Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration - David Wojnarowicz this abrasive, masterfully written, self-eviscerating, entirely unsentimental memoir is one that is practically boiling over with anger and lust and menace. it was an influential book in its own place and time... much like wojnarowicz's equally visceral yet haunting art. the free-flowing, stream of conscious writing recounts the author's life, his dreams, ambitions, failures, life on the streets, life with men, and - quite memorably - his dark and vindictive fantasies of vengeance on those who would limit the freedom of queers and treat the aids community as anathema. best of all, running through it all: a warm, glowing seam of compassion and tenderness, particuarly for those who are awkward, weak, physically imperfect, alienated, rootless, out of balance: the un-beautiful.

back in college, this was considered a profound work of art by me and my small distaff group of literary friends (i wonder what happened to them all?)...i also remember trying to explain this author and his impact on me to other, closer, yet more fratty and mainstream friends. to no avail. they could understand and appreciate alan moore or herman hesse but apparently wojnarowicz was too intense for them, too queer. all they could focus on was the fact that one of his works became the cover of a U2 album. ah well. perhaps this book is destined to mainly be appreciated by queers who are impacted by aids and those who live and breathe outsider politics.

outside of this work and his various art pieces, the author can be viewed literally sewing his mouth shut in the unsettling gonzo provocation Silence=Death by rosa von praunheim (agent provocateur for gay rights in germany) - a video which also features the equally seminal keith haring and allen ginsberg, as well as some emotional aids quilt commentary and a painfully resonant deathbed testimonial.

david wojnarowicz, you were a beautiful human being. you may be gone but will hopefully never be forgotten!