Naked Lunch Quotes

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Naked Lunch Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
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Naked Lunch Quotes (showing 1-30 of 66)
“You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Did I ever tell you about the man
who taught his asshole to talk?

His whole abdomen would move up and down,
you dig, farting out the words.

It was unlike anything I ever heard.

Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound.

A sound you could smell.

This man worked for the carnival,you dig?

And to start with it was
like a novelty ventriloquist act.

After a while,
the ass started talking on its own.

He would go in
without anything prepared...

and his ass would ad-lib
and toss the gags back at him every time.

Then it developed sort of teethlike...

little raspy incurving hooks
and started eating.

He thought this was cute at first
and built an act around it...

but the asshole would eat its way through
his pants and start talking on the street...

shouting out it wanted equal rights.

It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags.
Nobody loved it.

And it wanted to be kissed,
same as any other mouth.

Finally, it talked all the time,
day and night.

You could hear him for blocks,
screaming at it to shut up...

beating at it with his fists...

and sticking candles up it, but...

nothing did any good,
and the asshole said to him...

"It is you who will shut up
in the end, not me...

"because we don't need you
around here anymore.

I can talk and eat and shit."

After that, he began waking up
in the morning with transparentjelly...

like a tadpole's tail
all over his mouth.

He would tear it off his mouth
and the pieces would stick to his hands...

like burning gasoline jelly
and grow there.

So, finally, his mouth sealed over...

and the whole head...

would have amputated spontaneously
except for the eyes, you dig?

That's the one thing
that the asshole couldn't do was see.

It needed the eyes.

Nerve connections were blocked...

and infiltrated and atrophied.

So, the brain couldn't
give orders anymore.

It was trapped inside the skull...

sealed off.

For a while, you could see...

the silent, helpless suffering
of the brain behind the eyes.

And then finally
the brain must have died...

because the eyes went out...

and there was no more feeling in them
than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Confusion hath fuck his masterpiece.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Last night I woke up with someone squeezing my hand. It was my other hand.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“I was standing outside myself trying to stop those hangings with ghost fingers... I am a ghost wanting what every ghost wants-a body-after the Long Time moving through odorless alleys of space where no life is, only the colorless no smell of death...Nobody can breath and smell it through pink convolutions of gristle laced with crystal snot, time shit and black blood filters of flesh.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing... I am a recording instrument... I do not presume to impose “story” “plot” “continuity”... Insofar as I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function... I am not an entertainer...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“When he smiled the fear flew away in little pieces of light...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“It is not the intensity but the duration of pain that breaks the will to resist.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“If all pleasure is relief from tension, junk affords relief from the whole life process, in disconnecting the hypothalamus, which is the center of psychic energy and libido.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“I know this one pusher walks around humming a tune and everybody he passes takes it up. He is so grey and spectral and anonymous they don't see him and think it is their own mind humming the tune.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“The study of thinking machines teaches us more about the brain than we can learn by introspective methods. Western man is externalizing himself in the form of gadgets.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“The face of "evil" is always the face of total need. A dope fiend is a man in total need of dope. Beyond a certain frequency need knows absolutely no limit or control. In the words of total need: "Wouldn't you?" Yes you would. You would lie, cheat, inform on your friends, steal, do anything to satisfy total need. Because you would be in a state of total sickness, total possession, and not in a position to act in any other way. Dope fiends are sick people who cannot act other than they do. A rabid dog cannot choose but bite.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“In the City Market is the Meet Café. Followers of obsolete, unthinkable trades doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, pushers of souped-up harmine, junk reduced to pure habit offering precarious vegetable serenity, liquids to induce Latah, Tithonian longevity serums, black marketeers of World War III, excusers of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, bureaucrats of spectral departments, officials of unconstituted police states, a Lesbian dwarf who has perfected operation Bang-utot, the lung erection that strangles a sleeping enemy, sellers of orgone tanks and relaxing machines, brokers of exquisite dreams and memories tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, doctors skilled in the treatment of diseases dormant in the black dust of ruined cities, gathering virulence in the white blood of eyeless worms feeling slowly to the surface and the human host, maladies of the ocean floor and the stratosphere, maladies of the laboratory and atomic war... A place where the unknown past and the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum... Larval entities waiting for a Live One...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Well as, one judge said to the other, 'Be just and if you can't be just be arbitrary.' Regret cannot observe customary obscenities.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“You see, control can never be a means to any practical end...It can never be a means to anything but more control...like junk..”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“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.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“O death where is thy sting? The man is never on time...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“He is a boy sleeping against the mosque wall, ejaculates wet dreaming into a thousand cunts pink and smooth as sea shells...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“What's with the serum?"
I don't know, but it sounds ominous. We better put a telepathic direction finder on Benway. The man's not to be trusted. Might do almost anything...Turn a massacre into a sex orgy..."
Or a joke."
Precisely. Arty type...No principles...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Ever see a hot shot hit, kid? I saw the Gimp catch one in Philly. We rigged his room with a one-way whorehouse mirror and charged a sawski to watch it. He never got the needle out of his arm. They don't if the shot is right. That's the way they find them, dropper full of clotted blood hanging out of a blue arm. The look in his eyes when it hit --- Kid, it was tasty.

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“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.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Exterminate all rational thought”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch: The Restored Text
“Rock and Roll adolescent hoodlums storm the streets of all nations. They rush into the Louvre and throw acid in the Mona Lisa’s face.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“If you wish to alter or annihilate a pyramid of numbers in a serial relation, you alter or remove the bottom number. If we wish to annihilate the junk pyramid, we must start with the bottom of the pyramid: the Addict in the Street, and stop tilting quixotically for the "higher ups" so called, all of whom are immediately replaceable. The addict in the street who must have junk to live is the one irreplaceable factor in the junk equation. When there are no more addicts to buy junk there will be no junk traffic. As long as junk need exists, someone will service it.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Naked Mr. America, burning frantic with self bone love, screams out: "My asshole confounds the Louvre! I fart ambrosia and shit pure gold turds! My cock spurts soft diamonds in the morning sunlight!”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“The boys eat happily looking into each other’s eyes. Blood runs down their chins.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Did any of you ever see Doctor Tetrazzini perform? I say perform advisedly because his operations were performances. He would start by throwing a scalpel across the room into the patient and then make his entrance as a ballet dancer. His speed was incredible: "I don't give them time to die", he would say. Tumors put him in a frenzy of rage. "Fucking undisciplined cells!" he would snarl, advancing on the tumor like a knife-fighter.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch: The Restored Text
“Take a shot in front of D.L. Probing for a vein in my dirty bare foot… Junkies have no shame… They are impervious to the repugnance of others. It is doubtful if shame can exist in the absence of sexual libido… The junky’s shame disappears with his nonsexual sociability which is also dependent on libido…”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
“Like pregnant women lose their teeth feeding the stranger, junkies lose their yellow fangs feeding the monkey.”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

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