A William S. Burroughs Memorial

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

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Reader Comments from Sunday August 3, 1997

The significance of Wm. S. Burroughs is that he embodied America in the 20th century. Now that he is gone, we are living in afteramerica. Peace.

Eddie Johnston <edi@iah.com>
Houston, TX - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 23:57:58 (EDT)

I was first introduced to William S. Burroughs about ten years ago when I stumbled across the album "You're The Guy I Want to Share My Money with," which also featured Laurie Anderson and John Giorno. I blew alot of minds with that record, I seemed to be the first person I knew who had ever heard of him. I patiently read Naked Lunch twice and appreciated the fact that it was not an easy read.

The thing I enjoyed the most about him was his sense of humor, and the fact that he was a consummate storyteller, artist, and eternal iconoclast. Few Americans stand out as he (note: present tense) does.

He is greatly missed.

Mark Johnson <markj@tstonramp.com>
Ontario, CA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 23:54:16 (EDT)

It has been a sad year, with Timothy, Allen, and now William passing.
I'm only 29, and really am too young to have experienced these three except towards the end of their lives, but they have made a very significant indelible mark on my life. I always admired their personal strength, creativity, and individuality. I guess I try to approach life with some of their thoughts to form my experiences and perspectives.
I now wish I would have taken a trip out to Lawrence last summer when I was in Kansas City (about 45 mins. away), and perhaps call on WSB if nothing else just to say Hi. We'll all miss you, William.

Pascal Calarco <pcalarco@connix.com>
New Haven, CT USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 23:50:34 (EDT)

When Wild Bill saddled up and rode out of town Saturday evening , he took a great many other folks with him. Inspector Lee, Kim Carsons, El Hombre Invisible, Meester Weeli and all the rest posse'd out alongside him.
Now, I'm not much for Eulogizin' but I would like to offer my gratitude to Bill for his attempts to "wise up the marks" and for teaching us something about being a Johnson in the process.
Besides being a great and dedicated writer, he was a mythmaker, dreammapper, painter, shootist, man of knowledge and intrepid explorer of psychic space.He was also the archetypal punk and the hippest guy around, and most all of us (post) moderns owe him an a sizable debt.
So, adios Bill, and thanks for everything. I trust your reassignment will be fruitful.

"You cannot estimate the damage..."

R.K. Gentry <TWOKAI@prodigy.net>
Arcata, Ca USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 23:47:58 (EDT)

I feel this death to be shocking and very final. His work and readings reached inside my soul and provided a tactile sense for thought and speech that I had never experienced before. It established a new frame of reference through which I could better understand most works of art.

It is strange, but I feel that we have all been finally, completely severed from a period of great art and music.
With the losses of Ginsberg, Leary, and now Burroughs, a whole model of "underground"--progressive art and science--has been cut from us. Never to be reborn. I feel that most of our greatest thinkers are gone, and their ideals can never be truly acheived, now.


M. Cornelis van der Weele IV <vanderwm@esuvm1.emporia.edu>
Emporia, KS USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:54:16 (EDT)

Try as I might I could not grok what WSB was doing when I tried to read his work. And then a chance happening when an enlightened friend played the Giorno Poetry Sysytems LP containing WSB reading his Dinosaurs routine. When I heard that voice, its inflection injecting meaning into the text, I got it. Ever since that experience I have been hooked on WSB's writings and recordings. His prose is groundbreaking and his voice is music. Long live the art of WSB.

Allan J. Cronin <francesgerard@msn.com>
Chicago, IL United States - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:50:28 (EDT)

Although it seemed he would live forever, we knew he could not.
Then why this feeling of shock and sudden loss?
Is it all the icons we have lost these last couple of years?
Leary? Ginsberg? Now Burroughs.

If there is a Heaven I'm sure he is there, if only because he filed the definitive reports from Hell years ago.

I'm convinced I would be a very different person had he never lived & written.

No words: The wraithlike spectre of his person and prose form the pattern of my personality like the pinstripes of his suit.


Chuck Wills <cwills@interport.net>
New York, NY USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:44:28 (EDT)

This world is a better place because of the works of this great man. I am just just happy that he was with us for as long as he was.

Peter Bong <peterbong@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:35:58 (EDT)

The work and writings of WSB confronted and challenged my previously-held narrow-world view when I first started to read him as a Post-grad political science student. His surreal and subversive books opened up a new way of thinking for me, encouraging me to question all that is conservative, all that seeks to repress creativity and imagination , and all that seeks to maintain and abuse power. It is a bit of a shock to learn of his death, although it is not really a surprise, given his age and his long life of battling drugs. I always thought of him as being an almost immortal, wizened wizard, who was able to endure the most ravaging excesses. But, death must come to all, as it must, and it finally has caught up to "Unca Bill" as I liked to refer to him. While I had no real desire to replicate or imitate his life - shooting your wife and heroin addiction holds no great appeal for me - just reading his books and listening to his CDs - with that awesome, low, gravelly voice - gave me an insight into another world, expanding my conscioussness, "changing my head", freaking me out.
Vale, Unca Bill, your inspiration will live on.

Craig Mark <z2203019@pop3.student.unsw.edu.au>
Sydney, NSW Australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:30:22 (EDT)

BACK IN THE 60'S I discovered William Burroughs along with Ginsberg and Keroauc and became a fan of them all. I found the article on the front page of AOL where it told of Williams untimely or better yet, unfortunate death. My interest developed further due to my brothers friendship with Bill thus creating a closer link. Recently I was fortunate enough to have received a personally autographed copy of Junkie as a get well gift from Bill which my dear brother got for me upon his last visit with Bill in June. My heart is saddend at Bills death and know he will be greatly missed yet loved by many for as long as humanity exists.
Thank you for allowing me to sign this book and state my praise....I Miss You Bill.....

D.T. Jaffe <ZOOMIED@AOL.com>
Great Neck, NY USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:22:31 (EDT)

William S. Burroughs was truly a literary giant whose influence will be felt for generations to come. The cutup method that Burroughs developed with Brion Gysin has provided many artists a new objective through which to develop their literary perspective. The first cutup I ever read of his from The Third Mind blew me away...I'm sure that many participating in this tribute feel the same way about the sum of his writing. He had so much courage, and it was this fearlessness that made his art shine in a world of homogenized, pop-culture conformity.

To help develop the use of the cutup method and electronic text randomization, cybeRhyme, the literature section of Switch Magazine in Montreal (http://www.switchmag.com/rhyme/, houses the realitymachine cutup machine, developed by Eric Nyberg of Carnegie Mellon University. We hope that writers and fans of Burroughs' work will check out our experimental cutup section and use it.

Thank you again, William S. Burroughs. Rest in Peace.

Russell Harrison
Editor, cybeRhyme
Switch Magazine
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Russell Harrison <stain@earthling.net>
Verdun, QC Canada - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:22:25 (EDT)

I first saw bill burroughs at the 'Final Solution' academy at Heaven, London in 1983. the tired old man mounts the steps to the podium clutching his plastic shopping bag of notes. Clears his croaky throat and at once silences a hall full of punks and psycho trash with random snippets of his writing. No one person has changed my life as much as him. Bon voyage WSB.

jon S harding <jonh@om.com.au>
mullumbimby, nsw australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:13:29 (EDT)

Thank you for the opportunity to say goodbye to WSB. I found this page in a random search of burroughs related material and it seems I've found the right place. There is a sense of loss but little sorrow in the pasing of WSB; he gave us more years and more wisdom than we could have hoped. we remember Bill with a smile washed with tears. To all the johnsons everywhere: mind your own business and let your business be that of the mind.

don saverese <dsaver@waveinter.com>
E.Lebanon, ME USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:12:04 (EDT)

As he had once said, he was possessed by demons from the day he killed Joan. He must have exorcised them by now.

I wrote one thing before i heard the news from the room next door;

"One can only exist below what is known".

Emily Voyde <emily@netwit.net.au>
Orange, NNSW Australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:08:46 (EDT)

My friend Varna brought me a copy of Naked Lunch in the summer of 1965. "wildest thing since Candy -man just read the page 90 rim job". It was wild, but,unlike Varna I turned back to page one and the way I viewed literature was forever changed for the better. I'm a big tough guy but the news brought a tear to my eye. We're going to miss you Will.

YelloDog11 <YelloDog11@aol.com>
Fort Worth, TxTxTxTx...t - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:02:17 (EDT)

don saverese
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 22:00:29 (EDT)

He wrote the only book that ever made me cry (Western Lands). I got to the end and lost it. I've been somewhat afraid to pick it up again, although none of the other books have had a similar effect.

Barry Stock <sstock@athens.net>
Athens, GA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:58:57 (EDT)

Goodbye, Bill

Thank you, from the fifteen-year-old boy who read your books all those years ago. Thank you from the people I have become since then, and for all the ways in which you have changed my life.

And thank you, above all, for telling the truth. You were a light to the world in your generation, and may there be a seat of honour for you in the world that is to come.

Thank you, and farewell.

Robert Firth <robertjf@iss.nus.sg>
Singapore - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:44:24 (EDT)

I heard the news of Bill's passing while on a music video shoot, and although we had to get on with the job somehow we ended up with probably more gun and drug references than will be allowed on kiddy hour music television. I had just re-read the Ted Egan bio, closing the book on Friday ...

shelley roye <sroye@cybergal.com>
Sydney, NSW Australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:39:01 (EDT)

Adios to you who taught me the meaning of the word maricon I went to a halloween party as yr dead wife the final jolt that anyone will ever recieve from you is simply yr peaceful passing which will shock and hurt the people that your writing meant so much to i guess that i am left to yr voice on the keroac tribute cd talking about the old west...adios

Gordon Mansum <nyews@hotmail.com>
Burlington, Vt US of A - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:34:38 (EDT)

The first book of William Burroughs I read was Junky. I wasn't familiar with his work. The only thing that I saw was Naked Lunch. A friend of mine and I, who is no longer here today, got high and went to an "arty" theatre and thought we were cool for seeing this surreal experience of William Burroughs. I could'nt follow the picture but I had an enjoyable time and was inspired to follow up on his work. I read Junky and fell in love with his words, his use of language and the fact that he was able to be a part of my life along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. It is a shame that we all grow old and die. But with men like Burroughs and countless others, inspiration will continue to breed and fester into the minds of those looking. Thank You Mr. Burroughs.

Paul Mascarenas <crystal@ria.net>
La Junta, Co usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:31:21 (EDT)

Well; Bill Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and many others in this game, are gone . I have a special place for Bill Burroughs' writing and his wild - chance, gifted, dramatic and sometimes magical-tragical life of lives. He damm well took life and lived it, every word was paid for with sweat; I salute this fine "advanced scout". The english phase "a one off" certainly applies here. There ain't never gonna be another you - Bill.
Lets make sure the writing and the - high cirrus cloud vapour trails - left by Bill and all these so called "beats" are not snuffed out by the techno - bioverbal engineers who wait in anticipation to tell us , just exactly what the hell so and so meant! The gift has been left by a tree, in a deserted spot, somewhere in a place someone called the "Western Lands". Perhaps some lost soul will pick up this gift and understand its value, I have no doubt they will. Thanks to James G. and all those who I never knew, for all the help and dedication. Jake

Jake Steele <dreams@globalserve.net>
Toronto, - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:28:01 (EDT)

For some reason, I thought that junk would somewoh preseve your tissue, make you plastic and forever. Didn't you feel that way at one time? But perhaps it just made you look older sooner. Hell, seeing your picture, you looked more like 150, than 83. But now you don't look like anything, I guess. Just a mound of dirt, or is it an urn of ashes? Either way, you saw a hell of a lot, and you could not have left your body without a great deal of wieght, experiance, emotion. I hope you've found your jungle paradise with young native boys masturbating languidly under the trees and enough Yage to last eternity. Maybe where you are you won't have to deal with finding anymore cures. Anyway, thank you for your inspiration, and for your books, and for being a notorious fag before sitcom dike's were "in". May you rest in peace, and may your spirit continue to make young men cum and twist in thier Naked Lunch dreams.

Patrick A. Coleman <ophiel@aol.com>
Ashland, OR - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:24:13 (EDT)

I'm real happy I got to see WSB enjoy an hommage show I put together for him in Montreal 1989. Possibly, Huncke and Wsb saw each other there for the last time too. I can't begin to fathom the influence he's had upon me. I had a vivid dream about him just last week. I would like to thank Ira Silverberg for making it possible for me to meet the man back in '84.

"We never know how much we learn from those who never return" - Burroughs

Alan Lord <osende@istar.ca>
Toronto, Canada - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:21:43 (EDT)

Paul Mascarenas <crystal@ria.net>
La Junta, Co - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:20:55 (EDT)

I met Bill when he started shooting at the gun club where I was president. Our friendship of some 15 years grew out of our common love of guns and shooting, as well as literature and experiences in Africa and Europe. He was what one would call a gentleman of the old school, and was unfailingly gracious and free with his time. I could call, then drop by to visit at practically any time, and was always made to feel welcome. I think I became a part of a sort of extended family of people who loved him. His death takes from us all a marvelously powerful mind, and leaves a hole in our lives.

Alan Cunningham <acunnin706@aol.com>
Shawnee, KS - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 21:08:53 (EDT)

First Huncke, then Ginsberg, now Burroughs. Huncke never got too far off the streets despite a literary carrer that, until his death, many of us never knew about. Ginsberg, deservedly, entered the American literary pantheon despite a life's work that wouldn't play too well in Greater Utah, USA. Burroughs never really got the respect of those who make the survey-course syllabi, but at least he got the Nike ad, along with all the dubious perks that come with being a Living American Countercultural Icon. I wonder if he enjoyed the irony.

But hey, who cares about that? He was brilliant. He was a bastard at times. He wormed his way into my skull as few writers ever have, After getting over the shock of recognition, I haven't always been happy about that, but I have always been grateful. The real visionaries are usually the ones who piss us off a little bit.

So, as Giorno (?) said: you've got to burn to shine. And as Huncke said, on first meeting Burroughs: man, this guy is heat.

mahavishnu jim <mahu@iname.com>
Mystic, CT USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:56:41 (EDT)

I was introduced to Bill a few years ago through my father. I was ten then, and had never heard of him before then. We visited him a few times after that, but not very often. This past year tho', I saw him about once a week, when we'd go shooting out at our friend Fred Aldrich's. Occasionally, he'd shoot up some shirts and sign them, but most of the time, we'd just shoot targets and metal spinners. He was a good shot even though he was old and quite frail, while I'm don't aim very well even tho' I'm pretty young. I never read any of his books, but I read a couple pages of My Education, and the first chapter of Ghost of a Chance. He was a good man and a genius. After we shot a few rounds, we'd go inside and have drinks and a snack or two, and I'd sit and listen while everyone else would discuss and debate the problems of the world. I saw him just last Tuesday in realitivly good health and condition. We went out and shot some then went inside and he signed the Bullet Hole shirt I was wearing. We were supposed to go shooting again on Wednesday, but I guess that's not going to happen now.

Farewell, Bill- you will be missed, especially by us who knew him well.

Ivan Cunningham <drowraver@aol.com>
Shawnee, KS - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:50:48 (EDT)

william s. burroughs was an individual who, through his writing, allowed me to begin to really think for myself and recognize whole new worlds which existed beyond my realm of knowledge. over the past 8 or 9 years, burroughs' writing has made me laugh, think, brood, and cry; his death is that of the first major iconic figure in my life, which is difficult in all rights. it is the passing of an age, the closing of a time.

when i met allen ginsberg a few years ago, the one question i wanted to ask him was simply 'what is burroughs like?' his response was a twenty-minute long dissertation on the mysterious man we've come to know through books such as queer, junky, and naked lunch. it seemed to me then, at the age of 13, that ginsberg, though probably closer to burroughs than anyone else through the past 30 or 40 years, was as eluded by the enigma of burroughs as any of us common readers. that only led me to be more intrigued by burroughs.

i thank burroughs for what he provided me with, and what i hope he will provide my children with when they read his books. i am only sorry that i was never able to meet the man.

kate peterson.

kate peterson <skp5254@oberlin.edu / UFOrb@aol.com>
st. louis, mo USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:37:41 (EDT)

I first read Naked Lunch as a profoundly closted teenager. I guess it was an illicit thrill. Now, that I'm out and proud, I realise the old man has taught me the importance of being queeeerrr....the importance of being yourself. The importance of experimentation and discovery.

His immortality will spring from his role as the diseased and dangerous antithesis of the safe Doris Day and apple pie kitsch-culture of Ike’s disinfected 50s America.

But for queers, he should serve as a role model of untameable individuality which remained rampant despite the prevelance of a deadening culture of clones.

Eros and Thanatos. Sex and Death.

Bill, I trust your reincarnation will be an interesting one (and hopefully less Kafakaesque than the last).

Id <spankid@powerup.com.au>
Brisbane, Qld Australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:10:53 (EDT)

Farvel, El Hombre Invisible.

..A circle of thirteen apes clothed in the kind of attire seen in nineteen twenties America. Ragged bowler hats and canes, bow ties now faded and shabby with the accumulated years of wear and tear, old beat ducktailed tuxedos pockmarked with cigarette burnt holes, pockets stuffed with browning bananas and bottles of cheap bourbon whiskey.
The warm flicker on the orange haired and wisened faces of these ancient primates was not caused by the dance of hot flames but an antique Atari 2600 game console which rested on an iron cylinder decorated with scatterings of rich red rust. One of the apes, a head taller in stature than the other twelve, was quietly manovering the joystick while his companions looked on, all watching the screen with ageless, chilled azure blue eyes.....

To quote the most immortal of bards,

"I have blown a hole in time with a firecracker. Let others step through...A few may get through the gate in time. Like Spain, I am bound to the past""

Cities of the Red Night

David Larsen <larsend@xtra.co.nz>
Wellington, New Zealand - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:10:52 (EDT)

I'm too young to know so much about william burroughs.
I know him from his work with laurie anderson, and because he was a friend of allen ginsbergh.
but I'm really sad that he is gone.
I will miss him.
I'm really shocked because the best are away now.
we have to go to the next millenium without them.
I feel a deep sadness.


Matthias Breitenbach <Matthias_Breitenbachmagicvillage.de>
Hamburg, Germany - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:10:21 (EDT)

Let he who lived the most die at last.
Thanks Bill...

- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 20:09:10 (EDT)

Read the man's works! There is no greater eulogy.

'Word begets Image and Image is Virus.'

Did Burroughs affect me?

I once wrote a tune called 'Uncle Bill' while playing bass in a band named 'Junk Sick Dawn' and we took it on the road from Seattle to San Diego.

It was in Seattle that we saw the streets lined with used condoms and orange peels.

The time was 3AM.

I regret that I could never play that song for Burroughs...

'word falling, photo falling'

...now I'll shut-up and read all his stuff again.

James Feathers <feathers@ricochet.net>
Santa Cruz, CA USofA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 19:29:40 (EDT)

"When I become death, death is the seed
from which I grow"

"Death needs time for what it kills to
grow in"

"Nobody owns life, but anyone who can
lift a frying pan owns death"

Jeff Isbell

Jeff Isbell <terapin@eagle.ais.net>
Naperville, Il USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 19:00:00 (EDT)

When I first started to get into W.S.B., it didn't eat me up.
I was not yet psychologically adicted. My mind was still intact.
After Naked Lunch, though, everything changed... slowly
and surely my senses soon ceased to exist and everything
around me was pure high emotion. Everything spun in a web
of disillusionment, and my mind worked like the mirror
of a metamorphosized cockroach. I truly wish the same for all,
to live and breathe in the rich scent of literature... this
being the highest honour of all, and the loss of one of my
patron saints is a huge dent in the body of my mind and
the depth of my heart. I hope
and pray that his literature will remain immortal, as his
soul will soar high in all our minds forever and ever and

Z <Squee@ibm.net>
SF, CA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 18:51:47 (EDT)

If he were here, he would kill us all.
If I could, I would cry.
I hope he has gone to a much better place, but I doubt it very highly.

R. Brandt <elev8mind@aol.com>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 18:27:32 (EDT)

Seeing the news in the NY Post and NY TIMES, the feeling of "Oh, no." Loss of Beat icons (avatars of existencialistas)

I met WSB at NYU reading and via Nova Convention in 70s-80s.
During my correspondence with the late artist, David Wojnarowicz (goombah & former co-worker in 70s Bookstore days), he in Paris, me in NYC, we explored Burroughsian text and art forms.

Later, a 1982 postcard from William S. Burroughs, of the Oakland Bay Bridge (curiously, no postmark, but a stamp that dates it to 1982) from WSB, in response to a letter on democracy, authoritarian dilemmas, popular struggles, and who knows what else, says:

"Dear Mr Napoli:
Thanks for your letter. Perhaps you overcomplicate a very simple message:

Planet Earth is a penal colony. latterly an extermination camp. What to do?

Sauve qui peut.
William S. Burroughs"

Though straight work/family duty (values evidently WSB did not share) reduced time available to me to ponder visions of Johanna and Beat lit'ry bliss, the ongoing existence of Burroughs (like Allen Ginsberg, like Timothy Leary, like Jerry Garcia) added energy and psychic walls to bounce off. As artists, they helped to push back the borders, so in rare moments one could ponder life "sans frontieres."

Goodbye, Mr. Burroughs, you will get yer Nobel Prize in Heaven.


Anthony M. Napoli <tn1997@aol.com>
NYC, NY USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 17:41:27 (EDT)


this seems to complete a set of sorts. they're dying all around us. driving back at 2:30 last night from the bay area "furthur" show, wearing my mime troupe t-shirt, having heard arlo do alice's restaurant live for the first time ever and robert hunter reinvent st. stephen as ballad, i catch the news that another giant has fallen.

what can i say? he inspired my 'zine, Enterzone (the title is an homage) and freed up my writing a thousand fold. his ongoing presence in the ephemeral world of media, electronic and otherwise, was an inspiration, and the language viruses he spawned will live on long after the sun consumes the innermost planets.

"...Stale breakfast table - Little cat smile - Pain and death smell of his sickness in the room with me - Three souvenir shots of Panama city - Old friend came and stayed all day - Face eaten by 'I need _more_' - I have noticed this in the New World - 'You come with me, Meester?'


" ...Sad movie drifting in islands of rubbish, black lagoons and fish people waiting a place forgotten - Fossil honky tonk swept out the ceiling fan - Old photographer trick tuned them out.

"'I am dying, Meester?'

"Flashes in front of my eyes naked and sullen - Rotten dawn wind in sleep - Death rot on Panama photo where the awning flaps."


Christian Crumlish <xian@ezone.org>
Oakland, CA Interzone - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 17:08:18 (EDT)

We are all here to go...

Phillip Linder <phillip@pacrim.co.nz>
Auckland, New Zealand - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 17:01:45 (EDT)

So long, junkie, wife-killer, poet ...

--- Jim

J Hofmann <jhofmann@erols.com>
Washington, DC - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 16:52:45 (EDT)

The doors of the sky are opened for me
the doors of the earth are opened for me
the door-bolts of Geb are opened for me
the shutters of the sky-windows are thrown open for me

may I have power over water
may I have power over air
may I have power over men who would harm me
may I have power over women who would harm me
in the realm of the dead

and the god replies you shall
raise yrself upon yr left side
raise yrself upon yr right side
sit down and stand up
throw off yr dust
may yr tongue and yr mouth be wise
and you shall walk on earth among the living
and never suffer destruction.
A matter a million times true.

-Spell for Going out into the Day
from the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

good luck William

Idolon <Idolon@rocketmail.com>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 16:26:03 (EDT)

He was a good driver. You can tell as soon as someone touches the wheel...

Michael Long <mlong@cei.net>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 16:22:26 (EDT)

Hearing the news of his death, I almost felt movement under my feet, the kind of movement that we all feel when a giant falls to the ground and the impact of his or her body shakes the Earth one last time (in life) to remind us to sit up and pay attention. The man may now be gone, but his work will always be there to shake us up a bit when we need it. Rest in peace, William S. Burroughs.

Paul Audino <wesley@interaccess.com>
Des Plaines, IL USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 16:19:49 (EDT)

Someone here wrote about syncronicity. Friday, Aug.1, I found a picture of Ginsberg with Wm.B in my attachments file on my computer. I have no idea where it came from or who's email it was attached to. Last night, Sat.2/Sun.3, I dreamed that I was giving CPR to my father who was dying of a heart attack. This morning I got the news of Wm.B's passing.

I'm in the middle of 'Place of Dead Roads' presently, but must have discovered Burroughs back in the 70's, listening to Bowie, and Patti Smith who were great fans. The last time I heard his voice was on a DAT (tape) he sent to the Ginsberg memorial in Los Angeles this June. He appologized for not being able to read in person, but assured us that he was "in good health in Lawrence, KS."

Wm.S.Burroughs was a great student of Jean Genet who wrote:
"I don't know much about Evil, but we must indeed have been angels to remain poised above our own crimes."

I'll miss Bill and his crimes!
--Yana Ya Ya

Yana Ya Ya <mbella@earthlink.net>
Los Angeles, CA Estados Unidos - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 15:45:52 (EDT)

His voice is now silent.
The impact of his words will
leave gaping exit wounds in
brains of generations to come.

Ah Pook will not be denied.

Mark Nixon <m23@planet.eon.net>
Canada - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 15:28:22 (EDT)

Burroughs had a knack for rendering the corporate shadows into a prose which will remain viable and resilient into the next millenium. He impacted my meta-programming neuro-circuits during my adolescence and I want to thank him for altering my consciousness forever. You will be missed Bill Burroughs. 'time to forget a dead empire and build a living republic'

sephz <sephz@aol.com>
mpls, mn usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 15:08:13 (EDT)

"Bill's meat (still good)"

old bill lee is finally gone

but the meat is still good

so the worms should have

a nice meal in the future

E. Solberg <anus409@aol.com>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 14:59:33 (EDT)

I found "The Naked Lunch" very entriguing and wanted to know more about the man behind the story.

---"Society often forgives criminals,
but it never forgives dreamers."

drew holmes
San Marcos, Tx - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 14:57:33 (EDT)

A flaming talent in a dawn
He lived a life that now is gone.
For some one to influence generations
Young,old,and many nations
Is something he did well

Amanda Osborne <MzMcPhisto@aol.com>
little rock , ar usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 14:20:43 (EDT)

Deeply thinking of it,
I and Burroughs-
There is no difference,
As there is no mind
beyond this mind.

R.K. Gentry <TWOKAI@prodigy.net>
Arcata, Ca. USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 14:09:28 (EDT)

I first heard of WSB and Naked Lunch in my second year of college. We were to do a comparison between to litreary eras. My friend and I chose Romantics and Beats. Frankenstein and Naked Lunch became our main points, as the class cringed on the seat's edges and the professor smiled wryly through his overgrwon Ginsburg-like beard.

Another one ends as for him another begins...

WSB was what he chose to be. A strong individual who persevered through alot in this life. His lifestyles, opposition, and the death of those who came before.
Kerouac, Bukowski, Ginsberg, now Uncle Bill, all
gone, gone...
The sceene needs rebuilt, a new scene, something to rise from the dusts and influences of great novels on dusty second hand shop shelves. An emergence of what once was and what will come again....

We will miss you, but will not forget you.

D.C. Adams <dca115@psu.edu>
State College, PPA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:37:06 (EDT)

You were there
a ripple in a silent sea
Rolling quietly back to me
Washing on the beach
and gone.


wren <wren@pacbell.net>
San Francisco, CA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:31:32 (EDT)

"Observation has convinced me that salvation lies in not in receiving love, but giving it. A persistent and disastrously mistaken goal is expressed in the formula: 'I will be saved if someone loves me.'"
July 15, 1954

Tom Peyer
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:31:14 (EDT)

...and now he's gone. I have thought about Bill pretty much on a daily basis for nearly 3 decades now, or ever since reading THE SOFT MACHINE (my 1st encounter with his work, actually). Like Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski, Burroughs was influential in my life. "My affections being concentrated on a few people, are not spread all over Hell in a vile attempt to placate sulky, worthless shits." Damn straight, Bill. Without him, existence would have been a lot less interesting.

William N. Gay <wgay@zoo.uvm.edu>
Burlington, VT usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:25:17 (EDT)

It's funny. I had just gotten back from the video store tonight with a copy of "Chappaqua," with Burroughs, Ginsberg, R. Shankar, Ornette Coleman and others. Turned on the news before watching the movie and heard the story. It was weird seeing him in this movie, made 37 years ago. He looked a lot younger, but his voice sounded like an old man's even then. It was about a young junkie and his journey through the "Swiss sleep treatment," trying to kick alcohol and opiates. Burroughs plays the guy's pusher, and also an early prototype of Dr. Benway. Kind of an impressionistic movie. Burroughs' cut-up techniques were laced throughout the movie, maybe spontaneous experiments in the editing room.

Burroughs was fascinated with synchronicity, and felt that we made it happen. Maybe that's why I picked up that video tonight.

Burroughs has been inspirational to me.

"Death needs time to grow in."

Scot Hacker <shacker@birdhouse.org>
Oakland, CA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:22:32 (EDT)


Burroughs is dead.
The Old Man.
The father of the Wild Boys.
It's Lord of the Flies for the rest of us now.

Write books, you angry fucks, write books.
Uncle Bill contracted and communicated to many agents an active and resiliant viral-VISION.

The viral truth of communicated experience WE ALL HAVE DOSED heavily on.

Take it to the streets of yOUR neighborhood. Spray it up on telephone poles, sidewalks, magazines, newspapers, coffee-houses, web-pages, and history books.

AND BUILD A living REpublic.

Whatever your field of work or play,
start today...
Start today.

S. T. R. I. V. E. D. R. E. A. M. S.

23 & out.

Michael 23 aka COYOTE 164 <crime23@getnet.com>
Phoenix, AZ 85004 - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 13:18:31 (EDT)

Last night as my sis bounced hereandback on the net i saw a graphic which reminded me of the cut up technique, don't know why, it just did.
Thought outloud 'wonder how uncle Bill is?'
Just a weird precognition aknowledging the limited time we
all have on this rockhurtlingabout.
The last Bill in a long line of huskyvoiced men ohso aware of their time and intent on subverting at least their little corner. I am listening to Nova Conspiraces, a horrible dub from a derelect deck, praying that Big Jesus Trashcan still has the vinyl.
Namaste WILLyboyBilluncleBurroughs,
enjoy your stay in the Western Lands.

Agape est Legis
Agape infer Thelema

General procedure: Read and learn all you can about problem. Look at problem from a point of zero preconception. Devise variations and alternative solutions. Check back to see if your solution has workable advantage over solutions previously arrived
at . . . 'To carry the method a step further than solution of purely technical problem where purpose is implicit in the artifact: devising more efficient gun, tool, boat, signal system, medical or interrogation procedure.

PANLIBERATUS <23skidoo@olywa.net>
Olympia(reader), WA Cascadia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 12:57:34 (EDT)

Such a wonderful page!! I came to read it on the death of Burroughs (August 3)...and to just soak in some energy from him and Allen. And to remember how much the Beats were an influence on my own poetry and desire to be a poet. Am flashing back to my teens and wanting sooooo much to be On The Road...thank you for your efforts

Judy Shepps Battle <womynpoet2@aol.com>
- Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 12:52:17 (EDT)

...just feel alone in the world now that Burroughs is gone...hopefully he is making the afterlife safe for idiots like us...

Jason O'Toole <Famine1847@aol.com>
San Antonio, TX USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 12:24:00 (EDT)

My heart is now in pain, learning of the death of uncle Bill in something as impersonal as a chat room I'm floored.Frist kia took Bukowski, then Ginsburg, and now one of her most beloved and misunderstood sons William S Burroughs. No more will we be able to stand out and over look interzone without fighting back a tear from our eye. Right now I sit at this computer and punch in words knowing good and well that these words are a virus, and that through the loss of control,throught time,dope and sex and religion, we will all find freedom. But today I cry and look through several of Uncle Bills Books for Quotes that might ease the pain. Sleep well old friend, you are truely safe now don't worry there are no nova police there. IO CHAOS IO CHAOS IO CHAOS

George Tirado <crowley@primenet.com>
phx, az usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 11:41:03 (EDT)

I heard the news at 2:11 in the a.m.. I thought it was a dream or maybe I simply dismissed it as one.
The man has passed, is it so, as the New York Times sits before my eyes. I can feel my stomach twist and my throat muscles contract. I glance at my library to see the collection, one which I have always remained so proud of. I smile because the legend will never cease.

For now I will sit and wait. The city to produce a memorial for sure as they did with a buddha angel not long ago. I thought this day would never come as metaphorically stated in the cellular equation. You will be missed, Uncle Bill. You will be missed.

Michael Pentangelo
Brooklyn, NY - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 11:39:32 (EDT)

expecting the move west for some time now. . . i asked bobby "what the hell happened to my "10% file under burroughs" cd when i got home from work on friday. he'd been listening to it all day; the beat cd two or three times, then the beats cd on repeat for god knows how many hours. . .

i'm kinda overwhelmed really by the news of his death, overwhelmed by my reaction too. i started reading the ol' man at an early age, an "uncle" friend of my mom's having given me a '69 printing of "the wild boys" in '72 saying the cover reminded him of me. i couldn't read it properly until i was 13, five years later. for years i wondered if it was his writing that made me wanna play with boys instead of girls (the uncertainties of youth!). i embraced a belief in majik, followed leads made by his name into groups like topy when throbbing gristle started making end noises. his experimental and objective attitude, his irreverence, his intellectual survivalist individualism lives!

kenneth <roikaxul@hotmail.com>
seattle, wa usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 11:13:48 (EDT)

...shields his eyes against the glare of the setting sun, calls out:

"Goodnight, Mister Lee. May the road rise up to meet you..."

Nothing now but the recordings, I guess...

marc issue robinson <marc@webmedia.com>
London, UK - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 10:46:51 (EDT)

William S. Burroughs was a man whose work changed the lives of anyone who had the good fortune to read it.I know he changed mine.

Mike <HDRider@aol.com>
Lafayette, In Tippicanoe - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 10:31:38 (EDT)

What a slap to wake up to. I first looked over Naked Lunch in a treatment center. They wouldn't let me keep any Bukowski Lovecraft stuff but let Naked Lunch set on the night stand (typical administrative missing the Boat self-assured knowledge of what we are allowed to learn, know, and enjoy). Never met the man myself, only spent time in his books, always fascinated at the thinking and questions they always opened in my own skull. Always impressed with his honesty (that kind it's getting harder and harder to find). Thankful he lived as long as he did. Hopeful we won't forget his messages or give in to the deafening, empty drone of noise that keeps filling those spaces our friends' deaths leave.

Anthony Lowman <sophists@ix.netcom.com>
Augusta, KS usa - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 10:21:16 (EDT)

I heard of Burroughs death on public radio. I didn't know what to think of at first, sort of the way I felt on the passings of Ginsberg and Laura Nyro. 1997 is a sad year indeed.

I was introduced to WSB by an old friend of mine sometime around 84-85. He appreciated the old bard's style of writing. I believe it was the situational anarchy of WSB's writings that drew him in. Also, he loved the character of the gun-toting desperado, Kim Carsons, who dealt out his own form of justice to those who would malign him.

My friend, John, died from complications of AIDS in 1988. Burroughs was one of the lasting gifts he gave me and for that I am grateful.

Like eating potato chips, once I read one book I couldn't stop. I've perused almost of couple of dozen titles and from which I give this advice to those interested in WSB: Start from the later works and read backwords. By the time you get to Naked Lunch, you'll be able to digest it much more easily. But do start with Junky & Queer, to get the feel of the man.

Burroughs was my gateway to others: Allen Ginsberg, Jim Carroll, Patti Smith, John Giorno, Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman, Jack Kerouac, Diamanda Galas, and so on and so on.

Oh what a world I've been exposed to!

fever sweat death blood
love skin leather touch
fingernail bite taste love
sex old rot death mucous
death flows like molasses over the victim.
an old man who reached the end of his days.
images flickering like fireflies in the dying brain-
a thunderstorm in the distance two hours after
whistling bombs over london-the approach.
impact, death event zero.
aural mushroom rising through ceiling and
out of sight.

Aric West <slake@netins.net>
Des Moines, IA USA - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 10:06:34 (EDT)

Ironically, I stayed up late last night writing Burroughs a letter. If I'd been watching TV instead, I would have seen the announcement. I prefered finding out through friends anyway. I owe WSB and many like him my love of reading and writing. My love of the strange and obvious. Here's to the man who always had his finger on the pulsing vein of life.

Chris Dumond <dumo13@erols.com cmdumond@ehc.edu>
Sterling, VA United States - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 09:54:56 (EDT)

TV news... a hot summer day...the 3rd of August...
the city is silent, a strange silence colored of voices from the empty streets... I turn on TV: it's a long time I haven't watch it, hear it... the usual crimes, the usual political problems, "Italians on holiday...traffic on the highways..."
then, the beautiful,perfectly made-up face of the TV journalist and her voice and her face untroubled, normal empty pretty:
"In Kansas, at the age of eighty-three..." Oh, please, do not say that name, it cannot be, please... "W. Burroughs died..."
It's like an explosion, but silent, I remember his words as if he had been close to me when I red his books, as if I had known him, I had been talking to him, for a long time, since that day I opened his Naked Lunch for the first time.
Take your sorrow for yourself...I say feeling the hot touch of the sun on my head on the terrace... I think I won't be able to talk to him any more...I am writing on him and I won't be able to talk to him any more...You die we die wind die... Why we die?...

Roberta Fornari <tiresia@flashnet.it>
Rome, Italy - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 09:26:28 (EDT)

William S. Burroughs has been one of the greatest influences on my life. I was honoured to spend some time with him in January of 1995 - one of the greatest moments of my life so far.
Sic transit gloria mundi.

Phil Hine <phhine@vossnet.co.uk>
London, UK - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 08:29:22 (EDT)

Just finished reading "on the road" two days ago after a lifetime of intending to and spent 20 minutes at dinner last

night discussing Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouak, Cassady,et al before hearing the news. Also missed Nov's tribute to him in Lawrence, where I went to school, by just a couple of days.
Story of my life. In a perverse way, as a sometimes junkie, I found him somewhat heroic for having spent so many years in that state and remaining not just productive but with even a hint of genius, I like to think these things are not unrelated. A sad day, to say the least. Not as pro foundly depressing as when Garcia died, but a major drag nonetheless. Enough to prompt me to participate in one of these things for the first time ever. R.I.P. Bull Lee.

linda g
dallas, - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 08:23:22 (EDT)

A moving theory, a waking dream, a coincidental discovery. This is an extract from my diary records as i write them. Today is the third, it is sunday night. How can I encompass a dream within a piece of paper? The heart of beat stops/the heartbeat dies down quietly silently. The old man lies dead.
William S Burroughs died.
My friend Max and I found this out less than one hour ago, of course there were very strange indications that we already knew.
NOW it seems my dream occured around the same time William was having his heart attack. A most very wakeful dream, a dream that was linear and so seemingly real i woke up and woke Max up lying next to me, going over in detail the dream of William S Burroughs.
The dream, with Bill and Max and myself. yes sitting in our flat conversing for hours. we both invited him back for some coffee, he sits there with his sneakers on, and a cigarette in his left hand and his legs crossed.leaning back. into t;he night we talk, this is about life and we are there and he chuckles and then I see my camera lying down on the table next to him, and it has film in it and i pick it up and start taking photos of Bill. Then a few moments later i decide to get Bill and Max up and both embrace in a picture. then i get one posed picture. I look through the lens of my camera. ,Bill standing straight up,Max leaning forward and an apparitional figure of a young Allen Ginsberg behind Bills' shoulder. hmmm. and then the clicker button isn't working. and i say out loud " we can't all live forever now' and we all smile at this. a few moments later Bill retrieves his hat, says goodbye ever so quietly and leaves.
My dream ends and i wake up. sinking in my heart. only a dream.
Next night discussing Billl around dinner, and how he may very well live to be 103, then knowing we said that about Ginsberg about two weeks before he died.
Friday night on a balcony discussing change.

Misbah Khokhar <s337597@student.uq.edu.au>
Brisbane, QLD Australia - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 08:03:06 (EDT)

In England, the first thing I hear on the news as I wake up. Shocked but not surprised, he was an old man but remarkebly well for his age and lifestyle, somehow always thought that nothing could end his life, that he'd make a hundred, guess he didn't.
We've lost another visionary genious and we haven't got many left, he may not have been writing any more as he claimed, said he'd run out of things to say, but it's what you say, not how much and anyway he said more than centuries of writers with style but no substance, he had both.
Nice to think of Kerouac, Ginsberg and now Burroughs joined somewhere in what ever you'd like to believe happens after the road of the western lands ends. Nice thought, hope it's true.
So adios to el hombre invisible

The world's poorer now

Brynjar Agnarsson <brynjar@easynet.co.uk>
Reykjavik, Iceland - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 07:42:15 (EDT)

Implosion of a beat.
Suction-blessed removing
leaving rings around the tub.

Millions of bubbles,
troubles, and other humiliations
burst in bloody chunks and rubble;
as the gentle ripple-booming
becomes a distant throbbing.

Robbed the fairy air
of its delicate destruction

Michael J. Copeland <maejic@mindspring.com>
Norcross, GA America - Sunday, August 03, 1997 at 07:34:49 (EDT)

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