Naked Lunch

This book is a kick to the stomach. It’s a contrast against the candy of pop culture and muzak and advertisement. And it’s also a contrast against the typically inspiring and relatable work of the proceeding Beatniks.

Naked lunch is disgusting, but perhaps it’s not meant to be enjoyed. That might’ve been my mistake. This isn’t epiphany or interesting outskirt experience by way of drugs. This is chaos and delirium by way of drugs, described in somehow articulate, if not also chaotic, poetic detail. And that is impressive and worthwhile, but it’s no Dharma Bums. Is it a warning? It is it an invitation? Is it someone else's catharsis, not meant to be read, but required to have been written? At minimum, it teaches the lay marijuana civilian something about what kind of chaos is possible in the world, in the individual.

I remember reading Waiting for Godot and getting to the hanging masturbation scene. There the act seemed metaphorical. Sex and death, both relatable, both real, both inspiring, held up against the light of nihilism, only to be found also empty. But in Naked Lunch you get the impression that Burroughs might’ve actually seen some of this shit, maybe even participated. Is that what’s down there, beyond the fishbowl and into the ocean? Both books were published 6 years apart, apparently, some 60 years ago. Coincidence? Apparently Waiting for Godot’s author Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs met at some point. So coincidence, I guess not.