Quotes from Junky

William S. Burroughs ·  208 pages

Rating: (46.2K votes)


“When you stop growing you start dying.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“The question is frequently asked: Why does a man become a drug addict?
The answer is that he usually does not intend to become an addict. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to be a drug addict. It takes at least three months’ shooting twice a day to get any habit at all. And you don’t really know what junk sickness is until you have had several habits. It took me almost six months to get my first habit, and then the withdrawal symptoms were mild. I think it no exaggeration to say it takes about a year and several hundred injections to make an addict.
The questions, of course, could be asked: Why did you ever try narcotics? Why did you continue using it long enough to become an addict? You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in the other direction. Junk wins by default. I tried it as a matter of curiosity. I drifted along taking shots when I could score. I ended up hooked. Most addicts I have talked to report a similar experience. They did not start using drugs for any reason they can remember. They just drifted along until they got hooked. If you have never been addicted, you can have no clear idea what it means to need junk with the addict’s special need. You don’t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you’re an addict. (Junky, Prologue, p. xxxviii)”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Junk turns the user into a plant. Plants do not feel pain since pain has no function in a stationary organism. Junk is a pain killer. A plant has no libido in the human or animal sense. Junk replaces the sex drive. Seeding is the sex of the plant and the function of opium is to delay seeding.
Perhaps the intense discomfort of withdrawal is the transition from plant back to animal, from a painless, sexless, timeless state back to sex and pain and time, from death back to life.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“The American uppermiddle-class citizen is a composite of negatives. He is largely delineated by what he is not.
- pg. 41”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“You need a good bedside manner with doctors or you will get nowhere.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“A junkie spends half his life waiting.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Criminal law is one of the few professions where the client buys someone else's luck. The luck of most people is strictly non-transferrable. But a good criminal lawyer can sell all his luck to a client, and the more luck he sells the more he has to sell.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Kick is seeing things from a special angle. Kick is momentary freedom from the claims of the aging, cautious, nagging, fightened flesh.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“I was lying there trying to control the fear. I did not know much about this uremic poisoning. A woman I'd known slightly in Texas had died of it after drinking a bottle of beer ever hour, night and day, for two weeks.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“In Mexico your wishes have a dream power. When you want to see someone, he turns up.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Hip - Someone who knows the score. Someone who understands "jive talk." Someone who is "with it." The expression is not subject to definition because, if you don't "dig" what it means, no one can ever tell you.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Morphine hits the backs of the legs first, then the back of the neck, a spreading wave of relaxation slackening the muscles away from the bones so that you seem to float without outlines, like lying in warm salt water. As this relaxing wave spread through my tissues, I experienced a strong feeling of fear. I had the feeling that some horrible image was just beyond the field of vision, moving as I turned my head, so that I never quite saw it. I felt nauseous; I lay down and closed my eyes. A series of pictures passed, like watching a movie: A huge, neon-lighted cocktail bar that got larger and larger until streets, traffic, and street repairs were included in it; a waitress carrying a skull on a tray; stars in a clear sky. The physical impact of the fear of death; the shutting off of breath; the stopping of blood.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“The conversations had a nightmare flatness, talking dice spilled in the tube metal chairs, human aggregates disintegrating in cosmic insanity, random events in a dying universe.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“A John is different from a sucker. When you're with a sucker you're on alert all the time. You give him nothing. A sucker is just to be taken but a John is different. You give him what he pays for. When you're with him you enjoy yourself and you want him to enjoy himself too.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“I don’t spot junk neighbourhoods by the way they look, but by the feel, somewhat the same process by which a dowser locates hidden water. I am walking along and suddenly the junk in my cells moves and twitches like the dowsers wand: ‘Junk here!”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Junk sickness is the reverse side of junk kick. The kick of junk is that you have to have it. Junkies run on junktime and junkmetabolism. They are subject to junk climate. They are warmed and chilled by junk. The kick of junk is living under junk conditions. You cannot escape from junk sickness anymore than you can escape from junk kick after a shot.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“After Bill got his shot, a little color crept into his face and he would become almost coy. It was a gruesome sight. I remember once he told me how he'd been propositioned by a queer who offered him twenty dollars. Bill declined, saying "I don't think you would be very well satisfied." Bill twitched his fleshless hips. "You should see me in the nude," he said. "I'm really cute.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Cuando uno deja de crecer empieza a morir.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“You're both mother fuckers." She was half asleep. Her voice was matter-of-fact as if referring to actual incest.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“I knew that I no longer wanted to take junk. If I could have made one decision, it would have been no more junk, ever, but when it came to the process of quitting I did not have the drive. It gave me a terrible feeling of helplessness to watch myself break every schedule I set up, as though I did not have control over my actions.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Perhaps all pleasure in only relief”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“One morning in April, I woke up a little sick. I lay there looking at shadows on the white plaster ceiling. I remembered a long time ago, when I lay in bed beside my mother, watching lights from the street move across the ceiling and down the walls. I felt the sharp nostalgia of train whistles, piano music down a city street, burning leaves. A mild degree of junk sickness always brought me the magic of childhood. It never fails, I thought, just like a shot; I wonder if all junkies score for this wonderful stuff.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“The conversations had a nightmare flatness, talking dice spilled in the tube metal chairs, human aggregates disintegrating in cosmic inanity, random events in a dying universe where everything is exactly what it appears to be, and no other relation than juxtaposition is possible.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“His face with lined with suffering in which his eyes did not participate.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“A room full of fags gives me the horrors. They jerk around like puppets on invisible strings, galvanized into hideous activity that is the negation of everything living and spontaneous. The live human being has moved out of these bodies long ago. But something moved in when the original tenant moved out.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Your plan was unworkable then and useless now... Like da Vinci's flying machine plans...”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“The American upper-middle-class citizen is a composite of negatives. He is largely delineated by what he is not. Gains went further. He was not merely negative. He was positively invisible; a vague respectable presence. There is a certain kind of ghost that can only materialize with the aid of a sheet or other piece of cloth to give it outline. Gains was like that. He materialized in someone else’s overcoat.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“A junkie runs on junk time. When his junk is cut off, the clock runs down and stops. All he can do is hang on and wait for non-junk time to start. A sick junkie has no escape from external time, no place to go. He can only wait.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Pushing weed looks good on paper, like fur farming or raising frogs.”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


“Todos creemos al principio que podremos controlarlo. Luego dejamos de querer controlarlo”
― William S. Burroughs, quote from Junky


About the author

William S. Burroughs
Born place: in St. Louis, Missouri, The United States
Born date February 5, 1914
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“Being ill makes you feel what well people call sentimental, but what you feel is nonetheless genuine whatever they call it.”
― Elizabeth Goudge, quote from The Scent of Water


“The stalker, meanwhile, stepped into the road. Didn’t even check for traffic. There wasn’t any, but something told me this was lucky for traffic rather than the stalker.”
― Graham Parke, quote from No Hope for Gomez!


“Most of us make two basic errors with respect to intelligence: 1. We underestimate our own brainpower. 2. We overestimate the other fellow’s brainpower.”
― David J. Schwartz, quote from Magic of Thinking Big


“I thought life’s answers were out there somewhere. Now I realize the answers are in me, in my faith in Jesus and His love for me.”
― Rachel Hauck, quote from Georgia on Her Mind


“I consider it poor historical form to make fun of ancestral mistakes without respecting the eros that was linked to them. We are no less in bondage to the Zeitgeist; folly is handed down, we merely don a new cap.”
― Ernst Jünger, quote from Eumeswil


Interesting books

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
(401.8K)
Alice's Adventures i...
by Lewis Carroll
The Complete Cosmicomics
(1.6K)
The Complete Cosmico...
by Italo Calvino
The Girl of Ink and Stars
(4.2K)
The Girl of Ink and...
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Meadowland: the private life of an English field
(692)
Meadowland: the priv...
by John Lewis-Stempel
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
(3.6K)
Just Six Numbers: Th...
by Martin J. Rees
The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness
(1.8K)
The Philosopher and...
by Mark Rowlands

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.