Concerning William Burroughs

Iris is one of Benway’s projects. “The human body can run on
sugar alone, God damn it . . . I am aware that certain of my learned
colleagues, who are attempting to belittle my genius work, claim
that I put vitamins and proteins into Iris’s sugar clandestinely . . .
I challenge these nameless assholes to crawl up out of their la­trines
and run a spot analysis on Iris’s sugar and her tea. Iris is a
wholesome American cunt. I deny categorically that she nour­ishes
herself on semen. And let me take this opportunity to state
that I am a reputable scientist, not a charlatan, a lunatic, or a
pretended worker of miracles . . . I never claimed that Iris could
subsist exclusive on photosynthesis . . . I did not say she could
breathe in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen-1 confess I have
been tempted to experiment being of course restrained by my
medical ethics . . . In short, the vile slanders of my creeping
op­ponents will inevitably fall back onto them and come to roost like
a homing stool pigeon.” — William Burroughs, the naked lunch

I never realized how relevant Burroughs’ writing is. He is the perfect compliment to Jack Kerouac’s romantic beatniks. He’s like lightning in a bottle, mercurial and all but exercising restraint. His Benway is a respected scientist who experiments on Iris cause him great grief, like Kafka. But without work there is no life, and that is the wrong way of thinking. Too many people fail while the world is falling apart. Burroughs encapsulates the junk experience as no other.


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