' it now. Take LSD, then you are a poet, an intellectual. What a sick mob. I am building a machine gun in my closet now to take out as many of them as I can before they get me.
I don't think I have written a poem when I was completely sober. But I have written a few good ones or a few bad ones under the hammer of a black hangover when I didn't know whether another drink or a blade would be the best thing.
When you play the field selfishly everything works against you: one canât insist on love or demand affection. youâre finally left with whatever you have been willing to give which often is: nothing.
pull a string, a puppet moves ... each man must realize that it can all disappear very quickly: the cat, the woman, the job, the front tire, the bed, the walls, the room; all our necessities including love, rest on foundations of sand -- and any given cause, no matter how unrelated: the death of a boy in Hong Kong or a blizzard in Omaha ... can serve as your undoing. all your chinaware crashing to the kitchen floor, your girl will enter and you'll be standing, drunk, in the center of it and she'll ask: my god, what's the matter? and you'll answer: I don't know, I don't know ...
Women: I liked the colors of their clothing; the way they walked; the cruelty in some faces; now and then the almost pure beauty in another face, totally and enchantingly female. They had it over us: they planned much better and were better organized. While men were watching professional football or drinking beer or bowling, they, the women, were thinking about us, concentrating, studying, deciding - whether to accept us, discard us, exchange us, kill us or whether simply to leave us. In the end it hardly mattered; no matter what they did, we ended up lonely and insane.
The Laughing Heart your life is your life donât let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is a light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you canât beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.
I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars a day for weeks at a time in order to have leisure to write. But starvation, unfortunately, didn't improve art. It only hindered it. A man's soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a porterhouse steak and drinking a pint of whiskey than he could ever write after eating a nickel candy bar. The myth of the starving artist was a hoax.
There were always men looking for jobs in America. There were always all these usable bodies. And I wanted to be a writer. Almost everybody was a writer. Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer. Of those fifty guys in the room, probably fifteen of them thought they were writers. Almost everybody used words and could write them down, i.e., almost everybody could be a writer. But most men, fortunately, aren't writers, or even cab drivers, and some men - many men - unfortunately aren't anything.
little sun little moon little dog and a little to eat and a little to love and a little to live for in a little room filled with little mice who gnaw and dance and run while I sleep waiting for a little death in the middle of a little morning in a little city in a little state my little mother dead my little father dead in a little cemetery somewhere. I have only a little time to tell you this: watch out for little death when he comes running but like all the billions of little deaths it will finally mean nothing and everything: all your little tears burning like the dove, wasted.
The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you'll live ten times longer than if you have ten. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever.
and when love came to us twice and lied to us twice we decided to never love again that was fair fair to us and fair to love itself. we ask for no mercy or no miracles; we are strong enough to live and to die and to kill flies, attend the boxing matches, go to the racetrack, live on luck and skill, get alone, get alone often, and if you can't sleep alone be careful of the words you speak in your sleep; and ask for no mercy no miracles; and don't forget: time is meant to be wasted, love fails and death is useless.
beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average
There's nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives ... their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them.... Most people's deaths are a sham. There's nothing left to die.
My dear, Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but itâs much better to be killed by a lover. ~ Falsely yours
Early evening traffic was beginning to clog the avenue with cars. The sun slanted down behind him. Harry glanced at the drivers of the cars. They seemed unhappy. The world was unhappy. People were in the dark. People were terrified and disappointed. People were caught in traps. People were defensive and frantic. They felt as if their lives were being wasted. And they were right.
Oh, I donât mean youâre handsome, not the way people think of handsome. Your face seems kind. But your eyes - theyâre beautiful. Theyâre wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.
I wasnât going anywhere and neither was the rest of the world. We were all just hanging around waiting to die and meanwhile doing little things to fill the space. Some of use werenât even doing little things. We were vegetables.
Itâs not so much that nothing means anything but more that it keeps meaning nothing. thereâs no release, just gurus and self- appointed gods and hucksters. the more people say, the less there is to say. even the best books are dry sawdust.
he asked, "what makes a man a writer?" "well," I said, "it's simple, it's either you get it down on paper or you jump off a bridge. writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers." "are you desperate?" "I don't know...
I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn't have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn't make for an interesting person. I didn't want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.
I have a face like a washrag. I sing love songs and carry steel. I would rather die than cry. I can't stand hounds can't live without them. I hang my head against the white refrigerator and want to scream like the last weeping of life forever but I am bigger than the mountains.
soon I'll finish this 5th of Puerto Rican rum. in the morning I'll vomit and shower, drive back in, have a sandwich by 1 p.m., be back in my room by 2, stretched on the bed, waiting for the phone to ring, not answering, my holiday is an evasion, mt reasoning is not.
They have no idea that it can be done by a bus driver, a field hand, or a fry cook. They have no idea where it comes from. It comes from pain, damnation and impossibility. The blow to the soul of the gut. It comes from getting burned and seared and slugged. It comes from...new and awful places and the same old places.
When I begin to doubt my ability to work the word, I simply read another writer and know I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself, to do it right, with power, and force, and delight, and gamble.
I was only kidding about the hundred," she says. oh," I say, "what will it cost me?" she lights her cigarette with my lighter and looks at me through the flame: her eyes tell me. look," I say, "I don't think I can ever pay that price again.
I held her wrists and then I got it through the eyes: hatred, centuries deep and true. I was wrong and graceless and sick. all the things I had learned had been wasted. there was no creature living as foul as I and all my poems were false.
A man needed somebody. There wasn't anybody around, so you had to make up somebody, make him up to be like a man should be. It wasn't make-believe or cheating. The other way was make-believe and cheating: living your life without a man like him around.
Hell, I'd even failed with women. Three wives. Nothing really wrong each time. It all got destroyed by petty bickering. Railing about nothing. Getting pissed-off over anything and everything. Day by day, year by year, grinding. Instead of helping each other you just sliced away, picked at this or that. Goading. Endless goading. It became a cheap contest. And once you got into it, it became habitual. You couldn't seem to get out. You almost didn't want to get out. And then you did get out. All the way.
Don't fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.
I have seen too many men wilt and go silly under a little light, and then they continue to write and get published, turning out pure crap under a name that has become a bad habit. The next poem is all that counts. You can't stand on past poems.
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
I could scream down 90 mountains to less than dust if only one living human had eyes in the head and heart in the body, but there is no chance, my god, no chance. rat with rat dog with dog hog with hog, play the piano drunk listen to the drunk piano, realize the myth of mercy stand still as even a child's voice snarls and we have not been fooled, it was only that we wanted to believe.
we drove on and on, past little villages and both good things and bad things were happening to the people in those villages too, but I still was nothing but arms and ears and eyes and maybe there'd be either some good luck for me or more death tomorrow.
you've got to burn straight up and down and then maybe sidewise for a while and have your guts scrambled by a bully and the demonic ladies, you've got to run along the edge of madness teetering, you've got to starve like a winter alleycat, you've go to live with the imbecility of at least a dozen cities, then maybe maybe maybe you might know where you are for a tiny blinking moment.
To me, nudity is a joke. I don't think nude people are very attractive at all. I like my women fully clothed. I like to imagine what might be under there. It might not be the standard thing. Imagine, stripping a woman down, and she has a body like a little submarine. With periscope, propellers, torpedoes. That would be the one for me. I'd marry her right off and be faithful to the end.
I once lay in a white hospital for the dying and the dying self, where some god pissed a rain of reason to make things grow only to die, where on my knees I prayed for LIGHT, I prayed for l*i*g*h*t, and praying crawled like a blind slug into the web where threads of wind stuck against my mind and I died of pity for Man, for myself, on a cross without nails, watching in fear as the pig belches in his sty, farts, blinks and eats.
the psyche has been burned and left us senseless, the world has been darker than lights-out in a closet full of hungry bats, and the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on
why don't we go back out there and tell them what happened? because nothing happened except that everybody has been driven insane and stupid by life. in this society there are only two things that count: don't be caught without money and don't get caught high on any kind of high. (Night Streets of Madness)
And if there is anybody out there who is crazy enough to want to become a writer, I'd say go ahead, spit in the eye of the sun, hit those keys, it's the best madness going, the centuries need help, the species cry for light and gamble and laughter. Give it to them. There are enough words for all of us.
the impossibility of being human all too human this breathing in and out out and in these punks these cowards these champions these mad dogs of glory moving this little bit of light toward us impossibly.
alone with everybody 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 them men drink too much and nobody finds the one but they 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. nobody ever finds the one. the city dumps fill the junkyards fill the madhouses fill the hospitals fill the graveyards fill nothing else fills.
They looked as if nothing had ever touched them--all well-mothered, protected, with a soft sheen of contentment. None of them had ever been in jail, or worked hard with their hands, or even gotten a traffic ticket. Skimmed-milk jollies, the whole bunch.
Somebody at one of these places asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You "don't try". That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like it's looks, you make a pet out of it.
Christmas poem to a man in jail hello Bill Abbott: I appreciate your passing around my books in jail there, my poems and stories. if I can lighten the load for some of those guys with my books, fine. but literature, you know, is difficult for the average man to assimilate (and for the unaverage man too); I don't like most poetry, for example, so I write mine the way I like to read it.
the beautiful are found in the edge of a room crumpled into spiders and needles and silence and we can never understand why they left,they were so beautiful. they dont make it, the beautiful die young and leave the ugly to their ugly lives.
I sit on the couch watching her arrange her long red hair before my bedroom mirror. she pulls her hair up and piles it on top of her head- she lets her eyes look at my eyes- then she drops her hair and lets it fall down in front of her face. we go to bed and I hold her speechlessly from the back my arm around her neck I touch her wrists and hands feel up to her elbows no further.
there was something about that city, though it didn't let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed. it let me alone. sitting up in my bed the lights out, hearing the outside sounds, lifting my cheap bottle of wine, letting the warmth of the grape enter me as I heard the rats moving about the room, I preferred them to humans. being lost, being crazy maybe is not so bad if you can be that way undisturbed. New Orleans gave me that. nobody ever called my name.
you are on the freeway threading through traffic now, moving both towards something and towards nothing at all as you punch the radio on and get Mozart, which is something, and you will somehow get through the slow days and the busy days and the dull days and the hateful days and the rare days, all both so delightful and so disappointing because we are all so alike and so different.
It was hard for me to believe. When recess was over I sat in class and thought about it. My mother had a hole and my father had a dong that shot juice. How could they have things like that and walk around as if everything was normal, and talk about things, and then do it and not tell anybody?
There's nothing like privacy. You know, I like people. It's nice that they might like my books and all that...but I'm not the book, see? I'm the guy who wrote it, but I don't want them to come up and throw roses on me or anything. I want them to let me breathe.
Where did all the women come from? The supply was endless. Each one of them was individual, different. Their pussies were different, their kisses were different, their breasts were different, but no man could drink them all, there were too many of them, crossing their legs, driving men mad. What a feast!
The street to my left was backed up with traffic and I watched the people waiting patiently in the cars. There was almost always a man and a women, staring straight ahead, not talking. It was, finally, for everyone, a matter of waiting. You waited and you waited- for the hospital, the doctor, the plumber, the madhouse, the jail, papa death himself. First the signal red, then the signal was green. The citizens of the world ate food and watched t.v. and worried about their jobs or lack of the same, while they waited.
Few beautiful women were willing to indicate in public that they belonged to someone. I had known enough women to realize this. I accepted them for what they were and love came hard and very seldom. When it did it was usually for the wrong reasons. One simply became tired of holding back love and let it go because it needed some place to go. Then, usually, there was trouble.
I went over to see Marina two or three or four times a week. I knew as long as I could see the girl I would be all rightâ¦. Soon after, I got a letter from Fay. She and the child were living in a hippie commune in New Mexico. It was a nice place, she said. Marina would be able to breathe there. She enclosed a little drawing the girl had made for me.
Once in a dream I saw a snake swallowing its own tail, it swallowed and swallowed until it got halfway round, and there it stopped and there it stayed, it was stuffed with its own self. Some fix, that. We only have ourselves to go on, and itâs enoughâ¦
I didn't like anybody in that school. I think they knew that. I think that's why they disliked me. I didn't like the way they walked or looked or talked, but I didn't like my mother or father either. I still had the feeling of being surrounded by white empty space. There was always a slight nausea in my stomach.
After dinner or lunch or whatever it was -- with my crazy 12-hour night I was no longer sure what was what -- I said, "Look, baby, I'm sorry, but don't you realize that this job is driving me crazy? Look, let's give it up. Let's just lay around and make love and take walks and talk a little. Let's go to the zoo. Let's look at animals. Let's drive down and look at the ocean. It's only 45 minutes. Let's play games in the arcades. Let's go to the races, the Art Museum, the boxing matches. Let's have friends. Let's laugh. This kind of life like everybody else's kind of life: it's killing us.
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.
It was too much. The comfortable people made comfortable jokes about weather and things but I sat mostly silent saying a word or so when necessary a word or so trying to hide from them the fact that I was a fool and feeling terrible And I was numb, numb again, numb again again and again, numbness and pain swelling in me.
We are Born like this Into this Into these carefully mad wars Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness Into bars where people no longer speak to each other Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings Born into this Into hospitals which are so expensive that itâs cheaper to die Into lawyers who charge so much itâs cheaper to plead guilty Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average but there is genius in their hatred there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you to kill anybody not wanting solitude not understanding solitude they will attempt to destroy anything that differs from their own not being able to create art they will not understand art they will consider their failure as creators only as a failure of the world
Everything is beautiful. We have all this beauty in the world and all we have to do is reach out and touch it, it is all there and all ours for the taking." -- Cecilia to Henry Chinaski, liberty taken changing past tense to present tense (173)
That moment - to this ... may be years in the way they measure, but it's only one sentence back in my mind - there are so many days when living stops and pulls up and sits and waits like a train on the rails. I pass the hotel at 8 and at 5; there are cats in the alleys and bottles and bums, and I look up at the window and think, I no longer know where you are, and I walk on and wonder where the living goes when it stops.
I should think that many of our poets, the honest ones, will confess to having no manifesto. It is a painful confession but the art of poetry carries its own powers without having to break them down into critical listings. I do not mean that poetry should be raffish and irresponsible clown tossing off words into the void. But the very feeling of a good poem carries its own reason for being... Art is its own excuse, and itâs either Art or itâs something else. Itâs either a poem or a piece of cheese.
I could see the road ahead of me. I was poor and I was going to stay poor. But I didn't particularly want money. I didn't know what I wanted. Yes, I did. I wanted someplace to hide out, someplace where one didn't have to do anything. The thought of being something didn't only appall me, it sickened me . . . To do things, to be part of family picnics, Christmas, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Mother's Day . . . was a man born just to endure those things and then die? I would rather be a dishwasher, return alone to a tiny room and drink myself to sleep.
I think a man can keep on drinking for centuries, he'll never die; especially wine or beer...I like drunkards, man, because drunkards, they come out of it, and they're sick and they spring back, they spring back and forth...If I hadn't been a drunkard, I probably would have committed suicide long ago.
Yes?â he asked, looking at me over the sheet. âIâm a writer temporarily down on my inspirations.â âOh, a writer, eh?â âYes.â âAre you sure?â âNo, Iâm not.â âWhat do you write?â âShort stories mostly. And Iâm halfway through a novel.â âA novel, eh?â âYes.â âWhatâs the name of it?â ââThe Leaky Faucet of My Doom.ââ âOh, I like that. Whatâs it about?â âEverything.â âEverything? You mean, for instance, itâs about cancer?â âYes.â âHow about my wife?â âSheâs in there too.
You are thirty minutes late." "Yes." "Would you be thirty minutes late to a wedding or a funeral?" "No." "Why not, pray tell?" "Well, if the funeral was mine I'd have to be on time. If the wedding was mine it would be my funeral.
That was the trouble with being a writer, that was the main troubleâleisure time, excessive leisure time. You had to wait around for the buildup until you could write and while you were waiting you went crazy, and while you were going crazy you drank and the more you drank the crazier you got.
i never understood society. i undersand that it works somehow and that it functions as a reality and that its realities are necessary to keep us from worse realities. but all i sense are that are plenty of police and jails and judges and laws and that what is meant to protect me is breaking me down...
I call 'em complaining machines. Things are never right with a guy to them. And man, when you throw that hysteria in there ... forget it. I gotta get out, get in the car, and go. Anywhere. Get a cup of coffee somewhere. Anywhere. Anything but another woman. I guess they're just built different, right?
I needed a vacation. I needed 5 women. I needed to get the wax out of my ears. My car needed an oil change. I'd failed to file my damned income tax. One of the stems had broken off of my reading glasses. There were ants in my apartment. I needed to get my teeth cleaned. My shoes were run down at the heels. I had insomnia. My auto insurance had expired. I cut myself every time i shaved. I hadn't laughed in 6 years. I tended to worry when there was nothing to worry about. And when there was something to worry about, i got drunk.
What's genius? I don't know but I do know that the difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can't help doing.
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?
And it seems people should not build houses anymore it seems people should stop working and sit in small rooms on second floors under electric lights without shades; it seems there is a lot to forget and a lot not to do and in drugstores, markets, bars, the people are tired, they do not want to move, and I stand there at night and look through this house and the house does not want to be built
Homosexuals are delicate and bad poetry is delicate and [Allen] Ginsberg turned the tables by making homosexual poetry strong poetry, almost manly poetry; but in the long run, the homo will remain the homo and not the poet.
I can't think of any poet-recluses outside of one dead Jeffers. [Robinson Jeffers] The rest of them want to slobber over each other and hug each other. It appears to me that I am the last of the poet-recluses.