February 20, 2009

Bill Burroughs

by Randall Rogers

Stark by raving madness
I read what Bill Burroughs
In his first published novel, “Junky”.
At first it was a tonic for my soul
Then a torment, remembering my days
As a junkie
And withdrawal symptoms
The psychological torment the worst
For me
The inability to get
Tentative, half man, shakes -suicidal hangover plus twenty or so
Hot and cold flashes
And an urge for the junk
So bad
And how life was grand again
When the dealer knew my pain
And laughingly came through with fifty dollars worth
For sick insignificant me.

But Burroughs
My initial impression was
That of a ‘going native’
Gonzo and downright bad man mean-spirited weak-willed homo-thief, ethnologist novelist jazz rap writer
Very real in speaking of human weakness; death, is treated, with Burroughs and his characters, without consequence
What he writes about and says, he is very open and uninhibited,
Field worker, with a ‘get to the bottom line’ truth gusto.
And a deviousness
Out of which great
Prose, it seems
And some hard-hitting truths
Appear to often come.
Yet here, with “Junky”
Why such a keen mind
Would focus, so solidly and informatively
And accurately intricately, on the world of junk
And junkies.
I mean, I thought, “shouldn’t this guy be out
Writing great genius prose novels and high art shit?
Rather than describing in gritty detail
The sordid mindset of the under-funded
Smack freak?” Then I guess he went and did just that
With “Naked Lunch”, his supposed masterpiece.
I don’t know, for sure,
If he succeeded..
I just started the book.
Let's all read it again or for the first time
And see for ourselves if Mr. Burroughs truly
Lifted himself out of the ‘true life’ pulps
With his novel masterwork “Naked Lunch”


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