Friday, November 03, 2006

Reading. Burroughs.

I still haven't read Naked Lunch. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will. I started with Junky, and now I've turned to Queer. With the former I fell down Burroughs' rabbit-hole into the abyss of drug addiction; what was I going to find in the latter? I saw it on the bookshelf, picked it up, found in it the continuation of the story that sent shivers down my spine, the sequel to Junky. I remember reading that earlier book and feeling a sense of despair, a cold desperation; there was a rawness to his words that seemed to grate against my soul the way a fall on concrete might leave your hands scraped and bleeding.

The story trails off into nothingness (as memory serves), into, as Burroughs writes in the foreward to his sequel, a dead end; "Lee has reached the end of his line, an end implicit in the beginning." It felt incomplete, perhaps it was meant to, and I was surprised to find that the story continued on in another novel. I wasn't sure what I would find with Queer. We are back in Mexico City, Lee coming off the junk and into the inescapable longing for the young Allerton, who has not realized that he is the object of desire for this strange man who has somehow become his friend. The hunger, the longing for something unattainable - or is it? I have not yet finished the story - insinuates itself into the brain, shudders along the skin like a touch. Who needs drugs when there is love, or at least the hunger for someone else?

In Burroughs I found, as with the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, someone whose words shredded everything I believed into bits of confetti that I would have to put together into something new. The way he uses words, the way he describes the Mexico City of his wanderings, the way he describes Lee's feelings for Allerton, the easy way he slips through the pages as his characters slip through the city streets in search of drugs, drink, love...

to be continued...

1 comment:

Juanita J. Sanchez said...

Love, drugs; surprisingly similar in their addictive qualities, or so I would imagine. Humans are pleasure-seeking animals. Maybe we all have our addictions, only some are more socially acceptable than others.