william s. burroughs
I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of a borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness. . . . Most survivors do not remember the delirium in detail. I apparently took detailed notes on sickness and delirium. I have no precise memory of writing the notes which have now been published under the title Naked Lunch. The title was suggested by Jack Kerouac. I did not understand what the title meant until my recent recovery. The title means exactly what the words say: NAKED Lunch--a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of the fork.
The Sickness is a drug addiction and I was an addict for fifteen years. When I say addict I mean an addict to junk (generic term for opium and/or derivatives including all synthetics from demerol to palfium.) I have used junk in many forms: morphine, heroin, dilaudid, eukodal, pantapon, diocodid, diosane, opium, demerol, dolophine, palfium. I have smoked junk, eaten it, sniffed it, injected it in vein-skin-muscle, inserted it in rectal suppositories. The needle is not important. Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction. When I speak of drug addiction I do not refer to keif, marijuana or any preparation of hashish, mescaline, Bannisteria Caapi LSD6 Sacred Mushrooms or any other drug of the hallucinogen group. . . . There is no evidence that the use of any hallucinogen results in physical dependence. The action of these drugs is physiologically opposite to the the action of junk. A lamentable confusion between the two classes of drugs has arisen owing to the the zeal of the U.S. and other narcotic departments.
I have seen the exact manner in which the junk virus operates through fifteen years of addiction. The pyramid of junk, one level eating the level below (it is no accident that junk higher-ups are always fat and the addict int eh street is always thin) right up to the top or tops since there are many junk pyramids feeding on peoples of the world all built on basic principles of monopoly:
1--Never give anything away for nothing.
2--Never give more than you have to give (always catch the buyer hungry and always make him wait).
3--Always take everything back if you possibly can.
The Pusher always gets it back. The addict needs more and more junk to maintain a human form . . . buy off the Monkey.
Testimony Concerning a Sickness
Evergreen Review, 1960