Archive for the 'Beat' Category

Amiri Baraka

October 17, 2006

amiri-baraka.jpg
(1934-) 

Born LeRoi Jones
Born in the industrial city of Newark, New Jersey
After attending Howard University in Washington, D. C., he served in the United States Air Force
In the late fifties, settled in New York’s Greenwich Village where he was a central figure of that bohemian scene
Became nationally prominent in 1964, with the New York production of his Obie Award-winning play, Dutchman
Became a Black Nationalist, moving first to Harlem and then back home to Newark
In the mid-1970s, became a Third World Marxist-Leninist
1999, after teaching for twenty years in the Department of Africana Studies at SUNY-Stony Brook, he retired
Currently he lives with his wife, the poet Amina Baraka, in Newark.

Quotations:

Poems are bullshit unless they are / teeth or trees or lemons piled / on a step. Or black ladies dying / of men leaving nickel hearts / beating them down. Fuck poems / and they are useful, wd they shoot / come at you, love what you are, / breathe like wrestlers, or shudder / strangely after pissing. We want live / words of the hip world live flesh & / coursing blood. Hearts Brains / Souls splintering fire. We want poems / like fists beating niggers out of Jocks / or dagger poems in the slimy bellies / of the owner-jews. Black poems to / smear on girdlemamma mulatto bitches / whose brains are red jelly stuck / between ‘lizabeth taylor’s toes. Stinking / Whores! We want ‘poems that kill.’ / Assassin poems, Poems that shoot / guns. Poems that wrestle cops into alleys / and take their weapons leaving them dead / with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland. Knockoff / poems for dope selling wops or slick halfwhite / politicians Airplane poems. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr / rrrrrrrrrrrr … tuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuhtuh / … rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr … Setting fire and death to / whities ass. Look at the Liberal / Spokesman for the jews clutch his throat / & puke himself into eternity … rrrrrrrrrr / There’s a negroleader pinned to / a bar stool in Sardi’s eyeballs melting / in hot flame. Another negroleader / on the steps of the white house one / kneeling between the sheriff’s thighs / negotiating cooly for his people. / Aggh … stumbles across the room … / Put it on him, poem. Strip him naked / to the world! Another bad poem cracking / steel knuckles in a jewlady’s mouth / Poem scream poison gas on beasts in green berets / Clean out the world for virtue and love, / Let there be no love poems written / until love can exist freely and / cleanly. Let Black People understand / that they are the lovers and the sons / of lovers and warriors and sons / of warriors Are poems & poets & / all the loveliness here in the world
We want a black poem. And a / Black World. / Let the world be a Black Poem / And Let All Black People Speak This Poem / Silently
or LOUD

-Black Art (in whole)

For Malcolm’s eyes, when they broke/ the face fos ome dumb white man, For/ Malcolm’s hands raised to bless us/ all black and strong in his image/ of ourselves. For Malcolm’s words/ fire dars, the victor’s tireless/ thrusts, words hung above the world/ change as it may, he said it, and/ for this he was killed, for waying,/ and feeling, and being/change, all/ collected hot in his heart, For Malcolm’s/ heart raising us above our filthy cities,/ for his stride, and his beat, and his address/ to the grey monsters of the world, For Malcolm’s/ pleas for your dignity, black men, for your life,/ black man, for the filling of your minds/ with righteousness. For all of him dead and/ gone and vanished from us, and all of him which/ clings to our speech black god of our time./ For all of him, and all of yourself, look up,/ black man, quit stuttering and shuffling, look up,/ black man, quit whining and stooping, for all of him,/ For Great Malcolm a prince of the earth, let nothing in us rest/ until we avent ourselves for his death, stupid animals/ that killed him, let us never breathe a pure breath if/ we fail, and whtie men call us faggots till the end of/ the earth.

-A Poem For Black Hearts (in whole)

In the south, sleeping agains/ the drugstore, growling under/ the trucks and stoves, stumbling/ through and over the cluttered eyes/ of early mysterious night. Frowning/ drunk waving moving a hand or lash./ Dancing kneeling reaching out, letting/ a hand rest in shadows. Squatting/ to drink or pee. Stretching to climb/ pulling themselves onto horses near/ where there was sea (the old songs/ lead you to believe). Riding out/ from this town, to another, where/ it is also black. Down a road/ wehre people are asleep. Towards/ the moon or the shadows of houses./ Towards the songs’ pretended sea.

-Legacy (For Blues People) (in whole)

How will it go, crumbling earthquake, towering inferno, juggernaut, volcano, smashup,/ in reality, other than the feverish nearreal fantasy of the capitalist flunky film hacks/ tho they sense its reality breathing a quake inferno scar on their throat even snorts of/ 100% pure cocaine cant cancel the cold cut of impending death to this society. On all the/ screens of america, the joint blows up every hour and a half for two dollars an fifty cents./ They have taken the niggers out to lunch, for a minute, made us partners (nigger charlie) or/ surrogates (boss nigger) for their horror. But just as superafrikan mobutu cannot leopardskinhat his/ way out of responsibility for lumumba’s death, nor even with his incredible billions rockefeller/ cannot even save his pale ho’s titties in the crushing weight of things as they really are./ How will it go, does it reach you, getting up, sitting on the side of the bed, getting ready/ to go to work. Hypnotized by the machine, and the cement floor, the jungle treachery of trying/ to survive with no money in a money world, of making the boss 100,000 for every 200 dollars/ you get, and then having his brother get you for the rent, and if you want to buy the car you/ helped build, your downpayment paid for it, the rest goes to buy his old lady a foam rubber/ rhinestone set of boobies for special occasions when kissinger drunkenly fumbles with/ her blouse, forgetting himself./ If you dont like it, what you gonna do about it. That was the question we asked each other, &/ still right regularly need to ask. You dont like it? Whatcha gonna do, about it??/ The real terror of nature is humanity enraged, the true technicolor spectacle that hollywood/ cant record. They cant even show you how you look when you go to work. or when you come back./ They cant even show you thinking or demanding thenew socialist reality, its the ultimate tidal/ wave. When all over the planet, men and women, with heat in their hands, demand that society/ be planned to include the lives and self determination of all the people ever to live. That is/ the scalding scenario with a cast of just under two billion that they dare not even whisper./ Its called, “We Want It All … The Whole World!”

-A New Reality Is Better Than a New Movie! (in whole)

We’ll worship Jesus/ When jesus do/ Somethin/ When jesus blowup/ the white house/ or blast nixon down/ when jesus turn out congress/ or bust general motors to/ yard bird motors/ jesus we’ll worship jesus/ when jesus get down/ when jesus get out his yellow lincoln/ w/ the built in cross stain glass/ window& bow w/black peoples/ enemies we’ll worship jesus when he get bad enough to at least scare/ somebody

Jesus need to hurt some a our/ enemies, then we’ll check him/ out, all that screaming and hollering/ & wallering and moaning talkin bout/ jesus, jesus, in a red/ check velvet vine + 8 in. heels

we aint gonna worship jesus cause jesus dont exist/ xcept in song and story except in ritual and dance, except in slum stained/ tears or trillion dollar opulence stretching back in history, the history/ of the oppression of the human mind/ we worship the strength in us/ we worship our selves/ we worship the light in us/ we worship the warmth in us/ we worship the world/ we worship the love in us/ we worship our selves/ we worhsip nature/ we worship ouselves/ we worship the life in us, and science, and knowledge, and transformation/ of the visible world/ but we aint gonna worship no jesus/ we aint gonna legitimize the witches and devils and spooks and hobgoblins/  the sensuous lies of the rules to keep us chained to fantasy and illusion/ sing about life, not jesus/ sing about revolution, not no jesus/ stop singing about jesus,/ sing about, creation, our creation, the life of the world and fantastic/ nature how we struggle to transform it, but dont victimize our selves by/ distorting the world/ stop moanin about jesus, stop sweatin and crying and stompin and dyin for jesus/ unless thats the name of the army we building to force the land finally to/ change hands. And lets not call that jesus, get a quick consensus, on that,/ lets damn sure not call that black fire muscle no invisible psychic dungeon/ no gentle vision straight jacket, lets call that peoples army, or wapenduzi or/ simba/ wachanga, but we not gon callit jesus, and not gon worship jesus, throw/ jesus out yr mind. Build the new world out of reality, and new vision/ we come to find out what there is of the world/ to understand what there is here in the world!/ to visualize change, and force it./ we worship revolution

-When We’ll Worship Jesus

Allen Ginsberg

June 16, 2006

ginsberg.gif
(1926-1997)

Irwin Allen Ginsberg
American Beat poet
Influenced by Romanticism, Modernism, jazz, Kagyu Buddhism, Judaism, and homosexuality
Follower of Walt Whitman, brought his homosexuality to the surface
As a gay teenager, Ginsberg began to write letters to The New York Times about political issues

“Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa!”

“I’m a stenographer of my mind. I write down what passes through it, not what goes on around me. I’m a poet.”

Quotations:

I’m addressing you. / Are you going to let your emotional life be run by / Time Magazine? / I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. / I read it every week. / Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner / candystore. / I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library. / It’s always telling me about responsibility.  Buisness- / men are serious.  Movie producers are serious. / Everybody’s serious but me. / It occurs to me that I am America. / I am talking to myself again.

America you don’t really want to go to war. / America it’s them bad Russians. / Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. / And them Russians. / The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power / mad. She wants to take our cars from out our / garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Readers’ / Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. / Him big bureaucracy running our fillingsta-/ tions.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. / Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us / all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious. / America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. / America is this correct? I’d better get right down to the job. / It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes / in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and / psychopathic anyway. / America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

-America

it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked / in electric light the night before I quit, / the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep us together, a temporary shift in space, / God’s only way of building the rickety structure of / Time, / to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our / luggage from place to place / looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity / where the heart was left and farewell tears / began.

-In The Baggage Room At Greyhound

O dear sweet rosy / unattainable desire / …how sad, no way / to change the mad / cultivated asphodel, the / visible reality…
and skin’s appaling / petals- how inspired / to be so lying in the living / room drunk naked / and dreaming, in the absence / of electricity… / over and over eating the low root / of the asphodel, / gray fate…
rolling in generation / on the flowery couch / as on a bank in Arden- / my only rose tonite’s the treat / of my own nudity.

-An Asphodel

In back of the real / railroad yard in San Jose / I wandered desolate / in front of a tank factory / and sat on a bench / near the switchman’s shack.
A flower lay on the hay on / the asphalt highway / -the dread hay flower / I thought- It had a / brittle black stem and / corolla of yellowish dirty / spikes like Jesus’ inchlong / crown, and a soiled / dry center cotton tuft / like a used shaving brush / that’s been lying under the garage for a year.
Yellow, yellow flower, and / flower of industry, / tough spiky ugly flower, / flower nonetheless, / with the form of the great yellow / Rose in your brain! / This is the flower of the World.

-In back of the real (in whole)

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the side streets under trees with a headache self-consious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumberations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! -and  you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely  old grubber, poking among the meats in the  refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who  Killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you  my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

-A Supermarket in California (in whole)
 see Poetry Speaks

Howl (1955)

Noted for relating stories and experiences of his friends and contemporaries, its tumbling hallucinatory style, and the subsequent obscenity trial which it provoked
Dedicated to Carl Solomon, whom Ginsberg met in a mental institution

Quotations:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix

ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and / now you’re really in the total animal soup of / time-

with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered / out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand / years.

Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all!  the / wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! / They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! / carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the / street!

Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland / where you’re matter than I am

I’m with you in Rockland / where the faculties of the skull no longer admit / the worms of the senses

I’m with you in Rockland / where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re / losing the game of the actual pingpong of the / abyss

I’m with you in rockland / where we hug and kiss the United States under / our bedsheets the United States that coughs all / night and won’t let us sleep

I’m with you in Rockland / in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-/ journey on the highway across America in tears / to the door of my cottage in the Western night

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! / Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy!The soul is holy! The skin is holy! / The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand / and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is / holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an / angel!

Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! / bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent / kindness of the soul!

William S. Burroughs

June 2, 2006

William S Burroughs.jpg
(1914-1997)

American novelist, essayist, social critic, spoken word performer
Associated with the Beat generation and authors Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
Most of his work is semi-autobiographical, using the pseudonym William Lee
Saw all his individual writings as one single work
Homosexual, addicted to substances in his earlier life
The accidental murder of his wife largely influenced his writing

“I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would have never become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing.  I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from Control.  So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invador, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a life long struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.”

Junky (1953)

Burroughs’ first published novel
Seminal text on the lifestyle of heroin addicts
Began writing largely at the request of Allen Ginsberg
Distant, dry, laconic tone balanced by honesty of the story
At times, Burroughs examines drug use in a scientific manner (he studied anthropology at Harvard University) but never objectively

Quotations:

“Actually my earliest memories are colored by a fear of nightmares.  I was afraid to be alone, and afraid of the dark, and afraid to go to sleep because of dreams where a supernatural horror seemed always on the point of taking shape.  i was afraid some day the dream would still be there when I woke up.  I recall hearing a maid talk about opium and how smoking opium brings sweet dreams, and I said: ‘I will smoke opium when I grow up.'”

“When you stop growing you start dying.  An addict never stops growing.  Most users periodically kick the habit, which involves shrinking of the organism and replacement of the unk-dependent cells.  A user is in continual state of shrinking and growing in his daily cycle of shot-need for shot completed.”

“I have learned a great deal from using junk: I have seen life measured out in eyedroppers of morphine solution.”

“Of course, I really don’t like men at all sexually.  What I really dig is chicks.  I get a kick out of taking a proud chick and breaking her spirit, making her see she is just an animal.  A chick is never as beautiful after she’s been broken.”

“But a complext pattern of tensions, like the electrical mazes devised by psychologists to unhinge the nervous systems of white rats and ginea pigs, keeps the unhappy pleasure-seekers in a condition of unconsummated alertness.”

“I don’t spot junk neighborhoods by the way they look, but by the feel, somewhat the same process by which a dowser locates hidden water.”

“A room full of fags gives me the horrors.  They jerk around like puppets on invisible strings, galvanized into hideous activity that is the negation of everything living and spontaneous.  The live human being has moved out of these bodies long ago.  But something moved in when the original tenant moved out.  Fags are ventriloquists’ dummies who have moved in and taken over the ventriloquist.  The dummy sits in a queer bar nursing his beer, and uncontrollably yapping out of a rigid doll face.”

“A junkie runs on junk time.  When his junk is cut off, the clock runs down and stops.  All he can do is hang on and wait for nonjunk time to start.  A sick junkie has no escape from external time, no place to go.  He can only wait.”

“People vary in the way junk sickness affects them.  Some suffer mostly from vomiting and diarrhea.  The asthmatic type, with narrow and deep chest, is liable to violent fits of sneezing, watering at eyes and breathing.  In my case, the worst thing is lowering of blood pressure with consequent loss of body liquid, and extreme weakness, as in shock.  It is a feeling as if the life energy has been shut off so that all the cells in the body are suffocating.  As I lay there on the bench, I felt like I was subsiding into a pile of bones.”

“If junk were gone from the earth, there might still be junkies standing around in junk neighborhoods feeling the lack, vague and persistent, a pale ghost of junk sickness.”

“There was something archaic in the stylized movements, a depraved animal grace at once beautiful and repulsive.”

“In Mexico your wishes have a dream power.”

“When you look back over a year on the junk, it seems like no time at all.  Only the periods when you were sick stand out.”

“Junk takes everything and gives nothing but insurance against junk sickness.  Every now and then I took a good look at the deal I was giving myself and decided to take the cure.  When you’re getting plenty of junk, kicking looks easy.”

“But when it came to the process of quitting, I did not have the drive.  It gave me a terrible feeling of helplessness to watch myself break every schedule I set up as though I did not have control over my actions.”

“I had been off junk two months.  When you quit junk, everything seems flat, but you remember the shot schedule, the static horror of junk, your life draining into your arm three times a day.  Every time exactly that much less.”

“…I got a picture of the situation in the U.S.  A state of complete chaos where you never know who is who or where you stand.”

“When you give up junk, you give up a way of life.  I have seen junkies kick and hit the lush and wind up dead in a few years.  Suicide is frequent among ex-junkies.  Why does a junkie quit junk of his own will?  You never know the answer to that question.  No conscious tabulation of the disadvantages and horrors of junk gives you the emotional drive to kick. “

“Kick is seeing things froma  special angle.  Kick is momentary freedom from the claims of the aging, cautious, nagging, frightened flesh.”

Queer (Written-1951 / Published- 1985)

Sequel to Junky, but written in the third person
Lee is very self-conscious, insecure, and driven to pursue ‘Allerton’ a young man he invests heavy emotion in, without much hope of reciprocity
Confessional, less plot driven

Quotations:

“Mexico was basically an Oriental culture that reflected two thousand years of disease and poverty and degradation and stupidity and slavery and brutality and psychic and physical terrorism.  It was sinister and gloomy and chaotic, with the special chaos of a dream.”

“And addict has little regard for his image.  he wears the dirtiest, shabbiest clothes, and feels no need to call attention to himself.  During my period of addiction in Tangiers, I was known as ‘El Hombre Invisible,’ The Invisible Man.  This disintegration of self-image often results in an indiscriminate image hunger.  Billie Holliday said she knew she was off junk when she stopped watching TV.”

“I have constrained myself to escape death… What are you rewriting?  A lifelong preoccupation with Control and Virus.  having gained access the virus uses the host’s energy, blood, flesh and bones to make copies of itself.  Model of dogmatic insistence never never from without was screaming in my ear, ‘YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!'”

“The rudeness of many Americans depressed him, a rudeness based on a solid ignorance of the whole concept of manners, and on the proposition that for social purposes, all people are more or less equal and interchangeable.”

“Lee stood looking after him, then walked over into the park and sat down on a concrete bench that was molded to resemble wood.  blue flowers froma  blossoming tree had fallen on the bench and on the walk in front of it.  lee sat there watching the flowers move along the path in a warm spring wind.  The sky was clouding up for an afternoon shower.  Lee felt lonely and defeated.  ‘I’ll have to look for someone else,’ he thought.  he covered his face with his hands.  He was very tired.”

“Lee tried to achieve a greeting at once friendly and casual, designed to show interest without pushing their short acquaintance.  The result was ghastly.  As Lee stood aside to bow in his dignified oldworld greeting, there emerged instead a leer of naked lust, wrenched in the pain and hate of his deprived body and, in simultaneous double exposure, a sweet child’s smile of liking and trust, shockingly out of time and out of place, mutilated and hopeless.”

“Lee did not enjoy frustration.  The limitations of his desires were like the bars of a cage, like a chain and collar, something he had learned as an animal learns, through days and years of experiencing the snub of the chain, the unyielding bars.  He had never resigned himself, and his eyes looked out through the invisible bars, watchful, alert, waiting for the keeper to forget the door, for the frayed collar, the loosened bar… suffering without despair and without consent.”

“Allerton disliked commitments, and had never been in love or had a close friend.  he was now forced to ask himself: ‘What does he want from me?'”

“A curse.  Been in our family for generations.  The Lees have always been perverts.  I shall never forget the unspeakable horror that froze the lymph in my glands- the lymph glands that is, of course- when the baneful word searched my reeling brain: I was a homosexual.  I thought of the painted, simpering female impersonators I had seen in a Baltimore night club.  Could it be possible that i was one of those subhuman things?… It was a wise old queen- Bobo, we called her- who taught me that I had a duty to live and to bear my burden proudly for all to see, to conquer prejudice and ignorance and hate with knowledge and sincerity and love.  Whenever you are threatened by a hostile presence, you emit a thinck cloud of love like an octopus squirts out ink…”

“‘No one is ever really alone.  You are part of everything alive.’  The difficulty is to convice someone else he is really part of you, so what the hell?  Us parts ought to work together.”

“Even the fish were invested with an air of ineffectual alarm.  The effect was disquieting, as though these androgynous beings were frightened by something behind or to one side of the customers, who were made uneasy by this inferred presence.”

“Scenes from the chaotic, drunken moth passed before his eyes… The faces blended together in a ngihtmare, speaking to him in strange moaning idiot voices that he could not understand at first, and finally could not hear.”

“‘…And when twilight falls on the beautiful old colonial city of Quito and those cool breezes steal down from the Andes, walk out in the fresh of the evening and look over the beautiful senoritas who seat themselves, in colorful native costume, along the wall of the sixteenth-century church that overlooks the main square….’ They fired the guy wrote that.  There are limits, even in a travel folder….”

“‘Think of it: thought control.  Take anyone apart and rebuild to your taste.  Antying about somebody bugs you, you say, ‘Yage! I want that routine took clear out of his mind.’ I could think of a few changes I might make in you, doll.’  He looked at Allerton and licked his lips. ‘You’d be so much nicer after a few alterations…'”

“The city, like all Ecuador, produced a curiously baffling impression.  Lee felt there was something going on here, some undercurrent of life that was hidden from him.”

“What happens when there is no limit?  What is the fate of The Land Where Anything Goes?  Men changing into huge centipedes…centipedes besieging the houses… a man tied to a couch and a centipede ten feet long rearing up over him.  Is this literal?  Did some hideous metamorphosis occur?  What is the meaning of the centipede symbol?”

“He could feel himself in the body of the boy.  Fragmentary memories… the smell of cocoa beans drying in the sun, bamboo tenements, the warm dirty river, the swamps and rubbish heaps on the outskirts of the town.”

“He felt a killing hate for the stupid, ordinary, disapproving people who kept him from doing what he wanted to do.  ‘Someday I am going to have things just like I want,’ he said to himself.  ‘And if any moralizing son of a bitch gives me any static, they will fish him out of the river.'”

“Allerton seemed insubstantial as a phantom; Lee could almost see through him, to the empty phantom bus outside.”

“Many so-called primitives are afraid of cameras.  There is in fact something obscene and sinister about photography, a desire to imprison, to incorporate, a sexual intesity of pursuit.  I walked on and shot some boys-young, alive, unconscious- playing baseball.  they never glanced in my direction.”

Naked Lunch (1959)

Third novel writted by Burroughs, second published
Extremely controversial, banned in many regions of the US, put on trial for obscenity
Draws upon Burroughs’ experiences in America, Mexico, Tangier, and South America
Unmasks mechanisms and processes of control 

Quotations:

“Junk is the ideal product… the ultimate merchandise.  No sales talk necessary.  The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy…. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product.  He does not improve and simplify his merchandise.  He degrades and simplifies the client.  He pays his staff in junk.”

“If civilized countries want to return to Druid Hanging Rites in the Sacred Grove or to drink bloodwith the Aztecs and feed their Gods with blood of human sacrifice, let them see what they actually eat and drink.  Let them see what is on the end of that long newspaper spoon.”

“A functioning police state needs no police.”

“Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk?  His wholeabdomen would move up and down you dig farting out the words.  It was unlike anything I ever heard… Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks and started eating.  He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights.  It would get drunk, too, and when crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed same as any other mouth.  Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear him for blocks screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the asshole said to him: ‘It’s you who will shut up in the end.  Not me.  Because we don’t need you around here any more.  I can talk and eat and shit.'”

“The end result of complete cellular representation is cancer.  Democracy is cancerous, and bureaus are its cancer.  A bureau takes root anywhere in the state, turns malignant like the Narcotic Bureau, and grows and grows, always reproducing more of its own kind, until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised.  Bureaus cannot live without a host, being true parasitic organisms.  (A cooperative on the other hand can live without the state.  That is the road to follow.  The building up of independent units to meet needs of the people who participate in the functioning of the unit.  A bureau operates on opposite principle of inventing needs to justify its existence.)  Bureaucracy is wrong as a cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differation and independent spontaneous action, to the complete parasitism of a virus. (It is thought that the virus is a degeneration from a more complex life form.  It may at one time have been capable of independent life.  Now it has fallen to the borderline between living and dead matter.  It can exhibit living qualities only in a host, by using the life of another- the renunciation of life itself, a falling towards inorganic, inflexible machine, towards dead matter.)  Bureaus die when the structure of the state collapses.  They are as helpless and unfit for independent existences as a displaced tapeworm, or a virus that has killed the host.”

“….You see control can never be means to any practical end…. It can never be a means to anything but more control…. Like junk…”

“(All viruses are deteriorated cells leading a parasitic existence…. They have specific affinity for the Mother Cell; thus deteriorated liver cells seek the home place of hepatitis, etc.  So every species has a Master Virus: Deteriorated Image of that species.)  The broken image of Man moves in minute by minute and cell by cell…. Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.  The Human Virus can now be isolated and treated.”

“Funny, I thought, here I sit with perhaps one chance in a hundred to live out the next 24 hours- I had made up my mind not to surrender and spend the next three or four months in death’s waiting room.  And here I was worryng about a junk score.  But I only had about five shots left, and without junk I would be immobilized…”

“I sat back letting my mind work without pushing it.  Push your mind too hard, and it will fuck up like an overloaded switch-board, or turn on you with sabotage…. And I had no margin for error.  Americans have a special horror of giving up control, of letting things happen in their own way without interference.  They would like to jump down into their stomachs and digest the food and shovel the shit out.”

“There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing… I am a recording instrument…. I do not presume to impose “story” “plot” “continuity.”.. Insofar as I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function…. I am not an entertainer….”

“The Liberal Press and The Press Not So Liberal and The Press Reactionary Scream approval: ‘Above all the myth of other-level experience must be eradicated….’ And speak darkly of certain harsh realities… cows with the aftosa… prophylaxis…. Power groups of the world frantically cut lines of connection…. The Planet drifts to random insect doom…. Thermodynamics has won at a crawl…. Orgone balked at the post…. Christ bled…. Time ran out….”