Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Naked Lunch

No, not this one, but bon appetit, gentlemen.

This one:

More specifically, this part:

"The Talking Asshole " David Turley Reads William S. Burroughs from Yves Roy and the Wacky Ballerina on Vimeo.

I first read Naked Lunch at 18 or so, because that's what "cool" young men are supposed to be reading at that age. It would be dishonest to say that I had a vague inkling of what was going on. It took decades of living, and trolling through dark places, both externally and internally, before it started to make sense. That could be considered a good or a bad thing, depending on how willing you are to integrate your weird stuff with your day-to-day practice of getting by.

The Man Who Taught His Asshole to Talk... strikes me as a metaphor for... something. Perhaps the parlor tricks we practice to make ourselves more palatable to the world at large, when we are afraid that just showing up isn't enough. There was a movie trailer some years ago that stated in an ominous voice, "IF YOU PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING FOR LONG ENOUGH, YOU BECOME IT," or something of the sort. That's the gist of it anyway.

Naked Lunch was not a book I "got" all at once. It came to me in fractured bone splinters, at times as an epiphany, and others a nightmare. I read somewhere that Burroughs had taken the original manuscript and tore it in two, shuffled the pages, and put it together as published. It can read like that, until you are lying in bed one night having read it for the tenth time, and you realize that life is just like that... torn, shuffled, and reassembled. Parts of the narrative are cohesive, and others surreal, and you are left to sort through it all and accept it as is.

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