It's a destructor. It's the whore, the bitch, the destructor of all time. I've got it the sweetest because I'm famous in Europe and unknown here. I'm one of the most fortunate men around. I'm a lucky dog. Fame is really terrible. It is a measure on a scale of the common denominator, minds working on a low level. It's worthless. A select audience is much better.
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. It's being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I'll quote Ibsen, "The strongest men are the most alone." I've never thought, "Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I'll feel good." No, that won't help. You know the typical crowd, "Wow, it's Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?" Well, yeah. Because there's nothing out there. It's stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I've never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn't want to hide in factories. That's all. Sorry for all the millions, but I've never been lonely. I like myself. I'm the best form of entertainment I have. Let's drink more wine!
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. Whether you're an actor, anything, a housewife...there has to be great pauses between highs, where you do nothing at all. You just lay on a bed and stare at the ceiling. This is very, very important...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. ln the old days, before I was married, or knew a lot of women, I would just pull down all the shades and go to bed for three or four days. I'd get up to shit. I'd eat a can of beans, go back to bed, just stay there for three or four days. Then I'd put on my clothes and I'd walk outside, and the sunlight was brilliant, and the sounds were great. I felt powerful, like a recharged battery. But you know the first bring-down? The first human face I saw on the sidewalk, I lost half my charge right there. This monstrous, blank, dumb, unfeeling face, charged up with capitalism -- the "grind." And you went "Oooh! That took half away." But it was still worth it, I had half left. So, yeah, leisure. And I don't mean having profound thoughts. I mean having no thoughts at all. Without thoughts of progress, without any self-thoughts of trying to further yourself. Just...like a slug. It's beautiful.
There is no such thing as beauty, especially in the human face...what we call the physiognomy. It's all a mathematical and imagined alignment of features. Like, if the nose doesn't stick out too much, the sides are in fashion, if the earlobes aren't too large, if the hair is long...It's kind of a mirage of generalization. People think of certain faces as beautiful, but, truly, in the final measure, they are not. It's a mathematical equation of zero. "True beauty" comes, of course, of character. Not through how the eyebrows are shaped. So many women that I'm told are beautiful...hell, it's like looking into a soup bowl.
There's no such thing as ugliness. There is a thing called deformity, but outward "ugliness" does not exist...I have spoken.
ONCE UPON A TIME:
It was wintertime. I was starving to death trying to be a writer in New York. I hadn't eaten for three or four days. So, I finally said, "I'm gonna have a big bag of popcorn." And God, I hadn't tasted food for so long, it was so good. Each kernel, you know, each one was like a steak! I chewed and it would just drop into my poor stomach. My stomach would say, "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" I was in heaven, just walking along, and two guys happened by, and one said to the other, "Jesus Christ!" The other one said, "What was it?" "Did you see that guy eating popcorn? God, it was awful!" And so I couldn't enjoy the rest of the popcorn. I thought; what do you mean, "it was awful?" I'm in heaven here. I guess I was kinda dirty. They can always tell a fucked-up guy.
ON THE PRESS:
I kind of like being attacked. "Bukowski's disgusting!" That makes me smile, you know, I like it. "Oh, he's a horrible writer!" I smile some more. I kind of feed on that. It's when a guy tells me, "Hey, you know, they're teaching you at such and such a university," my mouth drops. I don't know...to be too much accepted is terrifying. You feel you've done something wrong.
I enjoy the bad things that are said about me. It enhances [book] sales and makes me feel evil. I don't like to feel good 'cause I am good. But evil? Yes. It gives me another dimension. (Bringing up the pinky finger of his left hand...) Did you ever see this finger? (The finger seems paralyzed in a downward "L" configuration.) I broke it, drunk one night. Don't know how, but...I guess it just didn't set right. But, it works just fine for the "a" key (on his typewriter) and...what the hell...it adds to my character. See, now I've got character and dimension. (He laughs.)
Most so-called brave people lack imagination. As though they can't conceive of what would happen if something went wrong. The truly brave overcome their imagination and do what they have to do.
I don't know a thing about it. (He laughs)
I think violence is often misinterpreted. Certain violence is needed. There is, in all of us, an energy that demands an outlet. I think that if the energy is constrained, we go mad. The ultimate peacefulness we all desire is not a desirable area. Somehow in our construction, it is not meant to be. This is why I like to see boxing matches, and why, in my younger days, I'd like to duke it in back alleys. "Expulsion of energy with honor," is sometimes called violence. There is "interesting madness" and "disgusting madness." There are good and bad forms of violence. So, in fact...it's a loose term. Let it not be too much at the expense of others, and it's okay.
ON PHYSICAL PAIN:
When I was a kid, they used to drill me. I had these big boils. You toughen up to physical pain. When I was in General Hospital they were drilling away, and a guy walked in, and he said, "I never saw anyone go under the needle that cool." That's not bravery -- if you get enough physical pain, you relent -- it's a process, an adjustment.
Mental pain can't be adjusted to. Keep me away from it.
What do psychiatric patients get? They get a bill.
I think the problem between the psychiatrist and the patient is that the psychiatrist goes by the book, while the patient arrives because of what life has done to him or her. And even though the book may have certain insights, the pages are always the same in the book, and, each patient is a little bit different. There are many more individual problems than pages. Get it? There are too many mad people to do it by saying, "dollars per hour, when this bell rings, you're finished." That alone will drive any near-mad person to madness. They've just started to open up and feel good, when the shrink says, "Nurse, make the next appointment," and they've lost track of the price, which is also abnormal. It's all too stinking worldly. The guy is out to take your ass. He's not out to cure you. He wants his money. When the bell rings, bring in the next "nut." Now the sensitive "nut" will realize when that bell rings, he's being fucked. There's no time limit to curing madness, and there's no bills for it either. Most psychiatrists I've seen look a little close to the edge themselves. But they're too comfortable...I think they're all too comfortable. I think a patient wants to see a little madness, not too much. Ahhhh! (bored) PSYCHIATRISTS ARE TOTALLY USELESS! Next question?
Faith is all right for those who have it. Just don't load it on me. I have more faith in my plumber than I do in the eternal being. Plumbers do a good job. They keep the shit flowing.
I've always been accused of being a cynic. I think cynicism is sour grapes. I think cynicism is a weakness. It's saying "everything is wrong! EVERYTHING IS WRONG!" You know? "This is not right! That is not right!" Cynicism is the weakness that keeps one from being able to adjust to what is occurring at the moment. Yes, cynicism is definiteiy a weakness, just as optimism is. "The sun is shining, the birds are singing -- so smile." That's bullshit too. The truth lies somewhere in between. What is, just is. So you're not ready to handle it...too bad.
ON CONVENTIONAL MORALITY:
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.
ON BEING INTERVIEWED:
It's almost like being caught in the corner. It's embarrassing. So, I don't always tell the total truth. I like to play around and jest a bit, so I do give out some misinformation just for the sake of entertainment and bullshit. So if you want to know about me, never read an interview. Ignore this one.