Quotes for "Ham On Rye"

Bukowski, Charles

  • That afternoon after school I quickly left class and walked home alone, without David. I didn’t want to watch him beaten again by our classmates or by his mother. I didn’t want to listen to his sad violin. But the next day at lunch time, when he sat down next to me I ate his potato chips.
  • When my mother saw me she stood up and ran toward me, grabbed me. She took me into the bedroom and sat me on the bed. “Henry, do you love your mother?” I really didn’t but she looked so sad that I said, “Yes.”
  • This thing about fucking was nice. It gave people extra things to think about.
  • I backed up further into the deeper water. I was now standing on my toes, moving backwards. I swallowed some water. She kept coming, a steamship of a woman.
  • I didn’t know if I was unhappy. I felt too miserable to be unhappy.
  • We stayed quite a while and asked all sorts of questions about God. Like, how tall was He? And did He just sit in a chair all day?
  • “All right, you guys, it’s time to go.” “What for?” asked Frank. “Why can’t we keep looking?” “Because,” said one of the big guys, “I’m going to do something. Now get out of here!” We walked off. “I wonder what he’s going to do?” I asked. “I don’t know,” said Frank, “maybe he’s going to throw a rock at it.”
  • Frank and I never got into fights. We were curious about things.
  • Machine Gun Kelly. People began going to vacant lots where weeds grew.
  • The knowledge that I didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary made me feel terrible. I began to feel physically sick. I was weak. I didn’t want it to happen yet I couldn’t think of any way to stop it.
  • There was always the chance that the cat might try to escape, but I knew that they would prevent it. That cat wasn’t only facing the bulldog, it was facing Humanity.
  • Maybe that stuff wasn’t good for surgeons but anybody who wanted to be a surgeon, there was something wrong with them in the first place.
  • Arnie was a couple of years older than the rest of us. He had spent a few years in some boys’ correctional school. But even though he was older than we were, he was smaller. He had very black hair slicked back with vaseline. He would stand in front of the mirror in the men’s crapper squeezing his pimples. He talked dirty to the girls and carried Sheik rubbers in his pockets.
  • Baldy pulled his hand back and I waited. We hadn’t spooked Miss Gredis. Her skirt remained as high as ever. It was truly a day to remember. There wasn’t a boy in class without a hard-on and Miss Gredis went on talking. I’m sure that none of the boys heard a word she was saying. The girls, though, turned and glanced at each other as if to say, this bitch is going too far.
  • Richard Waite. He lived somewhere and he came to school every day.
  • Yes, Richard Waite was one of the few we never talked to. Actually, we were afraid of him. He wasn’t somebody you could beat the shit out of, that would never make anybody feel better. You just wanted to get as far away from him as possible, you didn’t want to look at him, you didn’t want to look at those big lips, that big unfolding mouth like the mouth of a bruised frog. You shunned him because you couldn’t defeat Richard Waite.
  • Something had happened. The bath towels knew it, the shower curtain knew it, the mirror knew it, the bathtub and the toilet knew it. My father
  • Something had happened. The bath towels knew it, the shower curtain knew it, the mirror knew it, the bathtub and the toilet knew it. My father turned and walked out the door. He knew it.
  • He made me stand in the phone booth with the door closed. I spent many hours in that phone booth. The only reading material in there was the Ladies Home Journal. It was deliberate torture. I read the Ladies Home Journal anyhow. I got to read each new issue. I hoped that maybe I could learn something about women.
  • “Is he asleep?” “Why?” “He seems very calm.” “No, I don’t think he’s asleep. Are you asleep, my boy?” “Yes.”
  • My father didn’t drive because he wanted to save gas. He needed the gas to drive to and from his invisible job.
  • Grandmother had more warts on her than ever before and she was fatter. She looked invincible, she looked as if she would never die. She had gotten so old that it was almost senseless for her to die.
  • Poor Miss Ackerman. I was 15 years old and in love with her and I was covered with boils and there was nothing that either of us could do.
  • I want you to be an engineer. How the hell you gonna be an engineer when I find notebooks full of women with their skirts pulled up to their ass? Is that all you can draw? Why don’t you draw flowers or mountains or the ocean? You’re going back to school!”
  • 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.
  • The water was full of people. What was the fascination of the beach? Why did people like the beach? Didn’t they have anything better to do?
  • Jim was splashing water on the girls. He was the Water God and they loved him.
  • But his eyes were magnificent in their fury, large blue blazing symbols of war and victory.
  • “Whitlinger!” “Yes, sir!” “Would you want those guys raping your mother?” “My mother’s dead, sir.” “Oh, sorry … Drake!” “Yes, sir!” “Would you want those guys raping your mother?” “No, sir!” “Good.
  • Everybody was lost and it didn’t matter. I pulled my arm band off and waited for a Red Cross Ambulance or something. War was probably hell but the in-between parts were boring.
  • 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 candidate who reminded them most of themselves.
  • I wasn’t much of a soldier and everybody knew it. I had won on a fluke because I hadn’t cared enough to be nervous.
  • with my father watching me from beneath his dark and evil eyebrows,
  • My father hadn’t said anything. He was confused. He was worried about losing what little he had but at the same time he was very proud of a son who could break somebody’s arm.
  • guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it
  • “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”
  • No wonder I had been depressed all my life. I wasn’t getting proper nourishment.
  • Mears-Starbuck was looking for stayers. The company didn’t care for employee turnover (although these new recruits obviously weren’t going anywhere but to the grave—
  • My parents had paid for my books and I had sold them for drinking money.
  • The war was going very well in Europe, for Hitler.
  • Never trust a man with a perfectly-trimmed mustache …
  • I didn’t like him but he certainly was different and I liked that.
  • poured myself another rum. It was dreadful stuff but it was all there was.
  • I never had any books to carry. I passed my exams by listening to the class lectures and by guessing at the answers
  • Hell, I couldn’t even get a job as a dishwasher. Maybe I’d be a bank robber. Some god-damned thing. Something with flare, fire. You only had
  • Hell, I couldn’t even get a job as a dishwasher. Maybe I’d be a bank robber. Some god-damned thing. Something with flare, fire. You only had one shot. Why be a window washer?
  • There wasn’t anybody that I much cared for there except maybe the instructor in Anthropology, a known Communist. He didn’t teach much Anthropology.
  • “Just play your hand. I’m not here to chat about gymnastics or the scenery.” “All right,” he said, “I’m out.” I scooped up the pot and gathered in their cards, leaving mine face down. “What did ya have?” asked Fastshoes. “Pay to see or weep forever,” I said sweeping my cards into the deck and mixing them together, shuffling them, feeling like Gable before he got weakened by God at the time of the San Francisco earthquake.
  • 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.
  • “I’ve read your stuff,” said Becker. “You’re too bitter and you hate everything.”
  • I walked along until I saw a liquor store. I was going to get my drink. I bought two bottles of wine and I felt hungry too so I purchased a large bag of potato chips.
  • Mrs. Curtis was just a chip off old Franky only she had much better legs. Poor Franky didn’t have any legs but he had a wonderful brain. In some other country he would have made a powerful dictator.
  • I walked toward the door. I stopped there, turned, gave her a little nod goodbye, a slight and quick goodbye. Outside I walked along under the campus trees. Everywhere, it seemed, there was a boy and a girl together. Mrs. Curtis was sitting alone at her desk as I walked alone. What a great triumph it would have been. Kissing that lisp, working those fine legs open, as Hitler swallowed up Europe and peered toward London.
  • Good luck to the next one who got my locker. Maybe he’d end up mayor of Boise, Idaho.
  • There wasn’t much to Ballard. The nice thing about him was that he never talked unless you asked him a question. I never asked him any questions.
  • I stood looking at Kong. I’d never seen him around campus. He probably hung around the men’s crapper in the gym. He looked like a shit-sniffer. He also looked like a fetus-eater.
  • I made practice runs down to skid row to get ready for my future.
  • I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.
  • Outside, Becker and I walked down Main Street. “How’d it go?” I asked. “There was a table charge, plus the two drinks. It came to $32.” “Christ, I could stay drunk for two weeks on that.” “She grabbed my dick under the table, she rubbed it.” “What did she say?” “Nothing. She just kept rubbing my dick.” “I’d rather rub my own dick and keep the thirty-two bucks.” “But she was so beautiful.” “God damn, man, I’m walking along in step with a perfect idiot.” “Someday I’m going to write all this down. I’ll be on the library shelves: BECKER. The ‘B’s’ are very weak, they need help.” “You talk too much about writing,” I said.
  • Outside, Becker and I walked down Main Street. “How’d it go?” I asked. “There was a table charge, plus the two drinks. It came to $32.” “Christ, I could stay drunk for two weeks on that.” “She grabbed my dick under the table, she rubbed it.” “What did she say?” “Nothing. She just kept rubbing my dick.” “I’d rather rub my own dick and keep the thirty-two bucks.” “But she was so beautiful.” “God damn, man, I’m walking along in step with a perfect idiot.” “Someday I’m going to write all this down. I’ll be on the library shelves: BECKER. The ‘B’s’ are very weak, they need help.” “You talk too much about writing,” I said.
  • He’d probably make a good writer. He was bursting with enthusiasms. He probably loved many things: the hawk in flight, the god-damned ocean, full moon, Balzac, bridges, stage plays, the Pulitzer Prize, the piano, the god-damned Bible.
  • The other few customers were babbling wildly about Pearl Harbor. Before, they wouldn’t speak to each other. Now they were mobilized. The Tribe was in danger.