I AM DYING, MEESTER?by William Burroughs
Panama clung to our bodies—Probably cut—Anything made this dream—It has consumed the customers of fossil orgasm—Ran into my old friend Jones—So badly off, forgotten, coughing in 1920 movie—Vaudeville voices hustle sick dawn breath on bed service—Idiot Mambo spattered backwards—I nearly suffocated trying on the boy’s breath—That’s Panama—Nitrous flesh swept out by your voice and end of receiving set—Brain eating birds patrol the low frequency brain waves—Post card waiting forgotten civilians ‘and they are all on jelly fish, Meester—Panama photo town—Dead post card of junk.’
Sad hand down backward time track—Genital pawn ticket peeled his stale underwear—Brief boy on screen laughing my skivvies all the way down—Whispers of dark street in Puerto Assis—Meester smiles through the village wastrel—Orgasm siphoned back telegram: ‘Johnny pants down.’—(That stale summer dawn smell in the garage—Vines twisting through steel—Bare feet in dog’s excrement.)
Panama clung to our bodies from Las Palmas to David on camphor sweet smells of cooking paregoric—Burned down the republic—The druggist no glot clom Fliday—Panama mirrors of 1910 under seal in any drug store—He threw in the towel, morning light on cold coffee—
Junk kept nagging me: ‘Lushed in East St. Louis, I knew you’d come scraping bone—Once a junky always spongy and rotten—I knew your life—Junk sick four days there.’
Stale breakfast table—Little cat smile—Pain and death smell of his sickness in the room with me—Three souvenir shots of Panama city—Old friend came and stayed all day—Face eaten by ‘I need more’—I have noticed this in the New World—‘You come with me, Meester?’
And Joselito moved in at Las Playas during the essentials—Stuck in this place—Iridescent lagoons, swamp delta, gas flares—Bubbles of coal gas still be saying ‘A ver, Luckees!’ a hundred years from now—A rotting teak wood balcony propped up by Ecuador.
‘The brujo began crooning a special case—It was like going under ether into the eyes of a shrunken head—Numb, covered with layers of cotton—Don’t know if you got my last hints trying to break out of this numb dizziness with Chinese characters—All I want is out of here—Hurry up please—Took possession of me—How many plots have made a botanical expedition like this before they could take place?—Scenic railways—I am dying cross wine dizziness—I was saying over and over “shifted commissions where the awning flaps” Flashes in front of my eyes your voice and end of the line.’
That whining Panama clung to our bodies—I went into Chico’s Bar on mouldy pawn ticket, waiting in 1920 movie for a rum coke—Nitrous flesh under this honky tonk swept out by your voice: ‘Driving Nails In My Coffin’—Brain eating birds patrol ‘Your Cheating Heart’—Dead post card waiting a place forgotten—Light concussion of 1920 movie—Casual adolescent had undergone special G.I. processing—Evening on the boy’s flesh naked—Kept trying to touch in sleep—‘Old photographer trick wait for Johnny—Here goes Mexican cemetery.’ On the sea wall met a boy with red and white striped T shirt—P.G. town in the purple twilight—The boy peeled off his stale underwear scraping erection—Warm rain on the iron roof—Under the ceiling fan stood naked on bed service—Bodies touched electric film, contact sparks tingled—Fan whiffs of young hard on washing adolescent T shirt—The blood smells drowned voices and end of the line—That’s Panama—Sad movie drifting in islands of rubbish, black lagoons and fish people waiting a place forgotten—Fossil honky tonk swept out by a ceiling fan—Old photographer trick tuned them out.
‘I am dying, Meester?’
Flashes in front of my eyes naked and sullen—Rotten dawn wind in sleep—Death rot on Panama photo where the awning flaps.
Excerpt from The Yage Letters Redux by William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, edited by Oliver Harris—forthcoming in June from City Lights Press.