A couple dozen John Fante quotes that’ll make you understand why Charles Bukowski called him a god.

Written by Cole Schafer

A couple of years back, I began obsessively curating lines of poetry and prose by Charles Bukowski, which you can peruse here.

Being that John Fante was the predecessor of Bukowski, I’d be remiss to not do the same for this equally as awe-inspiring (but far less read) writer.

24 John Fante Quotes from his masterpiece, Ask The Dust.

1. “Then I washed my teeth, tasted blood, saw pink on the toothbrush, remembered the advertisements, and decided to go out and get some coffee.”

2. “And so I was down on Fifth and Olive, where the big street cars chewed your ears with their noise, and the smell of gasoline made the sight of the palm trees seem sad, and the black pavement still wet from the fog of the night before.”

3. “He looked rich; and then a woman got out, and she was beautiful, her fur was silver fox, and she was a song across the sidewalk and inside the swinging doors, and I thought oh boy for a little of that, just a day and a night of that, and she was a dream as I walked along, her perfume still in the wet morning air.”

4. “I have wanted women whose very shoes are worth all I have ever possessed.”

5. “Well, this is good for me, this is experience, I am here for a reason, these moments run into pages, the steamy side of life.”

6. “My advice to all young writers is quite simple. I would caution them never to evade a new experience. I would urge them to live life in the raw, to grapple with it bravely, to attack it with naked fists.”

7. “The lean days, blue skies with never a cloud, a sea of blue day after blue day, the sun floating through it. The days of plenty –– plenty of worries, plenty of oranges. Eat them in bed, eat them for lunch, push them down for dinner. Oranges, five cents a dozen. Sunshine in the sky, sun juice in my stomach.”

8. “He was drinking from a bottle in his hand. He was always drinking, day and night, but he never got drunk.”

9. “The old folk from Indiana and Iowa and Illinois, from Boston and Kansas City and Des Moines, they sold their homes and their stores, and they came here by train and by automobile to the land of sunshine, to die in the sun, with just enough money to live until the sun killed them, tore themselves out by the roots in their last days, deserted the smug prosperity of Kansas City and Chicago and Peoria to find a place in the sun.”

10. “She smiled with a smile that seemed to hurt her face, cracking it open with old lines that broke up the dry flesh around her mouth and cheeks.”

11. “We had tea. The tea was old. The sugar was old and lumpish. The teacups were dusty, and somehow the tea tasted old and the little dried up cookies tasted of death.”

12. “A huge man with arms like logs and legs tight in his pants.”

13. “…and almost a virgin too, just a few men short of being a virgin.”

14. “…because she was better than dreams.”

15. “The banister was warped and bent, and the grey wall paint was swollen, with puffed places that cracked open when I pushed them with my thumb.”

16. “I couldn’t do that, be with one woman and speak of the wonders of another.”

17. “…and there shall be beauty like the love of some dead girl.”

18. “There was something breathless about the sky, a strange tension.”

19. “I said a prayer but it was dust in my mouth.”

20. “But he’s dying.”… “Who isn’t?”

21. He’s a sissy, Tim,” she said. “All he can do is write poetry.”

22. “Some part of her was betraying some other part, but I could not find it.”

23. “This was the life for a man, to wander and stop and then go on, ever following the white line along the rambling coast, a time to relax at the wheel, light another cigaret, and grope stupidly for the meanings in that perplexing desert sky.”

24. “I could just look out beyond the window and it would come, and merely looking at that room I was restless, and I saw sentence after sentence marching across the page.”

Check back, every now and again, there will be more.

As I burn through more novels and pages from Fante, I will continue to add to this list. So, don’t be a stranger.

By Cole Schafer (but mostly John Fante).