A William S. Burroughs Memorial

William Seward Burroughs
February 5, 1914 - August 2, 1997

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Reader Comments from Monday August 4, 1997

The world's last great author has died; all the citizens of Interzone have fled. El Hombre Invisible has faded away, and I am saddened. William, you have taught me how to truly see. Good-bye.
shannon gramas <plasmabomb@mindspring.com>
bayside, ny u.s.a - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 23:22:53 (EDT)

I Think american counterculture may have died too

Cole Bellamy
Tampa, FL - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 23:21:13 (EDT)

When good old Willy died, I was talking about him on IRC to another longtime fan. He had the coolness of ten men and the charecter of twenty. The world must morn this loss-soon I'll but up a memorial on my page too. He was the grandaddy of them all...

garrett <garrettggg@juno.com>
wdwdwdw, wdwd wdwd - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 23:16:20 (EDT)

The world has become a infinitly less interesting place.

Gorbajef <thoum31@mindspring.com>
Atlanta, GA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 23:16:17 (EDT)

When I heard he had died of a heart attack i just thought
"now thats anticlimactic!" that just doesnt seem his style.
it was the only time that I know of that he really sold out.

Cole bellamy
Tampa, FL usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 23:15:06 (EDT)

Icy vieghns never cried so close to heaven in my Dolorian
Found garbage refuge
fring pan on the side of the railyard leading to all great scores
Comptemplate jazz and all great things
five star memories for fotball heroes turned junky
My god you outlived em' all you ole bastard
raise hell - create god - dream on!

Scott <catw@sprynet.com>
Roanoke , VA Capitalistic Broffel - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:57:39 (EDT)

Listen to his last words anywhere.

Listen to his last words, any world.

Break down in a blue room.

Thus the supply man is gone. Checked out to leave us in this sorrow factory.

Hear me? The demand of supply has been met. The meat cafe shut down. Supply me with a meant word, a meat word gone wrong.

Earlobe wings of an angel fuck.

Into thy hands I commend his spirit.

It is finished.

And we're left here to do the weaping.

Trace Reddell <reddell@ucsu.colorado.edu>
Lafayette, CO 80302 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:53:59 (EDT)

Though I live only a few miles from WSB I never even drove by his house. I have seen the house he was born in and his sidewalk star in St. Louis. But somehow it never seemed appropriate to intentionally seek him out. My wife and I would look for him sometimes in the cat food aisle of a local grocery store or a local downtown bookstore. Cats was the only work of WSB my wife liked. If I would have met him I would have asked if anything ever came of The Revised Boy Scout Manual a fragment of which was published in Rolling Stone many years ago. Does anyone know?

george dugger <geoadugger@aol.com>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:47:39 (EDT)

I can't help feeling that we are now truly on our own.
Who do we have to lead/distract us? And the thought just
crossed my mind--what a perfect time for Old Bull Lee to
weigh anchor? To duck out the side door, leaving us to
stumble over the beginning of the 21st century! A perfect
plan fully realized.
"I've seen you thus far, and you'll now make your own way."
"The monkey is not dead but sleepeth."

John Yarbrough <sluggo@eden.com>
Austin, TX USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:45:00 (EDT)

no other author (except for Ginsber,Kerouac) had an impact on my literary style. Their radical and flamboyant writing showed me the power of the soul to overcome material obstacles. We will always remember you - Allen

mr. Dave <vintagemen>
MIami, Fl U.S.A. - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:41:38 (EDT)

There was a strange man called Bill
Who in his youth could never sit still
But After travelling the world
He declared it to be absurd
Saying, I'm off to Kansas for I've had my fill.

The King is dead, Long live the king.

Emer Martin <emer@worldnet.att.net>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:33:15 (EDT)

"Nigger dick"

those niggers might have something

over the white

but one thing is certain

they don't know how to write

bunghole <holybung@aol.com>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:18:35 (EDT)

bunghole <holybung@aol.com>
USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:18:03 (EDT)

Thanks for the laughs, the words and the jarring of my imagination.

Uncle Bill continues to live on my bookshelf!

A.L. Bernstein <CaptainMacnure@hotmail.com>
Chicago, IL - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 22:02:25 (EDT)

Decadence is humanity. I love the lines from Auden
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.
And now WSB Old Bull Lee you are dead. Legends of youth, no worries mate.

Ron Frew <ron.frew@dhs.vic.gov.au>
Melbourne, Vic Australia - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:58:15 (EDT)

when life such as this ends... sadness is not enough.

an outpouring of words and thought make there way to
the top of my head, all this i cannot restrain...

its time to start again, for him, and for me...

in peace may you rest, great teacher...


michael thomas turner <mturner@audionet.com>
aubrey, tx usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:56:07 (EDT)

Never Rest in Peace, Bill. Speak to us always from the Land of the Dead. Rearrange word and image and thought with invisible hands, eternally. Contaminate our dreams with alien wisdom. Infiltrate Heaven and make the bastards pay. My patron saint, you are erased from the Earth.

cosmon23 <cosmon23@loop.com>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:50:09 (EDT)

I remember W.S. Burroghs in a dream I had: He is there in my childhood room, laying on my bed. I am pleading with him not to die.
He is there covered in latex and not dead. The dream happened several years ago.
I was struck by him through this avenue. Draped in blue electric light, (as if) prophetic, I am taken back there.
Carved in time, and my lazy mind, is William.

Damon Havas <D D Yates@aol.com>
Reno, NV usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:40:20 (EDT)

The great William Burroughs is dead. For me, he
was an innocent man.
Xristos Koulinos

Xristos Koulinos <hfaistos@hol.gr>
Athens, Greece - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:34:38 (EDT)

The Theater Is Closed

MEDIA, PA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:09:16 (EDT)

I saw in the paper on Sunday. I was wondering why they had an article on WSB and had the # 83 next to his name.
I would have loved to have gone shooting with him. A few months ago, I sent a photcopy of Bill Jordan's "No Second Place Winner" Never got a reply. Damn.
Next time I go to the Range, I'll shoot a couple off in his honor. Let 'er rip!

Andy <Alogusz@aol.com>
Dearborn Heights, mi - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:08:16 (EDT)

So long exterminator, Inspector Lee, Bull. See 'ya in Heaven.
I hope you're enjoying the company of Kerouac, Ginsberg and
Cassady (not to mention Kurt Cobain). 'Ya outlived 'em all
didn't 'ya, you old coot.
Oddly enough my two favorite books by him were Junky and
Queer (because I got the entire story the first time). But,
his cut-up stuff is so much fun to read and re-read. He'll
be missed.

Mark Mentzer <mentzerm@bestweb.net>
Yonkers, NY 10707 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:03:01 (EDT)

For William S. Burroughs, whose triumphant battle forged, whose imp of the perverse drove him past madness to visionary clarity:

May his vulcanized renderings of mutagenic chaos as the lifestream operator, remain ever memetic under vectors of wide contagion.

Death needs time for the thing it kills to grow in, for Ah-Pook’s sake.

May his words ever be a Caveat Provocateur of conscious reality, the Confidant of youth summoning change, and a Vergilian guide for those aged enough to take effective action .

May Bast hold your hand as you have tenderly embraced hers.

Yours Reverently Mourned,

EA Press

EA Press <totem@digicron.com>
Los Feliz, CA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 21:01:55 (EDT)

i haven't felt anything like this sense of loss for 20 years.
through your work, i'd like to believe i knew something of
willam burroughs' genius.

phil stoneman
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 20:47:25 (EDT)

Thank you Agent Lee.

Ralph Zeller
Cottage Grove, OR USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 20:34:59 (EDT)

I have a 1st edition Naked Lunch - the original copy published
in France in english by Olympian Press. For Sale best offer.
It was sort of a quest to obtain this copy, the quest is
long over with and I feel that someone else deserves to hold
this powerful copy in thier own hands.

James <jazzsing@swbell.net>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 20:06:25 (EDT)

bye bye Bill, I'm gonna miss you

"We are the cats inside. We are the cats who cannot walk alone,
and for us there is only one place."

"All you cat lovers, remember all the millions of cats
mewling through the world's rooms lay all their hopes and trust
in you..."

Howard Webb <howard@nospam.lasercomp.demon.co.uk>
london, uk - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 20:05:24 (EDT)

W.S.B. Cutt-off the head of my formerself and shat down the neck, for that I will be eternally grateful. Found him via the promo
line on the back of the paperback version of Hunter Thompsons' Fear & Loathing. "Funniest book since Naked Lunch." Hunter started the job and Bill finished me.
Have tried to see what is on my fork ever since.

Seattle, WA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 20:03:22 (EDT)

Brave man get a full head of hair to get the look on the millenium plain. Oh, William's dead. He did'nt write anymore so who the fuck cares.

- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:57:51 (EDT)

this page makes me cry, and appreciate it. R.I.P., W.S.B.

- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:47:51 (EDT)

After a while in university, I came into contact with the goth crowd. It wasn't until a saw Naked Lunch on video one drugged up night, that I really appreciated how some of my fellow goths found life. After everybody else saw it as an excuse for murder, drugs, etc, I understood that people cannot appreciate life without taking a look from an entirely new direction. And how he did. "Smash the control images. Smash the contol machine." My eyes are open.....

Craig Foster <shadows@ois.net.au>
Perth, WA Australia - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:38:47 (EDT)

Oh it saddend me when I heard the news, as well as many who have loved your work.The
mornings idiot box herald even brought deeper hurt and loss I imagine to those
whom you have touched with your love and companionship throughout the years.To me you
were the last bastion of of that courageous journey onto the defiled pink scared uderbelly
that our latter words and organized imagery has tried to hide or make smooth.

A holy man has died a tainted Saint has been a laid to rest.
A desembler and an assembler of truths and lies viewed through a colored glass darkly
revealing what our insect Proctors and priors have and have had in store for us.

Fare Thee Well

leland <scaliwagg@aol.com>
BC R, fl USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:32:06 (EDT)

William S. Burroughs had a great and profound influence upon me I shall miss him.

Jeffrey <JeffreyJg@aol.com>
Milford, CtX USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:21:53 (EDT)

William S. Burroughs first came in my face when
Cabaret Voltaire paid tribute to his cut-up
techniques for playing an important role in
their own recordings. Lateron his beautiful
appearance impressed me: how did he survive
himself? I saw him move for the first time
in Drugstore Cowboy and will cherish that
memory now. At the moment our local radio -
Radio 100 - is emitting a night of cut up
Spoken Word, larded with music from DJ Shadow
to Galas to TG. No drugs around, no friends...
young people call us "frustrated thirty-some-
things"...philosophy is a marketing tool...
Varese is forgotten...Burroughs is dead.

Wales J. Goudens van den Handel <atpn@euronet.nl>
Amsterdam, Netherlands - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:18:37 (EDT)

Through all the decadence in the body of work, i was able to realize what it was to be human, and to recognize the life in others. Now? What comes next? And you left a door to Interzone, a legacy waiting to be colonized. The virus is still loose!

Seamon Fenderson <holland@sonnet.com>
Sonora, CA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 19:13:54 (EDT)

"...for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed: he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cites
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections;
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living."

(W.H. Auden)

The world has been inextricably infected, to its lasting
benefit, with the particular and virulent substrain that
is William Burroughs. Live on and on, old angry beautiful
junky queer priest.

Jesse Davis <sunyata@ix.netcom.com>
New Orleans, LA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:52:07 (EDT)

a very old spiriit in a uniquely frail and powerful form, burroughs is one for the ages. when folks of future centuries look back they will agree that he is the one that cracked the codes of the 20th century. it is indeed ironic that he and ginsberg exited this plane of existence within only weeks of one another, the yin and yang of it all or two spirits/minds/souls so vitally connected that it simply had to be so? i have stolen a great deal from burroughs as will be evident in novel of mine soon to be published-- to have siezed a living tradition from the air? to have read everything of his i could get my hands on. now with kerouac, safe in heaven dead?

jim muhlig <muhlig@mindspring.com>
rougemont, nc orange - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:18:46 (EDT)

What is there to say?
Not much, Burroughs was already there and gone, many times before.
His prints are over everything but there is no way to convict him.
When I was fourteen and read ON THE ROAD for the first time I knew Old Bull Lee and every word he spoke was spoken truthfully and outright.
NAKED LUNCH was just his calling card, where people could pick out what the want and contact the old master.
How fitting to see the new U2 video and the source behind the mysterious light is WSB himself, with him in the final frame (he knew.)
The truth is out there, we're just to blinded by it to see.

I'll light one up for you tonight Billy.


Mark A. Davis <hoosr1@aol.com>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:14:26 (EDT)

The sky opened up today, it rained down tears, shit, cum, death
The bloodstained red roses dead, rotted away on the vine by the chemical water running deep

Those are the first words that came to me when I heard Sun. morning that William S. Burroughs was dead
I thought long and hard about where to go from there but I decided to leave it at that--untitiled, un-thought, un-finished.
There's no way that I can explain the profound impact that the work of W.S.B. had on me. When I stumbled across Naked Lunch I was a twenty-year-old going nowhere in a small conservative town in northern NY. I had never imagined that words could have that power. Indeed, he changed my thinking,and in many ways, my life. Rest still old man

gv davis <idavis@oswego.edu>
oswego, ny usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:11:40 (EDT)

For Ah Pook's Sake

ever if
as long as
and while
the fedora dawns
subtle eyes
suspicious prize;
menacing nose my father crows
hunched over
in search
the agent and the agency
shooting for the fedora's dawn
while his rifle pawn's
a snake
in focus
stumble one more drugstore-

mulysa may <loooopie@rocketmail.com>
san jose, ca 95126 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:04:30 (EDT)

...and he pierced like a giant pin,
fixed me upon the board, spread my wings,
enclosed me in glass, preserved...

justice is not sweet; truth, pleasant.
both are what i felt when the words were done
and the pain had not gone away.

david avery <david.avery@isocor.com>
la, ca usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 18:01:00 (EDT)

I first encountered Burrough's works in adolescence through some books my sister had lying around . This wasn't some cornball book of the month writer ! You can imagine at a young age the explosion of images his writing created .Stream of consciousness writing taps the imagination more powerfully because we can relate to it more directly .My favourite book was a collection of essays on writing and his influences and memories of his upbringing ,'The Adding Machine' .He was a master of conjuring images with phrases like 'saying something lips chapped ' and ' a room haunted by cold coffee'. Reading his books is like going to a movie ,they come alive visually .
I find it difficult to read books which aren't written in this style now ,and that is a mark of his skill and uniqueness for me personally . Hope he rests in peace .He was there like the Lemon Kid !

Kevin Clerkin <kevinc@Lineone.net>
London, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:48:52 (EDT)

He is/was the ultimate quantum father of all muthas, he wrote us all down and out in his old grey web of rancid jissom, he talked that spectral talkback via reel to real, he invented several innaresting kinds of colourful sex arrangements, he taught the English to blow up the Queen and cut up her rubberised fragments, he faced the evil spirit, he ate curious English food and dreamed about it for years afterwards, he unlocked the word-horde and rolled out the holy rock and rolling crowleys, , the priest they called him, he discovered electrical plasma discharges between the words, last week my wife went to work out at the gym, the video was scrolling MTV and THERE WAS BURROUGHS HAUNTING THE HOUSEWIVES I had a dream I head a dream about him in a long mac "seem to have a bit of a local problem here ,son..." He kept busy inventing the century. He was the high priest...

Paul A. Green <Paul.A.Green@qbsaul.demon.co.uk>
Hereford, UK - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:48:07 (EDT)

Thank you for the wonderful works that led to my
favourite film "Naked Lunch"...I suppose you will
never get to read my screenplay for Iron Wrack Dream
called "The City"...perhaps Peter Weller can once again
keep you alive in another wonderful portrayal...

sich schneiden
Benjamin Kapps

Benjamin Kapps <c650432@showme.missouri.edu>
Columbia, MO usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:35:07 (EDT)

Fare thee well, OH Dear Bill Burroughs. May you be comforted by the companion ship of cats and Johnsons. Guide us through this odd and trying time. What a fast get away ! Teach us from where ever you are - find freedom and peace - send directions. To you with love and gratitude from an old student.

A. Hemenway <siriusb@pipeline.com>
NYC, NY USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:29:14 (EDT)

strange how time is delayed for the dead..... I was thinking about picking up some burroughs earlier today (still hadn't heard) ...why, I don't know, because I typically don't read him casually. casualty provides me w/ a reason now. before I could pick up the book - the Retreat Diaries - I heard it on the radio. thinking he wants to tell me something, obviously. "Playboy of the Western World, guitar is I love you. Words are made from breath. Your breath. Words need you. You do not need words. Breath from maid are words. Words are what is not. Knot is what are words. Words knot are what is? What not words? OUR is? What knot is? Our words? What words knot our is? What? Not our words? Is? What is knot our words? Our words is not what?" --WSB, Retreat Diaries they're droppin' like flies these days. I liked living in the knowing the old man was still there....but what are words now? R.I.P.

dr. quizzy <djkst42+@pitt.edu>
p-town, pa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:24:22 (EDT)

I won't go on blithering about how much Bill or his work meant to me. I'll simply say, the last time I felt a lot like this is when I heard of Philip K. Dick's demise.

Thanks for the writings Bill.

JJ Dobson.

JJ Dobson <railhead@brunnet.net>
Canada - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:24:19 (EDT)

all gone.

g loose <loose@cafe.co.uk>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:18:46 (EDT)

23 heartbeats
23 tears
In the invisible morning
Y tú no?

Gerardo Plasencia <plasencia@bitmailer.net>
Madrid, Spain - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:18:15 (EDT)

To Uncle Bill,
I have to admit that when I first heard of you and your work, I thought "What an old freak you are", but I would later hear you audio works and read some of your books. You were still an old freak in my eyes, but then again, who remembers the people who are normal? How would you now look upon this eulogy of sorts being pasted across this page? It is, of course, in your honour, but I wonder who many of these "mourners" felt it necessary to quote your thoughts to show they knew you...
Your wit and works will be missed.

jon black <desertwest@carlsbad.nm.com>
carlsbad, nm usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:13:47 (EDT)

'Life is very dangerous and few survive it...' You said it, Bill. Rgds j

jon courtenay grimwood <jon@hardcopy.cityscape.co.uk>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:10:47 (EDT)

There would be no future without William S Burroughs.
All of the advances in technology and politics for the last
40 years have been infected by his vision.
Rewind the biological film.

You will be missed.

Bill Blackbrain <Blackbrain@Mahagonny.com>
Seattle, Wa USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 17:02:50 (EDT)

Thank You Mr. Bill
For All.

Roberto Di Egidio <juniorHD@webzone.it>
Pescara, Italia - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:47:45 (EDT)

I don't really know what to say. On one hand I'm upset, yes; that's hardly avoidable --
but on another hand "whoremonger death" has to come to everyone, and there's the idea that
now you're not suffering. And I'm glad for that. I consider myself fundamtentally changed
for the better for having known you (through your work -- never in person; although whether
meeting you would've been a Good Thing or not is something to be debated) and wish you the

You're still on. Language is a virus.

-- adr

adr <jbfink@ogre.lib.muohio.edu>
oxford, oh 45056 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:39:53 (EDT)

"We are in over your head."


Todd P. Karman <TKarman913@aol.com>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:34:02 (EDT)

i stumbled upon the burroughs web pages after endevouring to find out about ginsberg, but after a few minutes reading burroughs' old interviews, i became convinced that he should have won the respect that ginsberg and kerouac achieved. i myself am an (unpublished) poet, and though that is hardly surprising at seventeen, burroughs tought me that my verse does not have to subscribe to byron-esque patterns and use worsworth - style vocabulary to succeed, perhaps the most valuable lesson i will learn. i wish he were here.

any teenaged burroughs-philes, please mail me, i would like to learn more.

ns bowes

ns bowes <poetmartyr@aol.com>
UK - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:21:53 (EDT)

Each sentence contained paragraphs of information.

Jeffrey J. Wagg <jjwagg@aol.com>
Reston, VA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:17:49 (EDT)

I wrote the first French language essay on William S.
> Burroughs. Its title was "A la recherche d'un corps,
> langage et silence dans l'oeuvre de William S. Burroughs".
> It was published in 1979, in Paris, by Editions du Seuil.
> I first met Burroughs in 1978, through Brion Gysin, while
> he gave a reading of his works at Centre Beaubourg.
> We then decided to have dinner in the neighbourhood. The
> first words I heard from him were:
> - Do you know a good Chinese restaurant, less than 23
> Francs?
> Knowing the meaning of number 23 in his works and
> remebering the "Chinese laundry at Sioux Falls" in Naked
> Lunch, it was as if I were suddenly INSIDE a Burroughs
> novel.
> The death of William is certainly a sad thing, not only
> because the greatest writer of the second half of this
> century went back to "Time's white terminal", but also
> because his death is clearly the end of an era, literary
> and cultural. Burroughs was, in a certain way, a man of
> the 19th Century, and a pionneer of the Space Age, a human
> being who was already living in the future.
> I, personnaly, shall miss him more than I can express.
> Serge B. Grunberg

Serge Grunberg <serge.grunberg@wanadoo.fr>
Paris, France - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 16:01:48 (EDT)

Static reality has again lost another legendary dynamic entity.

Matthew Forbes
Founder of the Free Thinkers Association

Matthew Forbes <nytwind@worldnet.att.net>
Roanoke, VA US - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:44:36 (EDT)

"Language is a virus" And viruses are alive.

- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:40:12 (EDT)

- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:38:58 (EDT)

burroughs meant a lot to me. we share a birthday.i've read him for nearly all my adult life and yet the only thing that keeps nagging away in my mind is who's letting the cats out?

kevin molony <molony@worldscope.co.uk>
ventnor, iow uk - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:37:13 (EDT)

I remember when my dad gave me "On the Road"
Sixteen years old - London
he told me that it wasn't fiction
and that the characters all represented real people
people live like this?
Who's this guy Old Bull Lee?
Always pictured him lookin like Paul Bunyon.
Naked Lunch, Junkie....
he didn't look like Paul Bunyon,
but like the priest at sunday school,
or my grand paps.
Enjoy the rest old Bull,
because you got to be tired.

kyle mckenna <kym@escape.com>
NYC, NY us - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:28:12 (EDT)

...I thought he was going to outlive me. Coarse, cold, black patterns that have been buried for thousands of years are now forced to the surface - pictures so dark that they depict the emptiness outside. The last seer is dead. The last great writer is dead. The world is left to spin to it´s extinction without him. He will be missed as a good, straightforward man whose work and example helped a lot of honest people... I do hope he makes it to the western lands. …
"...he went, unterrified, Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite Yet reigns o’er earth..." (Shelley) Andreas Lundberg, Sweden.

Andreas Lundberg
Sweden - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 15:06:23 (EDT)

August 2, Saturday night...friends and I are listening to Tom Waits' "The Black Rider"...Burroughs is singing, "T' 'ain't no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones"
...we are ignorant of the sad news, but an eerie coincidence nonetheless. May Burroughs be dancing naked with the dead in his beloved Mexico.

C. Harter <charter@bluemarble.net>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:58:28 (EDT)

I stare at blank white form cursor flashing regurgitating memories of junk and dirty sheets in flames and bullet holes and bill lee vomiting prose like d.t. sweats and heroin withdrawal as we viewed his side of the universe. so long, old man. when you get where you are going, have a drink with allen and jack, and laugh at us fools trying to follow in your footsteps.

Kevin Crone -- Calliope's Breath <horus@arn.net>
Amarillo, TX USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:56:11 (EDT)

...nothing here now but the recordings...


I can't really add much that hasn't already been said, and said much more eloquently than I could ever put it (I gave up trying to be a writer years ago; some people got it & some don't - I don't). Suffice to say that Mr. Burroughs' work has had a very profound influence on my life from an early age. Anyway...

I dj at the one of the few non-country/xtian/top-40 radio stations in middle Tennessee. I have to spread the Virus.
I've got at least three hours (as many as eight, if I can stay awake that long) I can fill with recordings & readings in memory of his passing. Any suggestions?

I don't want to do a typical "here's a few songs, here's a few factoids, let's read a little from his books" style show. That just wouldn't seem right, somehow. ANY ideas, pointers, thoughts on what YOU would do (or want to hear) would be appreciated. It would probably be best to email me (& I'll post what happens next week), since cluttering this site up with dj babble would be inappropriate, I think.

The show is on WRVU, Nashville, 91.1fm; it's called 91 Noise & we run from 10pm Saturday until ???, if anyone wants to tune us in.

Two days after hearing the news & I'm still depressed.
R.I.P., Uncle Bill.

jonnyx <jonnyx@edge.net>
Nashville, TN USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:44:02 (EDT)

"Writing to Space." This was one of Burroughs ideas that fascinated me; among other equally important ones. But Burroughs idea of preparing us for a consciousness-in-space, or a being- in-the-world where space travel, intergalatic politics and congress with alien beings are realities - this is fantastic and large.

In this regard Burroughs intersects with another thinker, as he often will do considering Burroughs' excellent mind and honesty. The thinker I have in mind is someone who also dreamt of our future in space, and also died recently. Carl Sagan knew there was much we must undergo before we'd be ready for space consciousness. And these two men have done much to prepare us for our entering a space community, in ways that I would hope don't fall prey to a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wonder who else will be among them, forward thinkers and different because not participating in the accepted morality (God-belief for Sagan); and yet decent people with honesty, responsibility and care.

Thank you.

David Frost <frost@interport.net>
New York, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:30:22 (EDT)

Thank you William...so much. I feel that the world is at a great loss now and I worry constantly about who we will all look to. We need visionaries. But this is all another story. I see myself as a visonary. I have looked to your work for guidance many a time when the "word" simply couldn't express my ramblings. My conciousness, I have found to be incommunicable in all but stream-of-conciosness-style. So many things I could say... But basically the only thing that will mean anything to me in the end, is the comfort I've found in reading your work. I long to meet someone whose work will make me feel as accepted in this world as yours did. I have struggled with life in this world so much simply because others couldn't understand. Now I find I can stop struggling. The belief that "language is a virus" keeps me hanging on. Rest.

Meghan L. <beatlemeg@aol.com>
Shelbyville, KY USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:20:50 (EDT)

I've never read or heard of a man so addicted to honesty, however crookedly he'd play it.
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted"
Even death.

Gary <Gary.Leeming@ukonline.co.uk>
Leeds, UK - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:18:45 (EDT)

Old Bull Lee staring at his shoe. The quintessential junkie.
Soon he'll be on the cover of a High Times special tribute
issue then he'll be invisible again forever.
They're going fast these legends of my youth and there's
nobody to take their place.

- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:13:49 (EDT)

I justed wanted to thank WSB for giving others, by his example,
the courage to be themselves. Bill was always honest & open
& though he might have been 83 yrs. old he had the heart & mind
of young man who never stopped learning & exploring.
Bill, you will be missed. Hope you are happy where you are.

Marc Romano <marcob@paonline>
Ephrata, PA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 14:10:06 (EDT)

I am writing for my mother who was a huge fan of William Burroughs. She is very saddened by the loss of such a great man. I don't know if this is the best area to ask, but maybe someone will see this comment and be able to direct it to someone who can help. My mother wanted to know if all of William Burroughs cats had homes to go to since his death.
She would be honored to care for one of his cats if they need homes. Please let me know. My email address is create4you@

Leah Edwards <create4you@aol.com>
Belleview, FL USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:42:51 (EDT)

My reaction to Burroughs' work varied from indifference to amazement, but when it was good, it was very good. I know of no other author who could draw such a complete picture for me with only a few sentences. I have often picked up "The Western Lands" and started reading at a random page.
Very visual, very tactile, Burroughs appeals to my senses; rather than telling me what is happening, he makes me feel (and more often than not, taste and smell) what is happening. If for no other reason, Burroughs will be remembered for showing us that there are no rules when it comes to storytelling.

Nothing is forbidden.

Hank Lawler <hank@house-of-moy.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:33:19 (EDT)

Thank you Mr. Bill:
Your words let me feel what I cannot understand
They freed my mind so that I can see

May you find Peace in the eternal wheel

Gainesville, FL USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:30:27 (EDT)

"son cosas la vida"
"fuckin' croaker wouldn't give me a goofaball"
"soak it in heroin doc, and I'll suck it"

Bill. Mr. Lee. Doc Benway. Not gone. Just not here.
You've been there already, now you just can't come back. I'm sad. I'm sorry. I'm not surprised. You had a good at bat. Now it's up to us. Number 23 tatooed on my back.

Stephen Pocock <greville@wavenet.com>
Venice, CA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:29:02 (EDT)

burroughs in one hundred years will be read by everyone.

how then to describe 1997?

three heroes gone:
my father Don Young
Allen Ginsberg
William S. Burroughs

met Allen in '93 and again in '94 at Naropa. talked with him about Burroughs. burroughs writing seems to enter deeply in the subconsciousness of anyone who reads it.
i find myself quoting burroughs more than any other writer. getting to the core of the human experience, burroughs always illuminates. intense and compassionate, emotion shimmering under the naked truth. bold, uncompromising.
wish i could find more words.
thank you William

Sean D. Young <syoung@dsw.com>
salt lake city, ut - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:17:12 (EDT)

Death needs time, like a junkie needs junk, but you canıt deny it in the end.
Thanks to Ah Pook for giving Bill as much time as he did.
Enjoy your next journey

Dave Broom <davebroom@dial.pop.pipex.com>
Brighton, UK - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 13:08:01 (EDT)

This note is written intentionally with hyperlinks to appreciate Mr. William S. Burroughs' legacy.

August 4, 1997

Monday, 04:35 a.m.

Los Angeles(http://log04.nswses.navy.mil/la_area.htm), coming from the street, feeling like a bladerunner (http://www.indranet.com/potpourri/bladerunner/bladerunner.html),
open my Internet line, my anti-hero (http://www.firehorse.com/outlaws/wsb/) is dead.


Homage to Burroughs

Williams S. Burroughs (http://www.firehorse.com/outlaws/wsb/img/buroughs.gif) was a man of great feeling and even greater courage. His work (http://www.primenet.com/~dirtman/wsb.htm) was his life. He lived then, as we will do today, among brute people who would literally destroy us physically and spiritually for the unforgivable sin of thinking new ideas. Despite this vulnerability, he wrote about the truth of himself with painful honesty, and the strength of his art protected him and freed others. I salute his courage and thank him for the gift of his life.


[Open word processor . ..]

Do You Want Me To Type A Memo?

And now I sit here hopeless,

a single night of pleasure or one of its radiant mornings.

While at the end of the café

head bent over the table, an old man sits alone,

a newspaper in front of him.

And in the miserable banality of old age and electronics,


he thinks how Discretion fooled him.

He asked me about the quality of the poor-side streets

of our world, (http://caster.ssw.upenn.edu/~restes/isw/chapter24.html)

his voice choking.

Almost silence by desire, his voice harshed.

He turned eighty-three six months before,

he idled his way down the main street.

My love could not protect him.

But we who serve Art, (http://www.charm.net/~brooklyn/LitKicks.html)

sadly shut away in a sumptuous mausoleum,


that he'll come back again, that the weather be good.

Do you still want me to type a memo?

[. . . close word processor]

Ruben A. McDavid
Copyright1997. All Rights Reserved.

(cut and paste in a word processor such as notepad,
save it as homage.txt and see it in a HTML browser.)

Ruben A. McDavid <yanomami@earthlink.net>
Los Angeles, CA US - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:43:05 (EDT)

Burroughs was a challenge to me and it was not until I was a mature person that I could appreciate the political satire and sarcasm. With him goes the last of the truly seminal Beat group (with a nod to Snyder and McClure, of course).
I wish he had given more lectures, I have one from Naropa that is so funny that I fall out of my chair everytime I listen to it.
He was a very strong, abd complicated individual, stonger and more complicated than many who tried to emulate him, and failed.

Jill Kelly-Moore <kellymoo@sonoma.edu>
Santa Rosa, CA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:37:00 (EDT)

"Wrinkled earlobes are a sign of impending heart attacks"


I formed a bizarre connection with the man. He was the spitting image of my father. The same voice, attitude, candid truthfulness. It was after the death of my father that I learned of the work of Mr. Burroughs--from radio. A local college station was playing his spoken-word excerpts daily. I was so intrigued by that voice, that I sampled every piece of tape, film or multimedia he'd ever recorded on.
His passing away means the loss of another important presence in this world.

Carl Boyd <cboyd@msn.com>
Pittsburgh, PA usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:35:04 (EDT)

Can't believe this. Now the last one of them (Kerouac, Ginsberg) has gone. I just finished reading 'Naked Lunch' for the second time and thought "Unbelieveable, this guy is still alive" when I catched the news on TV. It's hitting me hard but instead of crying I'll start with 'Nova Express' this evening.

Sebastian <sebastian.nestler@rwth-aachen.de>
Würselen, D Germany - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:17:47 (EDT)

To say i feel sad, would truly be a lie and since i didnt know wsb, I shant didresepect him. Too many things are known and that is what confuses me. What passes for a hero these days? Did the man become a junkie then write about it or did he decide to write about that and then became a junkie. The man killed his wife. He tried to shoot a shot glass off her head for chrits sake. Ladies is this the man for you or you daughter to look up too. Manson also was a writer.

john <loopy@ aol>
atlanta, ga - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:12:23 (EDT)

Deep condolence to his physical expiration. But what he has taught us is the attainment of immortality beyond such human limitation. Words are virus, and the words of Bill Buroughs have finally become free from a man. His transmigration to the cyber has been finally achived. St. Burroughs, rebellious American man of words, I, amongst thousands of his followers thank you for the world you have intiated us into.

Shuhei Higashi <foe4foe@ix.netcom.com>
Los Alamos, Uranus - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:08:46 (EDT)

All day Saturday I felt disjointed and out of sorts. An Alien in my own skin. I didn't know why. Sunday, I re-arranged my room; I needed a change. I felt a need for a new beginning. I didn't know why. Today, driving to work, I caught a bare snippet of NPR, just as I was inserting a CD. I KNEW they were talking about WSB, and I KNEW he was dead. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. This guy was one of my first important hero's. The world was a better, wierder place, knowing he was shuffling around on it. Where are all the new visionaries coming from? Who will plant the new mind bombs? Time, gentlemen. Time.

Joel <joel@sii.com>
Sacramento, ca usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:06:17 (EDT)

WSB made many a person think, cry, laugh, write, love and live.

i can only hope he died feeling like he was able to do all those things.

-stark- <stark@23x.com>
hamden, ct 06514 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 12:05:25 (EDT)

i cried for my loss, not bill's...hopefully he's past the first checkpoint!

i was hoping NPR would have an end of the hour tribute...
they did.

it was nice.

silence is the only thing better after that!!!

fred hodshon

fred hodshon <fhodshon@deltanet.com>
orange, ca usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:53:48 (EDT)

Yesterday afternoon I was lying in bed reading Victor Brockis' A Report from the Bunker. I had not heard of Burroughs' death. Last night while painting in my studio with friends we talked for some time about his life and work. We still had not heard. One of my friends sitting with me was a student of mine from the past year. In a senior level art history class at a local private high school I suggested he read Naked Lunch. He went out and picked up a copy, began reading it. His parents picked it up asked where he had gotten it. They confiscated the book and later I was dismissed from teaching the class. He and I have become what I feel will surely be livelong friends. It's interesting what a little oppression, a little censorship can do. Burroughs' work, how he worked ("all the make-do. all the know-how"), what he stood for, changed my life. I'm forever greatful.

rhet lickliter <rlickliter@dow.com>
indpls, IN us of a - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:53:10 (EDT)

Recently, during a visit to Paris I missed a visit to 9 Rue Git Le Coeur due to illness.
Initially disappointed, I was reassured that William S. Burroughs was still walking on this planet, still growling the truth at anyone fortunate enough to have his company.
Yesterday, my day was turned upside down by the news of his death.

Another hero gone. The truest individual on the planet.
I never knew him but he was, and still is, a guide and inspiration.

Goodbye Bill and thank you. Your absence is felt.

"There is no place else to go
The theater is closed

Cut word lines
Cut music lines
Smash the control images
Smash the control machine."

Ian Taylor <imt@cs.nott.ac.uk>
Nottingham, England - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:28:39 (EDT)

I am no longer sure where the upstarts and ass-kickers of future generations will get their start.

Whether he liked it or not, he was an American, probably more "American" than anyone since Whitman and Sandburg and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Men of paradox, men of conflicts, men in the cracks and crevices and eventually stepping into the light to show the way.

At an age when others of his age were senile, dead or talking about golf, he cut a great festering swath through this culture and incited an infection of free speech, free sex and freedom to plant your foot firmly up the ass of convention.

Bill, save me a seat on the bench, all right? And gimme one of them pickled eggs.

The Turtle <turtle@nospam.fred.net>
Knoxville, MD USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:21:00 (EDT)

Oh it saddend me when I heard the news, as well as many who have loved your work.The mornings idiot box herald even brought deeper hurt and loss I imagine to those
whom you have touched with your love and companionship throughout the years.To me you were the last bastion of of that courageous journey onto the defiled pink scared uderbelly that our latter words and organized imagery has tried to hide or make smooth.

A holy man has died a tainted Saint has been a laid to rest.
A desembler and an assembler of truths and lies viewed through a colored glass darkly revealing what our insect Proctors and priors have and have had in store for us.

Fare Thee Well

Leland Miyamoto

leland <leland@internetmedia.com>
Boca Raton, Fl US - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:18:23 (EDT)

Bill was very important and still is. To ignore his work is to ignore life's potential.

Mr. Gil <gil@l0pht.com>
Boston, MA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 11:12:27 (EDT)

isn't it ironic?
sniff and write and shoot a lifetime and then die at 83 from a heart attack?
isn't that what we all want?
isn't that what we all can't?
william s.b. has my deepest sympathies from above to underground.

Yves van der Fraenen <yvdfraen@allserv.rug.ac.be>
Ghent, Belgium - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:43:08 (EDT)

Some things make your throat close up
and make you wish that the sky would go black
and stay that way
even when they have not one thing to do
with the rigamarole of your everyday
shit slinging life.
One of our fathers has died,
one of the first of the avatars of those
who know
the way things are winding up.
I wish the world had been kinder to him.
Too much light and genius for this time and place, I guess.
I hope you're having that last laugh, Mr. Burroughs.

Ecco <ecco@osiris.com>
Charleston, SC US of A - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:40:27 (EDT)


FARMINGTON HILLS, MI U.S.A. - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:35:30 (EDT)

don't remember how I found the page, but I submitted one of the early comments and now just want to add a suggestion since I see you've added links. You may
want to add one to the Sunday Lawrence Journal-World if that can be done (I'm severely web-impaired/chal-
lenged so I have no idea), as it contains some fairly recent additional info that I haven't seen in other
news sources.

Linda g
dallas, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:33:27 (EDT)

So here I am living not twenty minutes from the man all these years and never did nothing. What a horrible year. Ginsburg, Leary, now Burroughs. The American nightmare still stumbles forward and churches and jails spring up like weeds. thanks for everything

John Collins <jcollins@nccsinc.com>
olathe, ks USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:23:20 (EDT)

his works showed many things that i couldn't see. R.I.P.

hirai <hirai@bb.mbn.or.jp>
tokyo, japan - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:21:15 (EDT)

"goddamn bunch of sissies, can't you stop your snivelling
for one minute, did you think i would live forever"

looks like he hit the eternal vein

albuquerque, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:15:17 (EDT)

This time I get to do the shooting!

yes, no any - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:05:09 (EDT)

uncle bill! we hardly knew ye. we're here to go!

suzi <dr_suzi@msn.com>
pittsburgh, pa usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 10:01:31 (EDT)

The paranoid insomniac's paranoid insomniac ...
The Johnson's Johnson ...
Minded Own Business, and advocated same ...
I'm still paranoid, and they're still following me ...
Goodnight, Sparky ...
Sayonara, Kemosabe ...

Mary Fortuna <MFort81687@aol.com>
Royal Oak, MI USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:59:03 (EDT)

:( OH, No, Mr. Bill! ):

Life was static.
Do not mourn his passing.
Rejoice in his life, in his works.
Ol' lee ain't gone.
-just skipped town.

Jaye Asagacious <EJA.KSC@usa.net>
Terra Firma, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:41:16 (EDT)

P.S. from Doug Dobey:
As you all know, Burroughs was fascinated by and collected
last words from famous people. Please e-mail me anyone,
if you read/hear his last words.

Doug Dobey <DougD@RichMag.com>
Richmond, VA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:41:13 (EDT)

:( OH, No, Mr. Bill! ):

Life was static.
Do not mourn his passing.
Rejoice in his life, in his works.
Ol' lee ain't gone.
-just skipped town.

Jaye Asagacious <EJA.KSC@usa.net>
Terra Firma, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:40:21 (EDT)

Iım sitting in my backyard with my wife and two dogs, feet
in a $4 wading pool, re-reading the first couple of chapters
of The Western Lands (the hierarchy of souls, and their
functions and order of abandonment upon the death of their
vessel), and I think to myself, ³You know, Iım gonna write
that goddam letter to Burroughs this week².
For years Iıve been telling myself that I should write a
letter to Burroughs, to tell him how much his writings have
meant to a relatively Œnormal citizenı, not some lit student,
avante-garde artist, or Œbeautiful loserı.
Anyway, that was yesterday (Sunday, Aug 3) afternoon, and
I found out yesterday evening that he was dead.
William S. Burroughs is dead.
A letter left unwritten.
Good luck on the journey through the Western Lands.

Doug Dobey <DougD@RichMag.com>
Richmond, VA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:31:33 (EDT)

I taught Naked Lunch to a group of blue haired ladies and green slacks, plaid jacket, golf course men, at Suffolk Community College. I thought I'd hear a lot of tsk-tsks, but I was interested in the book and I hoped they would be. And they were. They loved it, laughing out loud and shaking their heads and maybe going to confession afterwards, but Burroughs got to them. The golf links and beauty parlors of Long Island are forever changed because of Burroughs.

Tim Tomlinson <TTomlin421@aol.com>
NYC, NYNY US - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:31:13 (EDT)

I always thought "Words of Advice for Young People" should have been included in the teaching curriculum in every high school. Maybe the youth of today could have learned something from it.

Burroughs spoke what he felt, and made the world seem like a cynic's heaven. Even in his spoken voice, you could tell he was a cynic. And he was a good man because of it.

I admire Burroughs for his longevity. Unlike other poetic prophets of our time (musical as well as poetic), he stood the test of time, and didn't succumb to an early death to achieve legendary status.

G'bye, Bill. Hope you find your piece of heaven, as twisted and sick as it may be ...

Douglas Levy <hidprod@earthlink.net>
Chicago, IL U.S. - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:30:54 (EDT)


Joe McNally <fortean3@NOSPAM.easynet.co.uk>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:12:01 (EDT)

A genuine Burroughs dream I had about 2 years ago:
I find myself in the afterlife, sitting in an armchair
opposite the old man, who is wearing an overcoat,
fedora etc. He is fiddling with an old 70s tape recorder,
playing static. He is staring inscrutably ahead.
I'm very surprised to find him there, and a little nervous,
so I cough and say, "What are you doing here?"
He keeps the icy glare and merely replies,
"Well, what are YOU doing here, Sparky?"
So I have to leave.

Michael Brett <michael.brett@ucl.ac.uk>
London, UK - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 09:01:46 (EDT)

No end
I don't know if anyone know you in Belgium but I want to express all my sadness to everybody who love you.
I hope one day all the others will realize how genius and sensitive you are.
I will continue to speak about you the all world.
Thank you and see you...

Alain Leduc <leduc@cotrase.be>
Brussels, Belgium - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 08:53:16 (EDT)

Ehh.... avrei potuto sriverlo in una lingua più adatta, come l'inglese. Ma non basterebbe comunque a descrivere a chi in questo momento sta leggendo, il vuoto e il malessere che ho provato.

Thanx W. Burroughs

bologna italy
14,39 04/08/97

maurizio Tz mele <mtzmele@tin.it>
bologna, italy - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 08:46:25 (EDT)

Nadal glaçat,
nadal ardent
d'un flamareig
que el llop no enten.

Firmen: Hot-Soô Ret-Sel, Earthenware Jug and 35 more signatures

Hot-Soô Ret-Sel
Barcelona, Spain - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 07:54:46 (EDT)

Death needs time for what it kills to grow in, for Ah Pook's sake.
Goodbye Bill.

London, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 07:41:25 (EDT)

I cried when I heard the news -
Now all my poet-heros are gone.

Thank you, Old Bull...you shall not be forgotten.

nate woods
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 06:40:13 (EDT)


alas he is no more
and Martin Amis is a bore
and Will Self is a media whore
and my head is a bit sore
from wandering drunk across a golf course
where someone forgot to shout fore
ah life
what a chore
what a chore!

Kevin Williamson <KevWilliamson@compuserve.com.uk>
Edinburgh, Scotland - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 06:25:18 (EDT)

Burroughs' cut-up method met the needs of those gifted with Multiple Attentions Capacity (MAC).
Reading his work is like listening to several conversations at the same time ...... or watching four televisions at once ....... or walking, chewing gum, watching for muggers, counting pocket change in the pocket, dodging dogshit, etc ....... or scanning the morning paper, sipping coffee and fiddling with the radio while hurtling through Malibu on PCH towards work in L.A.
It's no accident that he was pals with Neal Cassidy, who would talk on four levels at once, and would flip the dial from station to station while viewing.
One significance of Burroughs' work is that in the future textbooks will not cover one subject, but several. Students will read a book similar to Naked Lunch, or The Ticket That Exploded, and simultaneously be educated in engineering, jurisprudence, medicine, politics, psychology, sociology, etc.
This will not only lead to faster reading, but also to intense cross-disciplinarian education.
Movies and video are killing books, and The Burroughs Method is the only way that the same hyper-inundation of sensory input can be met in print.
Bravo, Bill.

Tom Kasper <geeorbee@aol.com>
San Luis Obispo, CA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:54:47 (EDT)

After Ginsberg; Ol' Bull Lee was one one the last anti-heroes. One of the last living legends. Life may not always be pretty, but is always real and in your face and there comes a time when every man must be enlightened to exactly what is on the end of his fork.

james spangler <jps0014@jove.acs.unt.edu>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:46:42 (EDT)

I first read WSB when riding in a cramped car
driving from Arkansas home to Florida on an ill-fated road trip; it was the Naked Lunch. Colliding with the violence and darkness screaming through my mind on those pitch black country backroads, inexorably stretching into the midnight in me and around me I felt its random virulence and its chaos still bouncing in me for days afterwards.

A selection which always keeps me smiling:

"Someday I am going to have things just the way I want, and anyone who gives me any static is going to get fished out of the river."

His visions of excessive technology and archaic viscera always fascinate me, lingering like the smell of
rectal mucuous ! :) (C)

"...'Johnny 23' would simply make friends of everyone ...
'Johnny 23' was one hundred percent fatal ...
fortunately the epidemic was well advanced by that time
and 'Johnny 23' finished the job ..."

the doctor's silent blessing falls on silent cities from sea to shining sea ...

drop me a line, maybe we can in(re)flect !

WSB, Timothy Leary, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, all gone, and so recently too - it's time to forget an old empire and build a living republic, fiends.

f00-3840 (armin) {revolver evolution} <armin@stardust.oau.org>
0r1@nD0, F1111 01011101110101100100111010011011011101010101101010 10001101100100010001010111110101011001101010100101 01111110011101011010101010100011111010101110100101 01010010001101000001010010101010101111111001011001 10101001010101010010000101111011101011110101000010 100100010011110010101010100100100100001001 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:41:04 (EDT)

I started this memorial page about 24 hours ago, shortly after hearing the news, when I realized from emails that there was a need for an appropriate place to vent, share stories and acknowledge what Uncle Bill meant to so many of us.

To me, seeing so many stories of how Burroughs inspired so many, especially young minds, and seeing the active and creative minds of folks posting here, I think it's apparent that Burroughs somehow was a catalyst, via his own observations, follies and explorations, in opening doors for many.

In that sense it seems he's still with us and will be for a long time. The stories of the people he's impacted are to me as interesting as some of his own. I'm moved to see so many people with so much to say, having turned this page into an anthology of short stories overnight. Thanks to all for interacting, and to Bill for offering us a chance to share what he meant to us.

- Mal

Mal <mal@emf.net>
Berkeley, - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:21:47 (EDT)

I always thought of WSB as too tenacious an old bugger to go
like that, I just assumed he'd live forever. Being human
used to mean being part of a race that numbered WSB as one
of its members. I guess we'll have to redefine a few things
I hope you reach the Western Lands Bill. It's a long shot
but a million to one is good odds in biological terms.

Nick Redding <n.redding@ibm.net>
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:12:30 (EDT)

A powerful skeleton key has slipped from our grasp. But oh,
the doors he opened.Saturday night before I settled down for
dreaming I lit a candle to help light his journey. I woke to
find the candle still burning, welcoming the dawn.

That's how he came to me. Towards his end, still burning
bright, I welcomed the apocalyptic dawn he painted with pages
and print.

His life-long war with the Ugly Spirit is over. He is
released of duty. Thankyou for sharing your battle with us.
Thankyou for telling us what it takes to survive, but more
importantly what it means. Thankyou for your new and elusive
weapons of defense, and attack.

Control remains. The Ugly Spirit walks among us, searching
for faces to call home. We must not let the candle blow out.
We must build a pire and send a signal. Bring on your words,
bring on your beauty, bring on your soul and feed the flames
which will burn a new voice into our wired-world. Wired for
audio, video, and the new world-disorder.

But, remember ol' Bull Lee's words:

" I know some agent is out there in the darkness looking
for me. Because all agents defect and all Resistors
sell out."

The time has come to cut new keys.

Thankyou for the cutter, Bill.

Christopher Kuckenbaker <thinman@sirius.com>
SF, CA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:11:15 (EDT)

read burroughs when i was 16
ive met 3 to6 people in my life who ever heard of him

really a kerouac fan but ive never met anyone
whos heard of him
i'm sad
and im drunk to but heres a joke

ive never met anyone whos gerald heard of any of you

denis <dentureboy@prodigy.net>
ny USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 05:06:16 (EDT)

I was planning a trip to meet the great Beat Godfather when the
news of his death reached my stunned ears. All day I felt shocked
as we have one of the greatest losses of our century and to the
Beat community. I discovered Naked Lunch when I was fourteen
and fell in love with it. I later learned about Burrough's other
friends, Ginsberg and Kerrouac who also had works. Indeed, the
Beat Generation had a profound impact on the way we look at
literature and music. Most do not realize the importance of the
Beats throughout our culture. They do not know that artists
like Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, the Beatles were heavily influenced
by this unique group. They couldn't identify Burrough's walking
down the street.

Its funny how most people who win prestigous book awards will
be quickly forgotten but those writing in the underground or
left in obscurity are the ones who will be remembered and create
an impact on literature or other places.

Somelike Grisham will be forgotten after time but Burrough's will
be remembered for his personal experiences with junk and surrealness
of his writings. He's brought out who he is and is not afraid to
tell us.

At 19, not whole lot of us know or remember Burrough nor the rest
of the Beats. It's important that we know about them and pass
on what they've left for us.

So goodbye Uncle Bill, I'll miss you dearly and I would have loved
to meet you and pay homage to you. But find happiness in the
afterlife as you are reunited with the ones you love: Ginsberg,
Kerrouac and your wife who has forgiven you. Thanks for all you have

PS- I found the page on alt.books.beatgeneration

Daeha Ko <dko@u.washington.edu>
Seattle, WA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 04:30:26 (EDT)

This morning, I was devestated by an article in the paper announcing that my favorite writer, William S. Burroughs, died yesterday. At 6:50 p.m. in Lawrence Kansas, at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital, about 24 hours after suffering a heart attack, Uncle Bill departed from our world.

Burroughs was a huge artistic inspiration to me, so I've decided to construct a tribute to him, in honor of his life, his art, his being, and his death which has brought me extreme pain. I don't mean "tribute" in the sense that I want to put together some lame Burroughs web page, I want to get people to send me artwork, photography, writings, gather some of his best works, important sound bytes, photos of him, and whatever else I can get together to honor him which I will eventually be turning into a B&W pamphlet/zine featuring everything I am sent and a lot of my own work as well.

I'm looking for original art (especially 3 or 4 good portraits of him), photography (of and pertaining to him), writings relating to him, personal correspondences with him, stories of personal experiences with him, original films pertaining to him, or anything else that you think may fit.

I am also looking for copies of films relating to him (any films he was in, films he made, films he contributed to, films based on him or his works, documentaries about him, interviews with him, public appearances by him, etc.), prints or copies of his artwork, or anything else that would otherwise be hard to come by.

If you're interested in contributing, please email me at neo_messiah@hotmail.com with the subject of: "WSB Tribute".
And check out my online tribute, in construction.

May the memory of Uncle Bill remain in our hearts and minds
for all eternity.


neo-messiah <neo_messiah@hotmail.com>
xxx, xx USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 03:03:28 (EDT)

first got turned on to Bill via Laurie Anderson..(language is a virus) sorry to see him go...surprised he lasted this long....its getting slim with Bill, Allen,and Jerry gone...

d pearson <Pear 601>
- Monday, August 04, 1997 at 02:54:38 (EDT)

I stumbled upon Naked Lunch when I was fourteen years old. 1966. The content of the book hardly mattered. It was the force of the feeling that it conveyed. What I got from Burroughs was the example of his unabashed individuality and his capacity to live it. There are ever decreasing numbers of individual self-created human beings in the world. We all live in too much fear. I think that it is time that we take a look around. How much freedom are we willing to reliquish before we learn the art of self-rule?
Burroughs was more than an influence on me. He is an integral part of the reason that I continue to write.

Marsha Faizi <SHAHEENA@prodigy.net>
Buchanan, VA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 02:13:37 (EDT)

Expletives don't do it justice.

I never met wsb. My actual impressions "of the man" have come from the books, the recordings, the photos, the art show, interviews. You get the picture.

But there was more to it than that. When I was in my early twenties (somewhere around 74-76), I was living with friends in West Newbury, Mass., in a beautiful, white converted farmhouse. It had been broken up into two apartments. On our side, we were three college kids. Two dames and me. And those were the days my friend, and those were the days my friend...

In the other apartment lived Harvey Brown. At the time, he was about the age I am now, 45, so he became something of a teacher/father/mentor. He was a beatjunkypoetmusician living across town from his wife and kids. And WHAT a man. Always kind and quiet and patient with us. Since two of us were English majors (the other was a student nurse), he took an interest. Harvey must have been horrified. Yeah, we knew a little about Ginzburg, a touch of Kerouak, but mostly my "reading" consisted of Kesey and Hunter Thompson. Well, no, I had read Ulysses, Nin, Henry Miller. A few things. Cindy, the other English major was strong in Stein, Munro, Dickinson. We had pretty much missed the 50s.

Within a few weeks, we were reading Black Sparrow Press. Corso, Ferlinghetti, Big Ed, Bukowski (he sent Charles right into my hand...called him the "Old Beerfart.") And Charles Olson, "our" Marblehead maestro.

I dunno if I found Naked Lunch at Harvey's or if Cindy had a copy or what. But it was the first edition of the paperback, and I remember a lurid cover, something like a half-dressed dame sitting on a hard backed chair and crying. Anyway, I had been reading it a little for a week or so when I overheard Harvey talking to Cindy about it in the other room. Then he said that it really wasn't something yopu could "read," at least not the first time. He said that you had to "hear" it to understand the pacing, the rhythm. So, he picked it up and read us the first five pages.

It was absolutely electrifying. Blonde, junky, surfer/cigarette voiced Harvey Brown didn't read it like I had been "reading" it. He performed, he sang, he said it all TO US, personally, as people who just had to know before went took one more breath or walked another step in life. He became Henry Lee, maybe because of having lived through so much of it, or maybe he had heard wsb or someone else read it. Who knows? Harvey was not a big one for filling in the details.

The book was never the same after that. Nor was I. I used to take lsd and read the heavy metal books: soft machine, nova express, the ticket that exploded. Everything I could get. I found out that my best friend from high school was also a major wsb fan. we bought red at the same time in hardcover. i was not disappointed. and then the last words of dutch schultz.

I spent a lot of my life before (and some since) reading burroughs, feeling like the rube at a carny. I just didn't realize it or know what to call it. Since then, I have tried to understand what it means to be a "mark," and how to deal with the biggest con of all, the one from within.

wsb's words will run through me forever. I am always ammazed when I read him and so many of what I think of as "my phrases" are there. not shakespeare nor the bible for me.

god knows where harvey is. now bill is gone. Allen, too. So soon. When Allen died, I thought "at least burroughs is still..." Well, that's that.

What can we do but talk to each other and write?

Thanks, bill. Somehow, your fear made you the bravest of the brave. Give my regards to Jane. I don't mean that in a mean way. I have no doubt that he loved her. and that that one moment freed him somehow. as if the worst thing had already happened, so what the hell? why not write, why not admit everything, why not just lay it out? and while I'm at it, thanks Jack, you drunken, mother-livin', Lowell canuck bastard. you just wouldn't let up because you KNEW it was in there.

and what, exactly, IS that on the end of your fork, Mr. Lee?

THE Jim Gallagher <ackme@pobox.com>
san diego, ca IZ - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 02:07:12 (EDT)

Agent Lee has now been officially taken out of service.

Agent Lee is to be reposted in my head as chief adviser along with agents Nico and Kerouac...

Goodbye bill

pure love

from andrew

Andrew Scott <andrew1@ihug.co.nz>
Auckland, New Zealand - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 02:04:34 (EDT)

all those who should be here to speak on william's behalf are no longer here.

i could not believe that he had died, or that i could not believe it.

an invisible ghost in finality, now.

now relegated to serious study, perhaps: sadly, that academia only gathers it's guts when the guts of others have spilled. a fear of anything not finite, or verifiable with a phone call.

well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Earle Wheeler <earle@dnet.net>
Cullowhee, NC 28723 - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 01:06:42 (EDT)

Uncle Bill literally expanded my mind the way a drug should.
Thanks for making me able to see more and see it better, Uncle Bill...
You're firmly ensconced on my list of all-time heroes...


Terry Hulsey <purpleeye@usa.net>
GA USA - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 01:00:16 (EDT)

Cardiac arrest goddamit!

When I caught the end of a news report covering his death, I was met with nothing short of astonishment. I guess, I had figured that he just wasn't human.

Scott C. Woodruff <ElNomada@msn.com>
Linville, NC - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 00:56:27 (EDT)

When my best friend called me at 6:30 or so to tell me the bad news, I didn't believe him. I was shocked. I admired Burroughs for his new way of thinking. I love the scratchy sound of his voice. I admire him because he has seen and experienced so much. I decided that in memory of this man, I will read every one of his books. Anyone have another way to mourn him? Any ideas? We will miss Uncle Bill. He has contributed so much. ~ Matt

matt <CamkjT@juno.com>
Williamsburg, Ma usa - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 00:29:28 (EDT)

the news came in email, that the body's full of holes and it's time to move on. objectively true, sure, but still hurts like a monthold spike tearing through the thin membrane which separates everyday life & another more dangerous more entrancing place. where burroughs lived. where the centipedes crawled & sickness burned with the intensity of noon in sangre de christo (will christ NEVER get tired of bleeding?! the Voice echoes ringing through this mind) it's not too much to state that wsb saved my life, that his works came and spoke to me when i was in bad places, doing bad things, and suggested that there was a scrap of meaning above the daily rituals, the ablutions of score & cook & shoot. that the Johnsons indeed deserved respect & the other ones were probably incorrigible. cut word lines, cut music lines. the theatre is closed. hope it's all you expected, bill. i'll see you later, over on the other shore.

--eric sorenson

Eric Sorenson <eric@satanic.org>
Campbell, cali us ov amerikkka - Monday, August 04, 1997 at 00:02:09 (EDT)

read more comments, from Sunday August 3, 1997

Back to the Burroughs Files Memorial page

This Burroughs memorial project is brought to you via Malcolm Humes & The Burroughs Files, hosted by Hyperreal and Sunsite UNC.

This Burroughs memorial project is brought to you via Malcolm Humes & The Burroughs Files, hosted by Hyperreal and Sunsite UNC.