Many people have wondered what the gravestone epitaph of the great American counter-culture poet and novelist Charles Bukowski means – ‘Don’t Try.’ I was baffled by this too until I came across this illuminating quote from Bukowski which should substantiate his intended meaning of ‘Don’t Try’:
Somebody asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it.
– Charles Bukowski
Source: The Bukowski.net web site
This quote in conjunction with his poem ‘All the Way‘ poem reinforces the message. Here is an excerpt:
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start…..
DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. All the way
Below is video and audio of the poem directed, filmed and edited by Willem Martinot: