A William S. Burroughs Memorial

Burroughs is gone but clearly not forgotten. He's already obviously achieved a sort of immortality as a myth, a man, a catalyst and a legend in and beyond his own time.

Please share your thoughts, feelings and stories about William S. Burroughs
and what his work meant to you.

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

add your comments
recent Burroughs Links & News

Sunday's memorial page comments
Monday's memorial page comments

current memorial page comments


a very sad heartfelt goodbye to the master of all pus. uncle bill, as you cross the duad, please be aware of how much you were loved in this life, by your fans,friends,and other artists. your impact on my life/art was/is immeasureable. i think in death your impact and influence will only grow stronger and more pervasive.your dead fingers will talk 4 ever.thank you for gracing our sad little planet, making some of us more iluminated through your art and giving the gift of laughter. please storm the gates of of where ever u are and when that asshole obit writer from the la times gets there please shoot a glass off his head. godspeed,R.I.P. "no more...no mas..."

michael terry mattson <mtmsrs@aol.com>
buena park, ca usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 23:56:43 (EDT)


"The rainbow jockstrap"

This was one of the things I clearly remember from The Wild Boys.
I've been reading Burrough's work for almost 5 years now and it
saddens me greatly to hear/read about his death. Growing up
in Puerto Rico you don't really experience much of Burrough's work
or many other places for that matter. He really hit home with
his distorted evil imagery and prose. I always wanted to meet him
but it's not easy to find him. As one homosexual to another, I
am truly gonna miss his eroticism. I know his readings made
me feel more comfortable about my sexuality, and I know others
out there in my position feel similar. I hope his works will
live on forever. We musn't forget such a remarkable man and
what he did for censorship in literature.

Goodbye William Lee.

Jorge

Jorge Santiago
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 23:40:15 (EDT)


the men who made me feel less alone are dying...i feel like i will decay right along with them. burrough's helped me find out how i was normal, it a strange way. Naked Lunch hit me like nothing (except maybe allen's america and leaves of grass) have. part of my mind goes with him: may you find your peace far from earth.

brad strauss <tgfsm@autobahn.org>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 23:22:35 (EDT)


TRUE STORY
Had spent most of the month of July reading Ted Morgan's
"Literary Outlaw", picking it up perchance from a co-worker.
Had become quite engrossed and facsinated with it (am pre-
sently on page 504). I had known who WSB was (had struggled
with "Naked Lunch" in college), but knew little about him
and his life. Anyways, on the afternoon of August 2nd, I
was discussing the book with the aforementioned co-worker,
when we both asked "is he still alive??" At approximately
2:30pm on Saturday, August 2nd, I proclaimed "he MUST be
dead".

"....There was,he devoutly believed, a world of magical
will and intention. Nothing happened unless someone willed
it to happen." (Literary Outlaw,pg 481)

Sorry about that, old boy.......

John Winchester <bskit@countryside.net>
Cambridge, NY USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 22:28:21 (EDT)


A little bit o chaos left the world this week, formalism will reign again over all of us!!
Aaww shit,
Which of our great amaerican literary extremists will go next???
Say it ain't so Hunter S Thompson. . .

speedgoat <speedgoat@prodigy.com>
Holmes Beach, fl usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 22:04:15 (EDT)



"Curse go Back"

--- and finally...the curse got back to William S. Burroughs

--- as a last goodbye....a pistol poem

Throbbed <gizer@hem1.passagen.se>
Wernamo, Sweden - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 20:58:18 (EDT)


Hail and farewell...El Hombre Invisible pulling his final disappearing act on us all...daddy of so many artists, talented and otherwise, whether they'd ever admit it or not(Mr.Reznor, white discourtesy telephone please)...one thing that should not be forgotten in all this tribute; not only was WSB a great chronicler of human depravity, both outward and inward, but that he could make such things laughable especially in his many public readings...a great writer, a great thinker...my only regret is the dwelling of the mainstream media( my local SF Chron, f'r instance) on the relativelyminimal time spent as a junk addict...'legendary junkie',they wrote, despite him having only been one for 15 of his 83 years...screw that. Legendary period. I'd wish you Goidspeed, Bill, bu you always said the only key churches had were the one to the shithouse, so i'll just say thanks and see you on the other side...

Michael Layne Heath <mlayne@hotmail.com>
San Francisco, Ca USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 20:33:59 (EDT)


I cannot really articulate my feelings towards
William S. Burroughs
nor the effect his works have had upon me
I can see them more as images, times or places
A train travelling through late afternoon haze
Germany blurring landscapes from under deepblue and clouds
and my mind traveling through all the spaces just opened,
having shortly before finished the then published and fascinating
-My Education: A Book of Dreams-
My wonder at the visionpieces put together in
-Interzone-
so much more...
just what did he do for our spirits and conciousnesses?
So very much that we could not even begin to name nor count

Thank you William S. Burroughs

alex <phi4amb@atlas.vcu.edu>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 19:43:57 (EDT)


The invisible generation,or generation X as we might be called, celebrate the departure of William S.Burroughs for the Western Lands.
I hope that we meet again in a free country.

Mark S.Holsworth
Melb., Australia - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 19:39:56 (EDT)


I see you flying - an eagle disappearing in the clouds. Today we have hail in NYC and the loudest bolts of lightening ever to come here. This is you leaving.

Spare Ass Annie
New York City, - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 19:25:37 (EDT)


Apres le dernier mot de Dutch Schultz, le stenographe de
la police range ses outils et quitte la piece.
Mais son ombre est toujours la, assis, prenant des
notes par intermittance.

Huseyin Talay <huseyin@ccl.umist.ac.uk>
Manchester, UK - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 18:19:11 (EDT)


Descanse en paz, seor Burroughs... descanse su cuerpo, su mente jams...

La Muerte
Mexico - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:51:37 (EDT)


I found out a couple of days ago that Mr. Burroughs had died. I am not what people consider a fan, but I did read his book "Naked Lunch" by
accident several years ago. I always wondered how he had had such courage to write it, I found it shocking, but so close to a certain reality I see
in my surrounding environment. I am re-reading it now that I am older and have had more life experiences. I will see later how it will affect me...

Marcela
Mexico - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:46:16 (EDT)


I gave naked lunch to the most obnoxious and disgusting person i knew. he was trying to be more literary. a few weeks later i heard through a mutual friend that he called it disgusting, pronounced that he could not read such trash and threw it away. made me proud. goodbye.

Barry Grau <grau@uic.edu>
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:45:48 (EDT)


Well, I usually read the newspaper when I first wake up in
the morning, but for some reason i didn't want to Sunday.
When I finally got around to reading it i saw the news.
Billy B. was dead. Shit was the only word i could say. My
mother heard me and said-oh yeah i forgot to tell you. Shit.
I wish i met the guy, always planned to go to Lawrence but
never did. I first was introduced to WSB when i took his
Dead City Radio CD from my local library. Popped it in my CD
player and the rest is history...
Bill, say hi to Allen, and Jack and Herbert and Joan for
me, you have one hell of an adventure to tell her, but she
proabaly already knows.

"Al, I am a fucking saint, that is I been fucked by the Holy
Ghost and knocked up with the Immaculate Woid...I'm the
third coming, and don't know if I can do it again...so stand
by for the Revelation."
-William S. Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

Bill, were all waiting, cause were all here to go.




Michael Mahmood <rmahmood@snet.net>
Stratford, CT USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:28:41 (EDT)


I never thought it would happen. But I guess that all good things come to an evolution.

Zane <zane@sasquatch.com>
Santa Cruz, Ca USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:23:56 (EDT)


I first met Bill in Santa Fe. I had become separated from my group of travelers and was standing behind the gallery where he had just finished doing a reading. I was smoking a pipeful of opium and saw him getting into his car alone so I joined him. I got to shake the hand of a brilliant man and will carry that to my own grave with a smile both on my face & in my heart. I loved Bill.

David Brand <don't worry about it>
Interzone, KS Interzone - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:22:40 (EDT)


when i heard that bill was gone, i was incredibly saddened. i have been readiing burroughs' stuff for the past 3 years, & have enjoyed his works immensly, it is my hope that bills' work, & life will not be forgotten, & that people will continue to go on forays into the convoluted and macbre universe that is william seward burroughs' work. the beat generation were a group of men that defied the confines of conformity of the mid 20th century, they were the continuation of the quest for individuality and expression that people like henry miller worked all thier lives for. burroughs fans, unite and never let bills' memory fade.

liam bledsoe <LiAm808>
murfreesboro, tn usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:19:15 (EDT)


burroughs said "a writer has no secrets."
- he does now.

His death was revealed to me uncerimonious while
watching the 'simpsons.' I was saddened even while
Homer was exulted his philosophy.

His writing didn't change my life, and I wont
pretend it did just to be hip.

He liked rum coke as do i.
when he masturbated he tasted the good life ...

"the beats are in heaven - who'll save this earth?"

Japhy Rider <laro29@idt.net>
Mountain View , CA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 17:13:07 (EDT)


WOW WHAT A LIFE!!!
Unique extraordinary brilliant man! What an inspiration!
I will miss him too. Bye-bye Uncle Bill.
love, tim

Tim <user@jmparkinson.softnet.co.uk>
London, UK - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:47:01 (EDT)


Bye Bill.
Really sad.

Francesco e Filippo Gatti <Md2062@mclink.it>
Rome, it ITALY - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:39:22 (EDT)



Tom Mathews <tmathews@awinc.com>
Thunder Bay, ON Canada - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:38:10 (EDT)



Tom Mathews <tmathews@awinc.com>
Thunder Bay, ON Canada - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:38:00 (EDT)


"KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- William S. Burroughs, the stone-faced godfather of the 'Beat generation' whose experimental novel Naked Lunch unleashed an underground world that defied narration, died yesterday. He was 83."
-Providence Sunday Journal


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 into it, please get back to me as soon as possible. It's no particular rush, but I just want to get things in order as to who's going to be helping out.

The beginnings of the web page can be found at--
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/3586/wsb.html

Anyways, thanks for your time and please get back to me whenever you have a chance...

//nEo-mEssiah
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/3586/

the neo-messiah <neo_messiah@hotmail.com>
xxx, xx xxxxx - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:29:24 (EDT)


Did I ever tell you about the man who taught this asshole to think? When I first heard of Burroughs, I was probably in seventh grade. His writing blew me away. There's not really much more to say but goodbye. I'll miss you.

Tom Child <LettrmnFan@aol.com>
Lakewood, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 16:29:11 (EDT)


For forty years through novels, poetry, films, biographies,
autobiograhpies, collected letters, and occasional book
signings, I have felt a kinship to Jack, Neal, Allan,
Herbert and Bill. Now they are all gone and I feel so
lonely.

Bill Dugan <billdugan@orb.com>
Germantown, Mmd usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 15:54:45 (EDT)


I'm not a writer, nor do I pretend to be one.

My recent literary journeys had just started to delve into the world of Burroughs.

A great void has just opened....


griffith

Griffith <hbrtv219@email.csun.edu>
Simi Valley, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 15:44:08 (EDT)


He would speak
The voice of gravel tumbling
His words upon my ears
Always recognizable
As he talked
Of junkies
and severed legs in a bag

Death & Dismemberment
I remember
William Burroughs
Grandfather poet
The dirty-old-man of art

Peace be with you
As once again you go
Into the unknown
To make it
Dirty & Real
So that we who follow
Can touch it.


Don <ds5419@panix.com>
Portland, OR USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 15:42:54 (EDT)


It's nice to know you can fuck around nearly your whole life and still live to a ripe old age. Not only that but also keep your brain in reasonably good working order. Way to go Bill. I wish ah coulda shoulda beena a lot like you.

Carlo Gesualdo <gesualdo@texas.net>
san antonio, tx usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 15:33:05 (EDT)


never before has someone awakened so much in me that i
never knew was there. his thoughts, writing, and art have
inspired me to create and re-create since i first read
his words. he will be missed, but never forgotten.

thank you bill.

thank you.


"cut word lines..."


-N.


neil simon <nsimon@cosi.stockton.edu>
fairless hills, pa u$a - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 15:24:43 (EDT)


FOR BILL BURROUGHS RIP

I got word at 4 this morning on the answering machine. An
ex-girlfriends voice on the other end that smelled gutted,
deboned, bloodless, the callous on a heel. Had the world got
to her so soon? I know there are nails on board the getting
-around, been-there and got-to-see-this-too. They hit hard
and poke from the opportunities that draw one to corners and
new floors, the Learn vs. Teach curve; heres a word of
caution and heres an idea and now dont forget to use them
both sparingly...When I knew her last, she was fast, a
master of American tongue, polished at the refinery, built
for velocity and speed and precision. She said, How are
you taking it, first. That was the first thing she said. It
took a while for her to get to this thing I should already
have known about, should already have held close and sweated
on. They got this little tribute at the book store up in
North Beach, something, you can see it from out in the
street. There was only the voice and it lulled under a
muffled strain, like the speaker wires in her receiver had
got tangled and confused, bypassing the phone lines hanging
out her window, pouring haplessly into a stew of
mercurochrome and stone, touching down like cigar ash.
Yeah, she said. A little thing, you know. Empty shells
from a six-shooter, couple a dead roses, a black and white
of him sitting in this, what are those with and on the
water, yeah, this rowboat, with a hand on each ore. An
only he can pull off dignity in a silly place like that you
know it sucks an its all resting there on this silver
platter probably from some junk shop or some cocktail party
they had last month or other...' She clucked her tongue or
maybe had to walk away someplace for a while, got up to
grab a smoke or a glass of ice tea and Im knowing the voice
is just wrong, missing elements, radial dispondance that
throws a flask of Blue Nun over everything, skipping the
hinge that turns sound to word to image. Just these
bronchial fists of circumlocution tumbling out her mouth,
landing flat, loose, dull, like grey streaks, ghosts for
dustpans and disposal units. They also got a cane leaning
upside and against the window tho I suspect its all bought
on the ritual dime and the old man layed a hand on it never
most like. But thats you know, the word, and in the
beginning there was and he aint no more and maybe they fly
the flag at half-mast this week in Tangiers you know. Oh and
I hope you are well. I listened once more and erased the
whole thing. Before I went to sleep I heard a garage door
hit the ground. And the walls looked ordinary till I turned
off the light.

todd s. glider <tsglider@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA 94110 - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 14:30:33 (EDT)


Well, my favorite is "The Yage Letters", among other things Burroughs was a good reporter and a very funny one too. His misanthropy is mostly entertaining and the sentimental story about Billy Bradshinkel is very moving. Great artists died this year: Allen Ginsberg, Jeff Buckley, and now Bill Burroughs. They will be missed.

Jrgen Sandberg <jorgen.sandberg@swipnet.se>
Stockholm, Sweden - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 14:10:53 (EDT)


I used to see William Burroughs when I was staying at the Beat Hotel on Rue Gt-le-Coeur in Paris around 1960. He was a real inspiration to the younger generation -- of artists, poets, anarchists. I'll miss him

Philip Beitchman <PandMB@AOL.com>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 14:07:21 (EDT)


Thanks for ripping the shade from the window.

Steve Toth <joshuatree@sprynet.com>
Union Lake, Mi. amorika - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 13:54:24 (EDT)


Nova Heat Movin On


Look, I don't want to get maudlin about this -- but you
know he was the only thing standing between us and utter
disaster -- I'm talking leveraged buyouts of entire
planets here -- Don't interrupt me when I'm riffing --
But it wasn't a stream at all it was more of a puddle of
consciousness -- No flow, a lot of spots going together
to make up an unacceptable picture --

Nope, nothing wrong here -- but fifty years ago it was
totally unacceptable -- Do you catchee my sayso?
Pornography, pure and simple -- without even any soap to
slick things up -- but no, I think it wasn't that pure or
that simple -- maybe 99 1/4 % pure but no more -- and
simple? I'm telling you bub --

I mean -- so what if the Hell Ovens are waiting? --
We've got the Word -- jumping out of his chair and
screaming 'I got the fear!' -- and nothing can ever be
the same. Not then, not now, and not as it is, was, or
will be -- More than anything else the subtle rhythms
of language cadence drip drip drip into the mental ear
of the unwary reader, infecting with unwholesome
thoughts and ideas that -- Anticipating by whole
fucking decades Dawkins's idea of memetics -- Nova
fuzz waiting -- but no.

Come on, Jack, I don't want your greasy grimy
green-gray Limpopo on my clean rug tonight -- And
don't try folding that shit with me -- I'm too big an
asshole -- So we all piled in the car and head for
Mexico looking for some kind strange plant that only
grows in the desert -- Damn amateur Castenada anyway
-- and ditto Thompson -- Neither one of them knows
pissall about writing -- and junk is pretty much junk
-- But the Adding Machine Kid trips and falls into a
deeper hole --

This one got no bottom -- ain't that funny, a hole
with no bottom -- best kind of holes got bottoms, this
is a low-grade hole, let me tell you -- shoddy
merchandise -- the only religion worth the money --
Last of the line -- end of the line -- and the porter
yells "Booooard! Leaving for Anaheim and Cucamonga" --
But earlier in Missouri money could buy just about
everything -- except maybe Joan -- it was a water glass,
Jack, not a wine glass -- they never get that one right
-- but fifty years pass and it doesn't matter any more
-- if it ever did --

And it was never junk anyway -- it was control -- it
was power -- the power to cloud mens minds so they don't
see shit -- because in the end it was all shit -- but
there was nothing better -- so struggle up through the
shit, just get the job done -- Nova heat moving in --
Was there ever any point to it -- just get the job done
as best you can --

Closing black circle


Byebye Billy. The heat done got you at the last.

Entropy allus takes its slice --

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <djdaneh@pacbell.com>
Alameda, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 13:42:26 (EDT)


Goodbye and good luck. Know that if you were the first
you certainly won't be the last. 8ball seethes through
the city streets like a panther. There will be more.

Michael Egan
battle creek, mi usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:41:13 (EDT)


Bill:

So, but so very sorry to hear you've gone.

I've been wanting to tell you that I know what you meant about Billy Bradshinkel. I feel the same way. Wherever you stopped off I know at least you can't get piles. Fill me in on the outer yage!

Sergio A. Tanasescu
Sand Yiego, Ca USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:40:51 (EDT)


Burroughs was one of the best writers in American history. He was able to say FUCK YOU!!, in the face of any one who said no to him. The fact that he lived to be 83 was to me his own choice and since the death of Allen, he realized it was time to go now since he had now out lived nearly every one he was every associated with from Jack Kerouac to Kurt Kobain. The fact he was able to quit scag is just one of the many things that proves how powerful he truly was. I know what its like quitting that shit. Its like he said in "Junky" ; "Junk isn't for kicks, its a way of life". A very true statement. But now he's reunited with Joan.

Andy Shepherd <BOBSHEPHERD@AOL.COM>
Dillsburg, Pa Amerika - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:28:35 (EDT)


last words


"listen to my last words anywhere. listen to my last
words any world. listen all you boards syndicates and
goverments of the earth. and you powers behind what
filth deals consumated in what lavatory to take what
is not yours. to sell the ground from unborn feet
forever-"

wsb


emulated, imitated and misread by the posers hawking
heroin chic. the anti-message. the beauty and horror
of the soul. he wants you to listen, not worship
and to leave what is done alone.

mullins <96mullins@wmich.edu>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:22:05 (EDT)


last words


"listen to my last words anywhere. listen to my last
words any world. listen all you boards syndicates and
goverments of the earth. and you powers behind what
filth deals consumated in what lavatory to take what
is not yours. to sell the ground from unborn feet
forever-"

wsb


emulated, imitated and misread by the posers hawking
heroine chic. the anti-message. the beauty and horror
of the soul. he wants you to listen, not worship
and to leave what is done alone.

mullins <96mullins@wmich.edu>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:21:14 (EDT)


Thank you William, for all you have done. You have inspired me through your writings, and touched my soul with your ideas. May God be with you.

Corin Ellen Lindberg <Corin.Lindberg@halsp.hitachi.com>
SanBruno, Ca usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:20:21 (EDT)


last words


"listen to my last words anywhere. listen to my last
words any world. listen all you boards syndacites and
goverments of the earth. and you powers behind what
filth deals consumated in what lavatory to take what
is not yours. to sell the ground from unborn feet
forever-"

wsb


emulated, imitated and misread by the posers hawking
heroine chic. the anti-message. the beauty and horror
of the soul. he wants you to listen, not worship
and to leave what is done alone.

mullins <96mullins@wmich.edu>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:20:06 (EDT)


Never read the cat, but I dug his glasses!

philburt <pglee@earthlink.net>
Huntington Beach, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:14:43 (EDT)


I first read Dr. Bill while attending college -- 1966.
One thing that stood out at that time was his warning
about the use of drugs -- and he himself as the
example not to follow.
I read The Ticket That Exploded around 1968 while
living on the streets of Seattle. Revolution was in
the air and I managed to aquire a small tape recorder
while reading the book.
It seemed to me that Burroughs was somehow linked
to another dimension from whence flowed is words --
almost like automatic-writing from a spiritual
world slightly higher than normal consciousness.
I saw the movie Burroughs and learned about his
accidental shooting of his wife while trying to shoot
an apple off her head. What a horrible thing to do!
Sheila, my love partner's, son oddly enough became
fascinated with Burroughs in his freshman year at
college. He turned me onto a Jazz recording
Burroughs did -- I loved it! Theres no doubt about
his artistic genius -- but I'm just not sure about
the seamier side of his life. Was it all worth it?
Would he have lived differently if he had to do it
over -- and if so would his artistic genius have been
sacrificed or could he have even produced greater
works? Nevertheless, he lives on thru his works.

Tom Derry <tzon@bellsouth.net>
Whites Creek, TN USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 12:12:46 (EDT)


A gaunt, skeletal-like spectre transfixes us "college
kids" with his gravel-edged voice and visceral imagery.
After the reading we're invited to a signing. Forgetting to
bring a book, I ask him to autograph my trench coat.
20 years later that coat hangs in my closet like a piece of
the Cross, an object sanctified by a peculiarly American
anti-Pope. I also have a letter he wrote me in response to a
screenplay I'm sure I desperately wanted him to bless.
"Portentous" was the word he used to describe the work and
the upcoming year.
For me, Burroughs was kind of like a long lost Grandfather.
Surly, knowledgeable, artistic, passionate, mentor-like in
his dogged infusion with whatever the Now radiated. Like
Warhol, he redefined what art could be. His outlaw vision
helped release the noose of 50's white bread Americana
(after we'd ejaculated, of course.) His experiments with the
language were about changing consciousness, about re-
sexualizing the body, about creating play in a post-atomic
corporatization of everything Age.
Reading these memorials makes me think that maybe William
achieved his mission. He obviously helped catalyze several
generation's wilder ideas about the nature of communication,
and the diversity of our and other world's sexual/psychic/
organic politics. He certainly expanded the cultural
possibilities open to an irascible old homo coot.
A friend told me yesterday he felt Burroughs was like a force
of nature, something you expected to always be around. Like
a junk habit, maybe? Like everything we mortals "need" to be
bigger than life, Burroughs death has reinforced the notion
that we are all here to go...to roam the Western Lands...to
be the guardians of the future.
To simply say I will miss Burroughs discounts the profound
effect he had on my personal & artistic development. I have
only gratitude and a sense of awe for this, in the end,
all too human trailblazer. Thank You! KLW

kevin west <jug@mail.utexas.edu>
Austin, TX USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 11:30:39 (EDT)


I remember first reading 'Naked Lunch' back in high school
(this was in 1968), and knowing that I would never look at
fiction in the same way. A number of years later, when I was
teaching an introduction to the novel course, I'd use
'Naked Lunch' as the last book in a syllabus of (mostly)
conventional prose. I always thought that I owed it to my
students to expose them to this great work.

Now that we're faced with government and corporate
censorship of the web, I'm feeling just how prophetic that
Burroughs was...in fact, I've been feeling that for a long
time...that not only was he one of the greatest writers
of the century, but one of the most prophetic as well.

Bill, we're going to miss you...but I'm glad we had you
as long as we did...as long as there are people that still
value freedom of expression, you'll be around...

Greg Weller <falcon@apk.net>
Parma, OH - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 10:44:27 (EDT)


I had the opportunity to meet William Burrough several times in the late 70's and 80's, and to stay in his New York City apartment on the lower east side of Manhattan. My brother directed "BURROUGHS, The Movie" as his thesis film, while attending New York University Film School. After my commenting on the state of the food in his refrigerator, William simply said to me "cheese doesn't go bad, it just gets cheesier." I have used this line many times since then. Once, when we were eating lunch at some dump, perhaps the Great Jones Cafe, he was approached my many adoring fans (mostly women), and with a slight smirk, he looked at me and said "not bad for an old faggot, huh?" I have not yet found an opportunity to use this line, but I am still working on it. Goodbye Bill. Thanks for the use of the Orgone Box. Oh, yeah, by the way, don't ever let William Burroughs try to shoot an apple off of your head.

Steve Brookner <Moriarty19@aol.com>
Miami, FL USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 10:34:15 (EDT)


the queer, junkie priest has left the building

W.Dan
Seattle, Wa USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 10:18:24 (EDT)


BiII didnt just beat the 0dds, he Iaughed in their face and ridicuIed them

what a Iife

AIIways an inspirati0n

AIan Bamf0rd <alanb@netlink.net.au>
MeIb0urne, AustraIia - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 10:14:07 (EDT)


you can't beat the mark inside.......
goodbye to you bill you hold a dear place in my life and i'm still trying to use all i've learned from you .
we have lost a great man ..............
bob

robert clements <uberfrau@msn.com>
miami, fl usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 10:02:05 (EDT)


i have been reading the obits on Burroughs for the last few days, and i see the staff writers are doing the same thing to Burroughs that they did to Ginsberg (and all nonconformists). The obituaries contain numerous subtle and not-so-subtle denunciations. Of course people like Burroughs and Ginsberg are "softly" dismissed for drug use, as everyone seems to be afraid of that boogeyman these days...yawn. I have been spurred to write this because of one obit in particular, penned by Tony Perry of the LA Times, in which he says that the death of Bill's wife and son led to his "unstable mental condition in later decades." What rot. Burroughs was very sane, and very brave, and in my opinion a profoundly decent man. I think it is very sane to face one's demons, as Burroughs did daily. It seems odd to describe such fearlessness as instability. Perhaps Perry needs to see a shrink. Anyway, now that i've vented spleen on the back-stabbing obits writers, let me say that the likes of Burroughs will never be seen again, and i will miss him. i hope wherever you are, Mr. Burroughs, there are no Shits, only Johnsons.

van yasek <vyasek@wvnvm.wvnet.edu>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 08:59:37 (EDT)


Billy boy o billy boy
you did it again we knew you would
just not how
now that you have i know
for you the day was 2
for we in oz it was 3
23 t w e n t y t h r e e
you did it again we knew you would
thanx billy boy thanx

Charles Roberts <catacomb@taunet.net.au>
Darwin, NT 0820 - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 08:41:00 (EDT)


I expect to see the Mars probe transmit a picture of a huge
rock, and a fedora sitting on top...awaiting.
RIP, bull...Burrough's work has just begun.

John Gregorio <Subterr7@aol.com>
Denver, CCO USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 08:03:45 (EDT)


Thin man
Thin man
I do know your death
Thin man
Thin man
Please light up fires of death
Thin man
Thin man
Our dead rows feel all alone
Skies fell down upon our homes
...
...
Get the fuck outta here, man
... 'n we do love YA


FXB
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 07:55:00 (EDT)


I've been lucky to read some oh his books when he was still alive.
but i've never seen him reading or dedicacing his books. i would have been so happy...
thanks uncle Bill.

laurent jung <jnglau01@socsci.uct.ac.za>
cape town, south africa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 06:11:02 (EDT)


in memoriam w.s.b. thanks for all the teachings.mexico will always remember you.

victor sologaistoa
paris, france - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:49:44 (EDT)


Old Bull Lee... I remember thinking a few weeks ago about how the old boy was going to kick the bucket one of these days-strange. I guess anyone who's put something here knows why-what can one say. Thanks Bill...

Carl Olson <Nbacarl>
Laramie, WY USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:35:53 (EDT)


William Burroughs, thank you for the inspiration. You turned on an entire generation to writing, including myself, and I would like to thank you.

Matt <WESTBEV93@aol.com>
Gilbert, AZ 85234 - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:32:51 (EDT)


I first heard of Bill when I was about 16, and had started doing the punk thing in Santa Fe, NM. The honesty of his writings was just some of the coolest stuff I had ever read, having been raised on Nancy Drew Mysteries, and the other garbage that the public school system throws at young people.
As time went on, I became well versed in Burroughs literature, and even have copies of most of his experimental films.
Now that I think about it, on Sunday I rented Chappaqua, so there's a sort of poetic irony I am experiencing about this sudden turn of events.

I am indeed saddened by this news.
Sam Atakra


Sam Atakra <atakra@humboldt1.com>
arcata, ca usa - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:24:39 (EDT)


The man is dead, but his work will surely live on testifying the truth of our disjointed, pre-Apocalyptic age. If the USA has a writer for the 21st century it is WSB (what is the cut up, if not literary "channel surfing"?). Burroughs understood, and was able to inventively express, the chaos of post-modernity decades before the mainstream ever realized it. (It seems an ugly paradox that his work is currently embraced for its darkness when Burroughs was acting like a literary surgeon, diagnosing society's malignancies in order to free humankind.
To have the nightmares themselves embraced as new drugs for a myth-addicted society would have surprised cyncial ol'Bill, but I bet it saddened him.)

Though linked to the Beats, Burroughs was his own movement -- renegade, fire-starter, shape-shifter, and, perversely enough, a moralist. I think of WSB as a literary shaman who tried heal us from the wounds of birth and death; Nature and Society.
Like all shaman, he was a social misfit and pereninally misunderstood or demonized by the mainstream (witness the horrid LA TIMES obituary). This iconoclastic Seeker pursued his role to the end with the dignity of the dedicated Artist, the courage of the paradigm-shifting Scientist, and the fertile creativity of The Genius.

For good or ill, we are all living in a Naked Lunch world.
The blazing, one-of-a-kind mind of William S. Burroughs was a lamp guiding us through the shit blackness of our waking nightmare. Now that lamp is out forever.

Nothing I say can fully express the utter originality of this Great American Artist -- nobody before him had done what he did until he did it.

When the Universe put those neurons together, it threw away the mold.

I love you, Uncle Bill. Happy landings.



Dane Mc Cauley <pdmc@ix.netcom.com>
Burbank, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:18:46 (EDT)


Darn sharks.

Brent Simmons <bsimmons@ranchero.com>
Seattle, WA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:11:22 (EDT)


Good-bye

grillo <grillo@olywa.net>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 04:09:27 (EDT)


Congratulations, you've scored the imacculate fix...

Ross E. Lockhart <tanteros@pacbell.net>
San Diego, CA Interzone - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 03:21:42 (EDT)


as usual, NY Times obit (Sunday's local, Monday's national
issues) is most complete and informative for those who may
be interested. other than that, i guess just about every-
thing's been said on these pages. good to learn here that
so many young people are paying some attention to the old
masters.

joy
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 02:36:37 (EDT)


My deepest regards to all of the literary community, my deepest respects to the man himself and deepest wishes for the future - that all he has done in his lifetime not be forgotten.

"Smash the control images, smash the control machine."


R.I.P.
William S. Burroughs

Thomas D. Hill 3 <synshak6@mail2.quiknet.com>
Soon - San Francisco, CA USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 02:27:40 (EDT)


1. Standing in the local drugstore small town midwest looking over the cheap paperbacks. Image of a sweaty t-shirt clad addict slumped down, title: JUNKIE. Reasonably priced attractive trash I figure and purchase. Only to discover upon reading hey hey a minor masterpiece, and the beginning of an education, probably like most of you kiddos, I needed out. 2. Boulder, Colorado mid-nineteen seventies, in a hip bookstore. I notice the grey suit, the grey flesh, the stiff movements of a man who I have by now consummed every word published and studied every photo as if he were a rock star. I do not to intrude. Never intrude. What is there to say? But I am curious. I wonder what Mr Burroughs will purchase for his own consumption. I lurk around to see. After a short time he walks out with the current issue of The Farmers Almanac under his arm. I decide to go to Naropa and sign up for his writing workshops. Also, to this day I pick up the Almanac and gaze for meaning. 3. Burroughs coughs, and in that famous reptilian voice croaks out a fairly standard lecture on the art of writing filmscripts. Says you can probably make a good film from a bad book but don't try it the other way around. It is far more his humor and demenor than the content that make the class interesting. Recently I read he concluded that his teaching writing was a total failure. 4. The standard live readings at Naropa were pretty tedious even then. For every Ginsberg and Ann Waldman you had 5 bad imitations prattling on for hours. But there was only one William. Well, not true. There were two. The other was his son, William "Billy" Jr. Who generally was a comlete but very sweet wreak. But a very interesting writer. The reading they gave together was one of the best ever. Soon after Billy was in the hospital in Denver for a liver transplant. 5. Through Denver poet Bill Ward I was introduced to Billy. Billy's two autobiographical books, Speed and Kentucky Ham chronicled his (and my own generations) decent into drugs and alcohol when he/we took the romanticism of the 'beats' too literally. Billy sometimes read at a local reading series run by Ward. One night afterwards, we had a birthday party for him. There he talked of his father with great love, at the same time mentioning his parents various addictions at the time of his birth. He said he was told it had been a difficult labor. He looked at us for a while and then spoke quietly, "I didn't want to be born." Billy was dead within the year. 6. I never went to see William Sr. read again, tho I read all the books he wrote as they were published and collected the recordings. I was happy to see his paintings, his move to Kansas. But somehow my time with Billy and that sad statement words made me much more ambivilent towards my Willaim and all my previous 'heros'. 7. The days of our lives, filled now with those once so called obscene science fiction slashed books become rapid truths. Say hello to Billy for me and we will watch for you in the eyes of little fresh kitties born again and again.

Livingston <SonOfNaugha@AOL.com>
Baltimore, MD USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 02:24:28 (EDT)


(in Euc)

ʤʤ̴򸫤Ƥ
ν
ϵΤϤޤ꤫ĤŤ
Ť̴򸫤Ƥ

ˤûή
餬褫Ф
äƹԤ
ȤƤ⼪Ƥ뤬Τ
ĤʹƨƤޤ褦
ȤФؤ
񤭵뤹

ܤΤȤФǤ
ʤ









ss Higashi <foe4foe@aol.com>
Los Alamos, Uranus - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 02:20:25 (EDT)


Old Bull Lee
You took your last trip
I hope it was a good one
I will always remeber you...

Marko Korvela <marko.korvela@chydenius.fi>
Kokkola, Finland - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 02:19:59 (EDT)




May you finally find your finger, and adjust your shot accordingly.

Peter McCarty <peterc@inlink.com>
St. Louis, MO USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:59:56 (EDT)


im so sad

hector <hbuitrag@colomsat.net.co>
bogota, colombia - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:32:11 (EDT)


William Shakespeare, Sonnet 27

Helena <helenam@concentric.net>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:25:48 (EDT)


Thank you Bill, for being one of the few who taught me the power of words.

Eling <eling@xs4all.nl>
Nijmegen, Netherlands - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:23:38 (EDT)


Regretably, I never met him. In fact, the closest I ever got
was to send him his own Christmas card a few years ago. (I
thought he would appreciate the irony of an undetermined
pre-recording). When I heard the news, I went to the home
where he was born. And wondered if he was still lurking about
the old neighborhood for one last visit on his way to eternity.
For some reason, I think I'll miss his voice most of all.
Goodbye, WSB.

Peter McCarty <peterc@inlink.com>
St.Louis, MO USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:21:58 (EDT)


Dear Bill,

TV's on, no sound
just filtered light, filtered life.

The echoed rythm continues
pacing itself perfectly with the
moving image
inside the life size frame.

Not prose, not rythm,
not quite fiction
just a semi-steady heartbeat and
a finite passion for breath.


Monday morning, wired and curious, anxious,
though fairly unaware.
I feel different, but not quite sure about direction.
or definition.

Here's to the immaculate fix.
Hope you show up next time
again.
Same place, same time?

Sincerely,

Eric White <white@kiva.net>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:20:02 (EDT)


Weary with toil I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind when body's work's expired;
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelid open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which like a jewel hung in ghastly night
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.


Helena Mulkerns <helenam@concentric.net>
New York, NY USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:17:08 (EDT)


syncronicity ginsberg leery carl burroughs

glacon <GLACON8024@aol.com>
- Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 01:12:01 (EDT)


The howling is silenced
The road is long closed
The luncheon is now a memory
Queer Junky ran with the Wild Boys
Life lived and recreated over and over again
Celuloid history living in it's own Private Idaho
Goodbye Grand Uncle of the beats

8/2/97 11:18PM

Instant memory of William Seward Burroughs

The writings of Bill,Jack and Allen have meant a lot to me
over many years. I drink a toast to Old Bull Lee may he run
with the Wild Boys in heaven.

Kristed Sherman <kristed@tiac.net>
Brooklyn, NY USA - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 00:57:07 (EDT)


I got the fear.

Bruno Bratti <bbratti@novice.uwaterloo.ca>
Waterloo, ON Canada - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 00:14:42 (EDT)


It was only a year ago I first picked up On The Road. Dean
Moriaty, Sal Paradise, Carlo Marx, and now Old Bull Lee are
all dead. The beats were the Greats, and William was the
most respected among the Beats. He outlasted them all, with
his addiction, and being the oldest, he remained. Tell all
you know to read up, especially kids my age, 17 18 years old.
We as a generation need to have the influence of the Beats
if we are to have the same impact they had on ALL of our
lives-

Jonathan Gabriel Ziegler-17

Jon G Ziegler <salparadise6@hotmail.com>
columbia, md eeuu - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 00:11:58 (EDT)


I thought he might have made some pact, that perhaps
the corpse was already walking through the streets of
the cities of the red night, and could walk on. He wrote
death and I sceamed with delight, killing it for both of us.
And now I hear the body proper with a thousand thousand
needle scars and the creases and folds of as many pages is
set to rot.
You might well wail, everyone of you who traced the
arabesques of his skin, and reached into the tissues and
the flesh, that beatiful flesh. I hope the worms will eat
his brains and trace his flights across the surface of the
earth, the skin of the world. Take his body, accept his virus
through the eyes.

laurie meade <ljmeade@hotmail.com>
Geelong , Victoria Australia - Tuesday, August 05, 1997 at 00:07:06 (EDT)


read more comments, from Sunday August 3, 1997

read more comments, from Monday August 4, 1997

Back to the Burroughs Files Memorial page

Other Burroughs related Web sites



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