William S. Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II

William S.
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
1914
1997

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer

Author Quotes

Junk takes everything and gives nothing but insurance against junk sickness.

Like Spain, I am bound to the past.

Most serious writers refuse to make themselves available to the things that technology is doing. I've never been able to understand this sort of fear.

No worse fate can befall a man than to be surrounded by traitor souls.

Political conflicts are merely surface manifestations. If conflicts arise you may be sure that certain powers intend to keep this conflict under operation since they hope to profit from the situation. To concern yourself with surface political conflicts is to make the mistake of the bull in the ring, you are charging the cloth. That is what politics is for, to teach you the cloth. Just as the bullfighter teaches the bull, teaches him to follow, obey the cloth.

Speaking for myself, art differs from writing in that I never know what I'm going to paint until I paint it, so it's almost like automatic writing. A writer, on the other hand, can't help but know what he's going to write, because the activity demands a degree of premeditation.

The boys eat happily looking into each other?s eyes. Blood runs down their chins.

The hallucinogens produce visionary states, sort of, but morphine and its derivatives decrease awareness of inner processes, thoughts and feelings. They are pain killers; pure and simple. They are absolutely contraindicated for creative work, and I include in the lot alcohol, morphine, barbiturates, tranquilizers ? the whole spectrum of sedative drugs.

The self is like a pimping blackmailing chauffeur who gets you from here to there on word lines.

There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.

To his secretary after a visit from Kurt Cobain, There's something wrong with that boy. He frowns for no reason.

We?re not fighting for a scrap of sharecropper immortality with the strings hanging off it like Mafioso spaghetti. We want the whole tamale. The Johnsons are taking over the Western Lands. We built it with our brains and our hands. We paid for it with our blood and our lives. It?s ours and we?re going to take it. And we are not applying in triplicate to the Immortality Control Board. Anybody gets in our way we will get our communal back against a rock or a tree and fight the way a raccoon will fight a fucking dog.

When you cut into the present, the future leaks out.

You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.

I feel that any form of so called psychotherapy is strongly contraindicated for addicts. The question Why did you start using narcotics in the first place? should never be asked. It is quite as irrelevant to treatment as it would be to ask a malarial patient why he went to a malarial area.

I think there are innumerable gods. What we on earth call God is a little tribal God who has made an awful mess. Certainly forces operating through human consciousness control events.

If you rap your knuckles against a window jamb or door, if you brush your leg against a bed or desk, if you catch your foot in a curled-up corner of a rug, or strike a toe against a desk or chair, go back and repeat the sequence. You will find yourself surprised how far off course you were to hit that window jamb, that door, that chair. Get back on course and do it again. How can you pilot a spacecraft if you can't find your way around your own apartment?

In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen.

Junk turns the user into a plant. Plants do not feel pain since pain has no function in a stationary organism. Junk is a pain killer. A plant has no libido in the human or animal sense. Junk replaces the sex drive. Seeding is the sex of the plant and the function of opium is to delay seeding. Perhaps the intense discomfort of withdrawal is the transition from plant back to animal, from a painless, sexless, timeless state back to sex and pain and time, from death back to life.

Lola?s was not exactly a bar. It was a small beer-and-soda joint. There was a Coca-Cola box full of beer and soda and ice at the left of the door as you came in. A counter with tube-metal stools covered in yellow glazed leather ran down one side of the room as far as the jukebox. Tables were lined along the wall opposite the counter. The stools had long since lost the rubber caps for the legs and made horrible screeching noises when the maid pushed them around to sweep. There was a kitchen in back, where a slovenly cook fried everything in rancid fat. There was neither past nor future in Lola?s. The place was a waiting room, where certain people checked in at certain times.

My ass is worth more than the Louvre! My farts are ambrosia and shit pure gold turds. My dick soft diamond casts morning sun.

Nobody's busting into YOUR apartment at three in the morning, are they? Well, then don't worry about what they're doing in South Korea and places like that. It's like the standard of living. Are you content to achieve your higher standard of living at the expense of people all over the world who've got a lower standard of living? Most Americans would say yes. Now we ask the question, are you content to enjoy your political freedom at the expense of people who are less free? I think they would also say yes.

Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.

Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence - their speech centres are destroyed - except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony.

The broken image of Man moves in minute by minute and cell by cell.... Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.

Author Picture
First Name
William S.
Last Name
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
Birth Date
1914
Death Date
1997
Bio

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer