the yage emails – nov. 13th, 2011

to: adam cohn — from: aric s. queen — date: 10.13.2011 — re: letters

brother cohn.

it’s always too long since we’ve spoken, is it not?

how’s things there?

I write you from a balcony in old Havana – rum, music, bad food and character qualities so upfront, they’d be sued back home for harassment. they mean well, I suppose, but it’s a lot to take in. sex is all around, but not dirty sex, just sex. men love women. women love men. what’s not to love? it’s celebrated, which is nice. I’m watching it all from a distance, which is different for me [as you well know], but still almost as fun. you should see the way the girls look at you though – I mean, stopping-while-walking-and-just-fucking-look-right-at-you. no wonder the men here are known for their love – they’re left with no choice. ‘how about that one?’ ‘how about this one?’ not one gal can walk by the restaurant where I sit nightly drinking $4 bottles of rum without them suggesting it. maybe I look lonely. or maybe I’m a man. who knows.

coney island was a blast – although a few drinks would have been nice. I’m glad you liked my Vespa – I miss it. I miss New York. but hey.

anyway – more to the point: have you ever read The Yage Letters? if so – amazing, no? if not – you should. Burroughs was desperate to find the ultimate kick [yage – ayahuasca] back in the mid-50s, so he went down to the Amazon rainforest – somewhere around Colombia and Ecuador – in search of it. he wrote letters the whole time to Allen Ginsberg about his journey… I can’t remember all of it and it’s not yet available for Kindle [can you believe it? would think that any book featuring 2 of the 5 Beat’ers, and one that has to do with a search for the ultimate hallucinogenic would be on top priority for e-conversion, no? I know… ] anyway – the rumors he chased were that of time travel, ‘big kicks’ and spiritual healing… although I’m sure that last one was more of a piss-take than anything.

in 2-3 weeks, I’m going to be in the same region and thought I might go ahead and see about it. with the intrawebs and a whole new generation of dabblers, I’d think it a little easier than what Burroughs [and then, 15 years later, Ginsberg] went through.

could be fun, could be scary. it’s apparently like peyote where you throw up/poo yourself at first, which wouldn’t be nice, but then again, with my IBS, I’m doing that almost daily anyway.

thought I might write you about my findings – much like they did? corny as it always sounds when I say it, you are the Ginsberg to my Burroughs [technically, you being the slightly older mentor should be Burroughs, but you’re Jewish and I use my middle initial in print, so we’ll go with a slight change], and this is not something I particularly would write my nephew about… ifyouknowwhatImean.

you don’t have to write back, unless you want to. maybe I find it and it’s horrible. maybe it’s touristy. maybe it’s not even around for me.

at least I’m writing you – which is something I’m always meaning to do.

this email is one-sided though, and I do often think of you, what you’re doing, if you’re writing, etc.

I wish I could grow your beard. it’s a good one.

love,

aric