William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in conversation 1991 – 4 (Dreams – 2)

The May 27 1991 Allen Ginsberg-William Burroughs conversations we’ve been serializing all week continue here

AG sneezes, blows his nose

WSB: That’s just the cat hairs getting to you

AG: Yeah, I have a slight allergy, but it’s not so bad, usually it’s much worse. I’m really..

WSB: This is certainly a bad place for people with a cat allergy…

AG: Well I’m doing alright. I’m amazed. I’m relieved.

WSB:  …cats are all around

AG: Well your cats are very quiet.

WSB: Very quiet, yes.

AG: There’s something nice about that. I mean, they’re there, they’re very definite presences in your…  occasionally you pay a lot of attention to them, and then they’re just there meditating all the time, one place or other.

WSB: Yes, I love to have them around. I love to have them on my bed at nights. I dream about cats all the time.

AG: Really?

WSB: Naturally, there are cats. Sometimes I’ve lost my cats and am looking for my cats.

AG:  (bursts out laughing) Oh-ho-ho! That’s funny. So you concentrate on cats, so you have these death-dreams about them, you know. Being cut-off from cats, you concentrate on junk. Did you ever have dreams of being dead… and..

WSB: What?

AG: Did you ever have dreams of being dead and not being able to get a fix?, when you were younger?  – (that’s funny!)

WSB: I never had a dream about being.. not being able to get a fix.

AG: What… (not) a dream of not being able to get a fix?

WSB: Well, lots of dreams, well, naturally, when I was sick, junk-sick. That’s when you dream about junk anyway. You never get fixed, something goes wrong. It’s a need that cannot be solved, be satisfied, in a dream.

AG:  Yeah, you can’t dream a fix.

WSB:  No  And you can’t dream of satisfying thirst or hunger either. The only need that can be satisfied in a dream is sex.

AG: Yes that’s true.

WSB: The only one. Otherwise people who are hungry with hunger, or thirsty, will dream, continually, of food and water, and people who are sick, junk-sick, will dream continually of junk.  Now, trying to get fixed. There’s no.. you don’t get fixed.

Allen Ginsberg, 1992 – photo: Bruce Weber

AG: Is this continuous filming (taping) of mine bugging  you at all?

WSB: What?

AG: Is this continuous filming (taping) of mine bother you at all?

WSB: Not a bit

AG: It doesn’t bother me. I was a little self-conscious about it at first but after a while it gets to be so ordinary.

WSB: No, no not a bit, it doesn’t bother me at this point at all..

AG: I sure enjoy it. But then I keep wondering, “Am I putting off reality by..?

WSB:  I pre-edit totally taping myself. But then I’ve done it so many times I’ve got down a solid clank,  you know, it’s not a solid mass of click-click-clicks..  So many times in my life. I’m quite used to it.  I get a sort of a ..sort of a statuesque glaze

AG: Well, I keep wondering if this is (a) substitute for living. You know what Robert Frank said, he got tired of looking at the world through the focus of a Leica. That’s why he quit photography.

WSB: Really?

AG:  First of all, he was a hundred percent into that, you know, he was really good at it but he was looking at everything through that view and he finally wanted to escape from just that narrow little thing of just looking at it like this.. all of life like this!

WSB: Well.

AG: It was a very old Leica that had a very…

WSB:  Well, it’s the same way with writing, painting, film-making, right?

AG: I never get tired of doing something or other.

WSB: Well, I always rotate because

AG: That’s what I’ve been doing rotating, when you’re  writing, taping, living…

to be continued

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighteen-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-two-and-three-quarter minutes in] 


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