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triumph of the wills pt 2

david s wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the editor of Beatdom.
he currently lives in cambodia, where he runs an irish pub.

scroll down or click on the menu at the top left to explore

peter o’toole on cambodia

In 1965, Angkor Wat would again be shown to Western audiences in the British movie, Lord Jim, staring Peter O’Toole. Parts of the Conrad-inspired story were filmed on location in Cambodia, which O’Toole despised: “The three months we spent in Cambodia were dreadful. Sheer hell. A nightmare. There we were, all of us, knee deep in lizards and all kinds of horrible insects. And everyone hating us. Awful.”

- from an article i’m writing for a french magazine.

i don’t write poetry. not any more. i did long ago, but that stopped one day. the reason: i’m not certain, but i have my suspicions, which i won’t divulge here. 

i never intended to stop writing poetry, but i never really considered myself “a poet.” recently i’ve found myself wanting to write poems, but not being able to even try. i’ll think of a line and hate it so much i stop.

recently i’ve been doing a lot of work, and that work has involved reading poetry, editing poetry, publishing poetry, and doing the same for analysis of poetry. 

of course, i’m a beat scholar. the beats were interested to some extent in the idea of spontaneous prose. at least kerouac was, and ginsberg found it vaguely useful, and burroughs essentially used it in his “automatic writing” (a gift from l ron hubbard, methinks) via kerouac. if nothing else, it worked as a way of getting words on paper, which were usually - quietly - edited to something usable. 

in any case, while editing an interview with ginsberg in which he talks about kerouac, i felt attracted to this idea of unedited poetry. i tend to over-edit. i am, after all, an editor more than a writer. but i liked the idea of liberation, so i went for it. i wrote what came into my head, per kerouac’s suggestion, and the result is this, which remains untitled: 

i want the world to stop
for a second
so i can sit and take stock
for a second
think about it all
count my blessings
assess the damage
learn my lessons
just stop and sit and think
don’t move
not worry about shopping,
e-mails, feeding cats,
app updates, cleaning,
planning
always fucking planning
need to stop making plans
got lists of lists
not literally
but it’s getting there
listing helplessly,
as they say at sea
where time means somethings
concrete
its relation to light
means something
concrete
nothing in my life means anything
concrete
i know nothing for sure
not any more
a million inclinations,
suspicions
ideas
plans
plans
plans
plans
god
damn
fucking
plans
i just wish time would stop
for a second

now i’m going to put on my ginsberg hat or my burroughs hat and get out the eraser. both writers were fastidious with their editing, and ginsberg was kind enough to offer up editorial advice to budding young poets, so it wasn’t just his own poems. 

i liked the beat and rhyme at the start, but now i think it sounds too jarring and silly as it slides into the later stages of the poem, which develops more subtly. i feel there is potential, but it does require at least some editing, so i have effectively rewritten the beginning to match the beat of the middle section, which blended nicely into the ending. 

i want the world to stop
for a second
so i can sit and take stock
think about it all
count my blessings
assess the damage.
just stop and sit and think -
don’t move -
don’t worry about shopping,
e-mails, feeding cats,
app updates, cleaning,
planning
always fucking planning
need to stop making plans
got lists of lists
not literally
but it’s getting there
listing helplessly,
as they say at sea
where time means somethings
concrete
its relation to light
means something
concrete,
nothing in my life means anything
concrete
i know nothing for sure
not any more -
just a million inclinations,
suspicions,
ideas,
plans
plans
plans
plans
god
damn
fucking
plans
i just wish time would stop
for a second

"beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction"

-

jack kerouac

(this line is taken by larry beckett, in his Beat Poetry, as the best definition of the word, “beat.”)

allen ginsberg on burroughs & scientology, 1974

recently i have been editing a collection of interviews and essays by john tytell, one of the first beat scholars. his interviews were mostly published in now-defunct publications, some lost to time, and so this is an exciting chance to hear from the likes of ginsberg, burroughs, huncke, solomon, and john clellon holmes.

in reading these interviews, i’ve come across bits and pieces that i’d never read before. the following, although it contains nothing i didn’t really know, is ginsberg talking about burroughs and scientology in 1974, when burroughs had turned against the church and was involved in a war against them. at this point he still fully believed in their technology, but not their doctrines. 

ginsberg truly understood burroughs better than anyone at the time. he was a wonderful scholar of burroughs, and this interview shows an amazing understanding of burroughs’ work that has only really been rivaled in recent yrs. 

for those of you interested in burroughs and scientology, i have to recommend my own book… but also, barry miles’ new book, Call Me Burroughs, has got a decent section of scientology, unlike the other biographies. 

please also keep an eye on beatdom.com for information pertaining to john tytell’s new book, which promises to be one of the most important beat books in recent yrs.

Allen Ginsberg: For Burroughs the problem is not so much the fact of science or experiment, as it is that it’s being controlled, that secrets are being kept – like the Army is the only one that has real license to experiment with acid anymore and maybe Scientology is another extension of the CIA network. So his idea is “All secrets out” now.

John Tytell: 

Is he still involved with the Scientologists?

AG: Only in denouncing them. He wrote a long attack on them as a fascist organization in Rolling Stone. I went to supper with him and Girodias and heard another terror story about the Scientologists – which is that Girodias published a book attacking Scientology, and they sued him to try and stop the book and they lost the suit, so they organized a letter-writing campaign to the British Home Office complaining that Girodias was a pornographer, and so the Police raided Girodias and seized 125,000 volumes and drove him out of business in England. So many things like that have happened, so Burroughs has attacked the Scientologists as an extension of the control apparatus that offers people hints of exercises that are useful, but which hangs them up in the middle of the exercise. 

enforcing darwinism

i have an idea.

here it is:

stupid people should be gotten rid of, and quickly. 

so. 

we design an algorithm that judges your social network profiles and calculates whether or not you are an idiot. it takes into consideration things like shitty grammar, prejudiced views, an affinity for pop music and other stuff i don’t like.

so basically, the algorithm chooses you and gives you a message: 

facebook now requires a three-step authentication process. firstly, your password. then we want your phone number. finally, we need to scan your fingerprints, so find the nearest electrical outlet and stick your finger in it. facebook’s patented fingerprinting technology will scan the prints and send them down the line to our headquarters!

bam.

better world.

judgmental naked hippies

i was in samudera yesterday, clutching a $100 bill and aiming to refill an entirely emptied kitchen.

my mind was wandering and i was staring at things i’d normally not bother with, like cans of kidney beans. i was looking for something different, something that’s not on the restaurant’s menu, that might be nice for a change… 

out of the corner of my eye i spied an almost naked guy walking towards me. this happens a lot in samudera, and it bothers me. the whole “cambodians are modest, wear a t-shirt” thing is ridiculous because cambodians walk around nakeder than the day they were born most of the time, but still, not in a supermarket. even back in the west, it usually says “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” yet these assholes come here and think they can do what they like…

*waves fist in air; acts like old man*

anyway, i was casually admiring the price of the beans (which was surprisingly reasonably) as the guy walked past me, saying, “this isn’t good food, man… we all gotta eat more rice and fruit.” 

and he was gone.

that was it. 

"this isn’t good food, man… we all gotta eat more rice and fruit."

can you believe that? he’s the prototypical idiot hippie - a stoned, clueless buffoon. 

eventually, after laughing out loud (lol-ing, one might say) i picked up the can of beans and saw that it had nothing in it except beans, water, and salt. 

"fuck," i thought, "it’s not organic but it’s not bad food." 

also: rice?! fruit?! that’s not healthy eating, boy, that’s just empty starch and sugar. 

"Until you’re about the age of twenty, you read everything, and you like it simply because you are reading it. Then between twenty and thirty you pick what you want, and you read the best, you read all the great works. After that you sit and wait for them to be written. But you know, the least known, the least famous writers, they are the better ones."

-Gabriel García Márquez. (via legomyeggowave)

this is wonderful.

watch it. 

steve roggenbuck fascinates me, and this video is a beautiful example of documentary-making that i think will make its subject all the more interesting to you, too.

today is special

okay, internet, listen up.

today is easter sunday, hitler’s birthday, and 4-20. 

that’s pretty fucking unusual. it only happens, like, once every few yrs.

so… internet, let’s make sure to come up with something really fucking funny. enough jesus pictures. enough 4-20 mega-spliffs. enough either not making hitler jokes or making really offensive jokes.

this is the opportunity for the perfect joke.

do not let it pass.

"getting rid of extra syntactical fat allows more perfume to verbs and nouns"

-allen ginsberg, from an interview w/ Beatdom author, john tytell.

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