8/26/17

Burroughs Snubbed Me



Henry in a different room, using different type-set, superstitious and wondering if he could write? He was on a roll— his last 4 stories with over 100 hits a piece. 

He had written 10 stories dealing with night-time walks in Queens.  Henry afraid to break out of the pattern, opting for the tried and true. 

Saturday night in Queens, Henry bolted out of his apartment at 10pm. As usual going to Chaim's Deli for a snack, needing fuel—Espresso mixed with Arak, mustard sardines and raw onion slices on pumpernickel . 

Eating quick, in and out of  Chaims in 10 minutes, lighting a beedi, inhaling the night-air, eyeing a group of hookers up the street, card carrying cock-suckers, doped-up to the max, jazzed. As he approached the group one of the girls says “Hi Henry,” he says “How’s tricks baby?” she saying, “Oh Henry you're a doll,” heart-felt chatter and yak.

Henry moving down the street past the hookers walking through the Bowery,  bypassing the bums, green at the smell of puke and piss. The bums barely hanging on to the last rung of life, uncaring, good for nothing, he hated them. 

Heading uptown to The Museum of Modern Art.  Ruby (Henry’s regular waitress at Chaims) had mentioned that William Burroughs was going to read at the museum tonight. He could see a herd of punks with fluorescent hair in motion, shaking, snorting something at the museum entrance. This must be it he thought.

Walking in like he owned the place, the reading was in the basement, a bunker far from the modern art.  There was a roped off area at the rear of the cement hall, Henry walked in telling security he was a reporter for The Columbia Times. There was a buffet of sorts, rye-bread, cold-cuts, some cakes and fruit on a long table. Henry could see William Burroughs standing and holding court, a paper plate in hand, talking to some literati. He approached William Burroughs and said “ Bill Burroughs nice to meet you,” the colonel took a look at Henry, sized him up and did an about face and walked away. 

Henry didn’t hit it off with Burroughs, He (Henry) sitting cross-legged on the cement floor, in the audience as William Burroughs was introduced by a local poet, a guy they called Antler. The colonel getting down to business reading a poem—

I was standing by the wax before dead whistle stop already

cross the red moon terminal time scarred end.

he strode towards the actors in the city "Here he is now"

obsidian morning sniffing quivering need masturbating afternoons

spitting blood dead rainbow flesh he moved as sharp as

on the iron streets fish smell and dead eyes water reeds


scarred metal faces running into the mines liquid typewriter


So on and so forth, Henry thought Burrough's poetry was odious, then one of the punks hands him a baggy with clear liquid in the bottom, Henry says, “ No thanks mate I’m in NA, off the stuff.” 

Henry nodding out some during the reading, then waking as Burroughs rants  “ His sphincter shuddering, in Tangiers junked—”


Nothing was working here tonight from start to finish, Henry out the door, not staying for the big finish, thinking it would be better next time.  

No comments: