Charles Bukowski Poem “the wine of forever”

the wine of forever, by Charles Bukowski

re-reading some of Fante’s
The Wine of Youth
in bed
this mid-afternoon
my big cat
asleep beside

the writing of some
is like a vast bridge
that carries you
the many things
that claw and tear.

Fante’s pure and magic
hang on the simple

that this man died
one of the slowest and
most horrible deaths
that I ever witnessed or

the gods play no

I put the book down beside me.

book on one side,
cat on the

John, meeting you, even the way it
was was the event of my
life. I can’t say
I would have died for
you, I couldn’t have handled
it that well.

but it was good to see you

Charles Bukowski often cited John Fante as one of his greatest influences, along with writers like Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson and Louis-Ferdinand Céline. This is one of many cases where he paid tribute to the man, which he did in both poetry and prose.

Bukowski met his literary idol when he was in failing health. As alluded to in this poem, Fante suffered considerably before he went. Diabetes took both his sight, and eventually both legs, due to amputation. He wrote his final novel, Dreams of Bunker Hill, by dictating it to his wife, Joyce.

Bukowski wrote the introduction to Fante’s most well-known novel, Ask the Dust. The novel had been out-of-print for four decades, before Bukowski suggested it to his publisher John Martin, who put it back into print with his Black Sparrow Press. In the introduction, he writes, “Fante was my god…”

You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense, Charles Bukowski

The poem “the wine of forever” appears in the Charles Bukowski poetry collection You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense. Click on the image to learn more or to purchase the book.




  1. A typical Bukowski poem. Raw and absolutely stunning. Thanks for posting it. Cheers from Brazil.

  2. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Márcio! And all the way from Brazil. Very cool. There are Bukowski fans from all over to be sure.

  3. Pingback: 51 Popular Charles Bukowski Quotes (VIDEO) | Bukowski Quotes

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