Bukowski “ON CATS”: Butch the Brawler

Bukowski ON CATS- Charles Bukowski was a German-American poet, novelist and short story writer. His best known works are Post Office (1971) and Ham on Rye (1982). Bukowski became a cult hero by depicting stories based on his experiences with using direct language and violent and sexual imagery. Later in life, he came to love cats badly and kept not a few around him.

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski and his cat

Charles Bukowski and his cat (periodismonews.com)

Charles Bukowski was born on August 16, 1920 in Germany. His father Henry Bukowski decided to bring his family to the United States in 1923. They settled in Baltimore, Maryland for about seven years, then again moved to the west, South Central Los Angels in 1930. Henry Bukowski was frequently abusive, both physically and mentally, beating his son for the smallest imagined offense.

Bukowski stated that his father beat him with a razor strop three times a week from the ages of 6 to 11. He says that it helped his writing, as he came to understand undeserved pain. Between the age of 15 to 24, he had read the whole library. The Depression bolstered his rage as he grew, and gave him much of his voice and material for his writings.

Poem My Cats

Charles Bulowski and his white cat

Charles Bulowski and his white cat (CRITERI)

Bukowski had a cat named Butch Van Gogh, a one-eared tomcat who, more than once, bit the hand that fed, saved and eventually had him fixed. Furry friends were frequently Bukowski’s muse. His cats were brawlers, bruisers, and blood-thirsty boozers, much like the poet himself. Bukowski said they were both funny animals and beautiful devil(s).

Bukowski and his cat

Bukowski and his cat (www.elanartista.com.ar)

My Cats
 I know. I know.
 they are limited, have different needs and concerns.
 but I watch and learn from them.
 I like the little they know, which is so much.
 they complain but never worry, they walk with a surprising dignity.
 they sleep with a direct simplicity that humans just can’t understand.
 their eyes are more beautiful than our eyes.
 and they can sleep 20 hours a day without hesitation or remorse.
 when I am feeling low all I have to do is watch my cats and my courage returns.
 I study these creatures.
 they are my teachers.

My Cats by Charles Bukowski (We Rule The Internet)

Taste of Magic

Bukowski wtih beer and cigarette at a microphone

Bukowski (BuzzFeed)

When Bukowski was 13, one of his friends invited him to his father’s wine cellar and served him his first drink of alcohol. Bukowski wrote It was Magic. Since then, he was fascinated by its effect and he would never be apart from his magic, ever.

Anything happened, he had a drink. Drink to forget something bad, drink to celebrate something good. When nothing happens? Drink to make something happen. Drinking was a very much part of his life, it was life-sustaining blood for him. He realized that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. Drinking takes you out of usual ‘boring reality’… for a night. He said he’d lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives, killing himself by drinking every night and reborn the next day.

Laureate of American Lowlife

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski (7iber.com)

In 1986, Time called Bukowski a laureate of American lowlife. The detailed depiction of a certain taboo male fantasy, slobby and staying anti-social made him a literary icon.

Even though I write about the human race, the further away from them, the better I feel. Two miles is great; two thousand miles is beautiful.

Charles Bukowski Quotes (Brainy Quote)

Most of Bukowski’s work is based on his own experience. The sense of desolate, abandoned world. He avoided using a metaphor but a lively anecdote made his work dramatic. Bukowski once said he could do without women, but not a typewriter. What he wrote, his works are not about formality, but about life itself. And his life consisted of gambling, women, and drinking, the writing was a quintessential act for him, like breathing, like drinking. His motivation was not because he was good at writing, but ‘literature’ didn’t write about life, so he did himself.

Shakespeare didn’t work at all for me.

Charles Bukowski Quotes (Brainy Quote)

Charles Bukowski at his typewriter

Postcard featuring Charles Bukowski at his typewriter in 1988. Photo by Joan Levine (+BIO)

Don’t Try

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski (3:AM MAGAZINE)

Bukowski died on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro in L.A., aged 73. He was a prolific writer, produced thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books.

Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try; I just type.

Charles Bukowski Quotes (Brainy Quote)

charles bukowski

Charles Bukowski (De Moanne)

Pain without reason made Bukowski at his typewriter, his gasoline was beer and women brought him dramas. He wasn’t trying to write, but actually writing his heart out at his typewriter even emotions that hurt. Bukowski didn’t see himself as a saint, but saw the way he was and had lived fully the way he desired.

Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. 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.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum (goodreads)

Related Articles

Jack Kerouac and His Beloved Cat, Tyke
 William S. Burroughs and His Unabashed Love for Cats


Originally published at Johnny Times.

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