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  4. Burroughs by Robert Glück

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fleshes  his dirty  rotten  hunka  tin   I  am  right   strapped  into  head  electrodes   he sticks a gun in teen age drug   Harry S Truman decided to drop first   I am right   sequence   repeat   dim  jerky  far  away smoke   cop rat bares his yellow teet   kicks in the door   I am right   survivors burned   time and place   he throws atom bomb   knocks man to floor   you are wrong you are wrong   he was looking for are wrong   Breaks through door I’m poli   outside bar   Hiroshima   has strayed into Dillinger’s right   is making a difficult decision   right   survivors burned   mixed you child I am he kicks him into 1914 movie   if you are gay I am right   wrong   executioner   officer   I am cop   right enough you are I am right   right   wrong Pentagon   dim jerky far away smoke.
I cut up his cut-ups, allegory of an allegory of an allegory of an allegory of a waterfall of mental curlicues whose new meaning is no meaning in extremity. Is a Burroughs to eat? I am timid, abstract, complete, light fever, timid. Barefoot, yells Hey Pop, got any more Dick Tracys?  Burroughs am paying one wrecked penny for the pleasure he’s wreaking on some “boy”; shooting quarts of toxins,  skin a welcome  mat,  body  heroically disjunct Picasso  (two profiles,  left  front  high…).  The stapled urge for self-protection that…Danger is a refuge from more danger. Don’t even know what a Burroughs is.
Manhattan Project, first atom bomb test, New Mexico 1945: Oppenheimer and his boys think the planet could go critical. Oppenheimer refigures, the probability remains, “What the  hell.” So-and-so many blasts: radioactive sex causes untold genetic mutations. A carnival of giants, vile luminosity sheeting off their scales and exoskeletons, march out of that desert looking for something to eat. I don’t want to die but witness APPETITE and MURDER tread the vile luminous sand: ant spider Gila monster rattler wasp rat locust lizard grasshopper rabbit praying mantis crow ant spider wasp…The entire town of Soda Bluff stampedes down narrow canyons scattering funeral lights beneath their trembling feet. The destruction of today. Last men, mercenaries on the last patrol, eat rations with dog mouths, then fool around in caustic green dusk; they wear Mylar capes and copper-studded jockstraps. Bud’s withheld a basket musta weigh two pounds of fresh peaches. Bud squirms down with a deep sigh, odor of penetration, he says, “I want to be so embraced.” The last ant cold mandibles his thigh, a howl and spasms from Bud’s lifted body mean death. I send my own spear into the enormous insect eye shattering a thousand selves —point touched pinpoint brain, blue sparks, burning isolation, burning rubber, ant collapses, cold heap of old parts. The reason Bud dies, so that his orgasm stays beyond. I don’t wonder who I am, I wonder where I am—still, nothing to do now but kick back and wait for orders.

Robert Gluck, "Burroughs" from The World In Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave. Copyright © 2000 by Robert Gluck.  Reprinted by permission of Robert Gluck.
Source: The World In Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave (St. Martin's Press, LLC, 2000)
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  • Born in Cleveland, poet, fiction writer, editor, and New Narrative theorist Robert Glück grew up there and in Los Angeles. He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Edinburgh, the College of Art in Edinburgh, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a BA. He also studied writing in New York City workshops with poet Ted Berrigan and earned an MA at San Francisco State University.

    With Bruce Boone and other writers, Glück co-founded the New Narrative movement in San Francisco in the early 1980s. Glück’s experimental work—typically prose—infuses L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E theory with queer, feminist, and class-based discourse while exploring issues of autobiography and self. In his essay “Long Note on New Narrative,” which appeared in Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (2004), Glück stated, “We were thinking about autobiography; by autobiography we meant daydreams, nightdreams, the act of writing, the relationship to...

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