Ham on Rye

I love books. I always have. I couldn’t tell you who my favorite author is, but there is definitely a small, exclusive club of dearly loved authors tucked away inside my heart. One long-standing member is Charles Bukowski.

At the moment, I am re-reading Ham on Rye for the upteenth time. And just because I love the man, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes with you.

“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.”
― from Tales of Ordinary Madness

“What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.”
― from Ham on Rye

“The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidates who reminded them most of themselves. 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 didn’t 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.”
― from Ham on Rye

“I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.”

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”

“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.”

Peace, Charles.


9 thoughts on “Ham on Rye

  1. for some reason I am just noticing your posts but my almost died when I saw this one. Have you read “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.” Or notes from a Dirty Old man. If I had to pick, it would be CB for me without a doubt. Oh my god, I love this


    • NO! Sadly, new books are not in my budget these days. I have this huge list of books that I need to read “someday”, and a ridiculous number of them are Bukowski’s. I have read:

      Ham on Rye
      Post Office

      And I have seen Barfly, of course. I’ve read random poems. I spend time at http://bukowski.net/.

      Siiigh. I love me some Bukowski.


    • I just wish there was a branch a little closer to where I live. There is an awesome used bookstore right down the street, but it’s hit or miss what you’ll find there.


Lay it on me.

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