❝ Love will take us to higher plaines
Love makes us feel alive
Love is painful
Love kills ❞
❝ Thou hast the keys of Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty Opium! ❞ — Thomas de Quincey
❝ There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve. ❞ — William S. Burroughs
❝ When you stop growing you start dying. ❞ — William S. Burroughs
📙 Confessions of an English Opium Eater
— Thomas de Quincey (1821)
Describing the surreal hallucinations, insomnia and nightmarish visions he experienced while consuming large quantities of opium, De Quincey waxes lyrical on the associated pleasures and pains. De Quincey arguably scrutinise his life, somewhat obsessively in an attempt to articulate and understand better his own identity. The work portrays a nervous (postmodern?) self-awareness, a spiralling obsession with the enigmas of one’s own composition and relative (in)significance.
Critics broadly agree that The Confessions forges a clear link between artistic self-expression and addiction. According to Martin Geeson, what makes the book technically remarkable is its use of a majestic neoclassical style to confessional writing (of the rather romantic kind). The Confessions is a work of immense sophistication and certainly one of the most impressive and influential of the autobiographies of that century. Moreover, there’s a general consensus that it paved the way for later generations of literary drug-takers from Charles P. Baudelaire — “always be a poet, even in prose” — to William S. Burroughs.
— William S. Burroughs (1953)
Junky is semi-autobiographical work that focuses on Burroughs’ life as a drug user and dealer. It has come to be considered a seminal text on the lifestyle of heroin addicts in mid-20th c. America.
📙 Naked Lunch
— William S. Burroughs (1959)
Naked Lunch is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. These vignettes are drawn from Burroughs’ own experiences on the road and his addiction to drugs: heroin, morphine and, while in Morocco, majoun (which is a strong strain of hashish). The book was included in Time magazine’s “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.”
William S. Burroughs on 3/25/81 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)
I’ll not lie, I studied him several semesters ago and, the poem that is obsessing my thoughts now (a highly charged and thinly veiled critique of the duplicity of the powers that be), its name I cannot recall; it is in here somewhere:
Reading is key…
…but that anthology’s at the house I dwell in and I am here on this hallowed campus, this poisoned chalice, where life’s been lived, where love was found and, alas, where love was lost. For now, for the right here and right now, I’ll post this (on love & loss):
❝ Farewell, false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason. –
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait. –
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend,
A siren song, a fever of the mind,
A maze wherein affection finds no end,
A raging cloud that runs before the wind,
A substance like the shadow of the sun,
A goal of grief for which the wisest run. –
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear,
A path that leads to peril and mishap,
A true retreat of sorrow and despair,
An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure’s lap,
A deep mistrust of that which certain seems,
A hope of that which reason doubtful deems. –
Sith then thy trains my younger years betrayed,
And for my faith ingratitude I find;
And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed,
Whose course was ever contrary to kind:
False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew. ❞ — Sir Walter Ralegh
And this (on life & loss):
❝ Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us nought but age and dust;
Which in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days!
And from which grave, and earth, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust. ❞ — Sir Walter Ralegh
Dwell on his works awhile, they are profound and powerful. He was much more than a swashbuckling pirate with a crush on the virgin qween.
To engage in daring and romantic adventures with bravado or flamboyance. A swashbuckler is a heroic archetype in European adventure literature that is typified by the use of a sword, acrobatics and chivalric ideals.
❝ love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail –
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea –
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive –
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky ❞ — E. E. Cummings (1939)
What is love? Oh Jay. . . what you on about? Me! Well, I’ll tell you my precious pearl, my turtle dove, the tea leaf who has rendered me Radio Rental. I’m going on about love and according to my interpretation of the poem, love is in fact, utterly ev-re:think. Moreover, as is evidenced in life and the poem, love is an oxymoron (oh! Ox.).
love is more thicker than forget / more thinner than recall
❝ Love can make us higher than satellites in the sky, and lower than pressure pulverised submarines irretrievably sunk in the Romanche Trench (i.e., more than 25 thousand feet below sea level in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Rift). ❞
Well, where to start? This poem, in essence, tells us how contrary, complex and all consuming love can be — I ain’t being an arrogant British man, And, I ain’t being a spoiled Kuwaiti princess, but I’ll say this: you’ll only get this poem’s import/message if you have actually lived through (or are living through) a painfully intense and incredibly fraught affair of love, and I’ll say this: the poem’s usage of opposite adjectives to describe love illustrates that love is concomitantly good and bad (for one’s mental state), love is pleasure and love is pain, love is bitter and love is sweet, love is rough and love is smooth.
Highlighting love’s complexity is the continual usage of juxtaposition throughout the poem. The most notable juxtaposition in the poem is referring to love as both “most sane and sunly” and “most mad and moonly.” This emphasises love’s naturalness (to humankind only?) and at the same time its utter irrationality (we don’t need love to reproduce and rear do we?). Love is every-FUCKING-thing. It can make us more alive than any-FUCKING-thing else. It can make us deader than dead and number (nummber not numBer 😉) than numb in the merest of instances. It is: the be all. It is: the end all. Love can indeed circumference the spectrum of human expression: “fleeting (rare), yet common (everywhere).” As exemplified in the poem:
mad as the moon / sane as the sun
Like all works of literature, imagery is key in seeking to create a palpable connection in the reader’s mind’s eye to what the author is seeking to articulate and convey. Does what she’s banging on about (does what he’s harping on about) strike a chord with you (dear reader)?
The poem is written in four quatrains, making it iambic tetrameter (thus a balad?). It has (I think) the following rhyme scheme A B A B C D C D E F E F C G C G. This gives the poem precise rhythm. Furthermore, all of the independent clauses are connected to the first word: “Love.” Finally, in terms of rhyme and repetition, you’ll note that every other one rhymes at the end.
it is most sane and sunly / and more it cannot die / than all the sky which only / is higher than the sky
— The use of the letter “m” in “it is most mad and moonly”, using the letter “L” in the third verse, and the letter “s” in the last verse are all examples of alliterations. In stanza one, we’ve three lines starting with ‘more’ and in the third stanza, three lines starting with ‘less’ this too gives the poem precise rhythm.
Imagery 01. The Sea — Love has a greater depth than the ocean, a natural element of Earth that is literally so deep humans only know only a small fraction of it — we can’t really fathom its vastness. We might then say, referencing the sea makes the reader associate love with such limitless depths and expanses.
02. The Sky (and the sun and the moon) — Cummings expresses love’s infinitude by stating that it is “higher than the sky.” Again this reinforces the extent to which love’s power and gravitational pull can be limitless.
— This poem has many metaphors; arguably the whole poem is a metaphor. “Love is more thicker than forget” is a metaphor and so is, “it is most sane and sunly.”
— Love lightens one’s mood, love darkens one’s mood; we’ve sunny days, we’ve moonlit nights. So the poem’s mood is both upbeat and downcast; excepting of fate and fighting fate. It is then — in my own view — heavy; a mood that’s ultimately heavy on the soul.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response. –
It occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers. –
This psychological connection develops over the course of the days, weeks, months, or even years of captivity or abuse.
Love will tear us apart;
You’ve stolen my heart. 1) The second coming: Am I Dreaming?
2) Did I ruin you?
3) The second coming: Am I Dreaming?
4) Have you ruined me?
5) The second coming: Am I Dreaming?
6) A new beginning? The final ending? Love will tear us apart;
You’ve stolen my heart.