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xii. a conversation with william s. burroughs, Dante Émile

CW: mentions of death & murder

“Death is only waiting for something to begin,”

late beat poet William S. Burroughs told me in a dream.

Sitting in front of me, somber as the grave he’s held in, a long table spread between


and a vase of withered daisies as a centerpiece.

“Why did you kill your wife?” I ask him.

Next to him sits a man who is not a man with a face that’s not quite a face.

“The bullet was always in her, I simply aimed at temptation.”

The man who is not a man has bees in his eyes and swallows bible pages.

Take off the grave clothes and let him go.

I tell him: “Bullshit. You should’ve gone to jail.”

He tells me: “Stop forcing coffins open.”

He tells me: “Who among us doesn’t have blood on their hands.”

The tombs were open and the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

The face that is not a face is crying a rainforest.

In front of me, a bowl filled with baby teeth.

“The only blood I’ve spilled has been my own.”

“A murder of the self is still a murder,” his glasses turn to mirrors. “And perhaps

that’s why you’re here. To get an alibi.”

“No one believes a ghost.”

“Then you should run and tell them,” the man who is not a man says, with a mouth

that is not a mouth, “before they forget how your voice sounds.”


Dante Émile is a Mexican, gay, transmasculine author based in Barcelona. They write both in English and Spanish about topics such as death, God, love and horror, and sometimes about two or more of them at the same time. They are currently working on a poetry book titled MISPLACED ORGANS & VARIOUS SAINTS.

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