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2001-04-26

William S. Burroughs
B. 2.5.14 St. Louis, Missouri / D. 8.2.97 Lawrence, Kansas
Heart Attack

What do you do with yourself instead of calling friends on the phone or watching Must See TV? Well, I’ve been going into my room after dinner and writing dialogues about dead people. Then when it’s late I come out and put them in the computer.
You post them on the Internet. I do.
Are you interesting? Are you a rebel? Are you anyone that anyone else would ever think about and think Whoa!? Do you live life on the edge? Do you shamble through gray dawns to your flophouse bed? Or do you live in a converted bomb shelter? Do people call you “Doc”? Do you call other people “Doc”? Do you smell of urine? Can you smoke without using your hands? What is your pedigree? Can you recite the names of pharmaceuticals? Have you shot someone to death? Are you getting good mileage out of paranoia? Are you like some kind of sage? William Burroughs, although not a free spirit, was the great North American romantic poet of portable post-war technology—read The Job, he wants to change the world, he thinks it can be done using tape recorders in crowds.
Whatever. We are missing his face on a billboard huge over Soho; his eyes, rheumy, stricken by their own stoniness, staring out over Tokyo, Paris, Las Vegas, Bombay; his age-spattered oyster mushroom clump of a hand holding a Nokia cellphone to the shelter offered by an old fedora brim.

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