Friday, July 19, 2013

QotD: "His mother had been to dancing school with “Tommy Eliot”—(His socks wouldn’t stay up. His hands were clammy." WS Burroughs

2013.07.18-IMG_4723I had an opportunity to visit St. Louis on business and stayed at the Chase Park Plaza hotel in the Central West End. I've been there before, but while browing Google Maps, I saw that the birthplace of William S. Burroughs was just around the corner. Had to stop and take a peek (as I have always found Burroughs strangely compelling, both as a writer, a person, and a personality).

So, our quote today is from the Word Virus anthology:
"ST. LOUIS RETURN (ticket to St. Louis and return in a first class room for two people who is the third that walks beside you?) After a parenthesis of more than forty years I met my old neighbor, Rives Skinker Mathews, in Tangier. I was born 4664 Berlin Avenue changed it to Pershing during the war. The Mathews family lived next door at 4660—red brick three-story houses separated by a gangway large back yard where I could generally see a rat one time or another from my bedroom window on the top floor. Well we get to talking St. Louis and “what happened to so and so” sets in and Rives Mathews really knows what happened to any so and so in St. Louis. His mother had been to dancing school with “Tommy Eliot”—(His socks wouldn’t stay up. His hands were clammy. I will show you fear in dancing school)—Allow me to open a parenthesis you see Rives Mathews had kept a scrapbook of St. Louis years and his mother left a collection of visiting cards from the capitals of Europe. I was on my way back to St. Louis as I looked through Rives’s scrapbook dim flickering pieces of T. S. Eliot rising from the pages—(But what have I my friend to give you put aside on another tray? Those cards were burned in my winter house fire, October 27,1961..."
From The Burroughs Files (1984), "St. Louis Return" (1965). As collected in Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (1998)

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