Bukowski’s epitaph reads “DON’T TRY”

Poet Charles Bukowski was buried in 1994 in Los Angeles. His gravestone is pretty simple: his name, dates of birth and death, and then, something special.

There’s a symbol of a boxer between the two dates and a short epitaph, “Don’t Try.”

It’s not like he’s telling everybody to give up (on life, art, work, etc.) But his philosophy is to just wait for things to happen or for your muse to appear. That’s apparently what we can gather from letters he sent to friends. In a letter to William Packard, he stated:

“We work too hard. We try too hard. Don’t try. Don’t work. It’s there. It’s been looking right at us, aching to kick out of the closed womb. There’s been too much direction. It’s all free, we needn’t be told. Classes? Classes are for asses. Writing a poem is as easy as beating your meat or drinking a bottle of beer.”



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