My writing artist choice for today is American essayist, novelist, painter and spoken word performer William Seward Burroughs II. He authored 18 satirical and semi-autobiographical novels. His first novel Junkie speaks of his heroin addiction that began while serving in WWII. Naked Lunch was his third novel which sparked a controversial court case about sodomy laws. Burroughs attributes the motivation behind his writing to his accidental shooting of his second wife Joan Vollmer in drunken game of William Tell. He admits to this in his second novel Queer which was written while he awaited trial. Later in life, he became more of a performer, playing in film roles, plays and punk bands. Burroughs released the spoken word album Smack My Crack in the late 1980’s. He also experimented with painting at this time using shotguns to shoot spray paint cans on to canvasses and applying mixed media. His art has been shown in over 5o galleries and museums worldwide. Below I give you his poem Spain and 42 St.
Spain & 42 St.
Language like muttering pant smells running silver scanning
Passed down the Arab Street in the gutter patterns
Translucent medium from its like i talky you of a place
the vacuum of silent panic forgotten red mud flats
sharp fish syllables where is he now? he moved as sharp as water
assassins smile and drink he was caught reeds
broken into scanning patterns in the zoo of legs
dawn words falling fish talk the liquid typewriter spitting blood
where flesh circulates he strode toward flesh of red dusk laugh
purple gills stirring dead whistle stop Spain and 42 st.
its like reeds on the face circulates up through the dark excuses
where flesh identity dawn words falling stirring slow
gills of purple sleep he was caught in the zoo it is no death
where flesh circulates unbelief staring out from dawn skin
of Spain and 42 St.
- William S. Burroughs