Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker
Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting
Tom Veitch, “YES, IAM WILLIAM BURROUGHS. . . .,” from C: A Journal of Poetry Volume One, Number 10 (1965)
“What a glory to be a writer — to do
something absolutely useless and to
have the world love you for it!”
(trans. R. Gallup)
I knew a fellow the only book he ever read was Naked Lunch — go in the automat any day, and there he was dunking pound cake and reading Naked Lunch. Finished it like clockwork every Saturday night, took it up again Sunday morning like going to mass.
Once I asked him why he didn’t try something else. He just gave me that cold, undersea look and dunked a chunk of pound cake in his coffee (I watched while he attempted to get the soaking cake through the stiff erectile hairs that rimmed his round brown gristle mouth –)
“Hell,” he said, “clom fliday — Flame Thrower Police — disintegrate in green syrup — spotted Reptiles with flexible skulls — sucking translucent bacillus cock — disconnect artificial kidneys — aftosa fore and aft — carious yellow teeth — elastic metabolism — razor-sharp stools of white satin — bulbocapnine potientiated with curare — and like that –” And he sniffed and sucked stringy black snot into his nosepipe . . . .I felt I was being condescended to . . . .
“I’m afraid I don’t quite understand,” I said. “Surely you’ve absorbed some strange language and are having trouble speaking in your native.” I gave him my best questioning look and watched for some sort of reaction from his dead, periscope eyes. . . . He merely reached a nab of pound cake that had fallen on the floor, brushed the dirt off of it, and dunked it with undersea fingers, shiny over the dirt, resting his intersection points on my sleeve . . .
“Clom fliday — hideous fluorescent aphrodisiacs — mountainous regions of maximum flexibility — organized coercion — liquefaction of protoplasmic core — intelligent annihilation — deteriorated liver cells — Nigger don’t let the sun set on you here! — uremia odors whimpering green under the vacant lot — portentiously inconspicuous — and more of the same –”
“Hmm. I see what you mean. Or rather I gather an impression of your feeling — amounts to the same thing, I guess . . . .”
“. . .thickly carpeted brocaded chair — northern sky, drifting clouds — green glacial winds, silent wings — sound of water sprinkler –”
“Yes, well my friend, you’re welcome to it. I prefer my humdrum and hobnob, must be going now. Back at the office at ten, you know. . .”
“. . .broken images — wadded banknote — spectral, coughing corridors — grey dishwater smell of flophouses — broken porticoes and smeared arabesques, iron urinals worn paper thin — cold, intense, impersonal and predatory . . . .”
“See you tomorrow then?” I watched for some register of my parting . . . .None. “Clom fliday . . .? Even that didn’t work . . . . “son las cosas de la vida . . . .esta mucho . . . .tant mierda . . . .como chinga?”
“. . . .So I shoot that old nigger and he flop on his side one leg up in the air just akicking.”
“Yeah, but you ever burn a nigger?”
“Funny thing those citizens turn all black and their legs drop off?”
Reaching for pound cake I found the lead tubule lying on the cold surface of the table . . . .a quick cut with my rusty blade . . . .black boiling fur, steaming fuzz through the stiff erectile hairs of my nose. . . .
“No glot, clom fliday . . .”
“The very same thing occurred to me.”
“Fifth floor . . .Room twenty-six. . .”
“Have you seen Pantopon Rose?”