Burroughs

A Prose Poem by Ace Boggess


While I lay in bed, reading a novel by Hesse, I said to my then-wife, “I don’t think Burroughs is my favorite writer anymore.” The next morning, I read in the paper that he died. I know: coincidence, not serendipity, interconnectedness, butterflies flapping their wings in the Amazon. Reasoning couldn’t dislodge the fantasy I’d killed him by disloyalty as I targeted my whisper rifle, shushing on both ends. I devalued his swirls of literary mayhem, joining a serenity movement in long-dead Hesse’s east/west metaphysics. I had met the Buddha on the road & killed Burroughs. Or maybe you did, Reader. Didn’t you give up on him, too? Didn’t he mentor you on loosing chaos before you left his words behind? You murdered him—not as dramatically as I, & I doubt you remember that bloody choice. Distracted, you left the door open, & he wandered out into traffic, another gray-eyed, wizened, lusty hound.

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry, including MisadventureUltra Deep Field, and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.  

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