John Giorno


I am sitting on William Burroughs's bed in the Bunker bedroom at 222 Bowery.

William moved into the Bunker in March of 1976. I have been at 222 Bowery since 1962, first on the top floor, and have lived and worked on the third floor since 1966. The Bunker was the former locker room of a YMCA built in 1884, called The Young Men's Institute, which was the first of the modern-day "Y"s. When William lived in the Bunker, it was Spartan, a Zen monastery, with white walls that became dingy, and minimal furniture. When William moved to Kansas in 1982, I put many of his things, paintings and furniture from the loft into the bedroom, as I used the large spaces for other things.

On the typewriter to the right, William wrote Cities of The Red Night, and

half of Place of Dead Roads. As for the glass jug under the table, William said, "Every house should have a large glass receptacle to store water in case of an emergency." The chair on the left is where he sat reading Sci-Fi paperbacks and occasionally shot up, as he was on methadone. The gun magazines on the bedside table were the ones he read. William put his hat on the wall, before his painting was hung there next to it. William came to New York to visit once a year for several days, until he died in 1997; he slept in the bed in this photo.

Since 1983, I have had a large Tibetan Buddhist shrine in the Nyingma tradition in the Bunker. Many great Tibetan lamas have come and given teachings here, and have stayed in this bedroom: H.H. Penor Rinpoche, H. H. Sakya Trindzin, H. H. Dodrup Chen Rinpoche, H. H. Druk Chen Rinpche, Dungtse Thinley Norbu Rinpioche, Trogawa Rinpoche, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, Khenpo Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, Dzognsar Khyentse Rinpoche, and many other lamas.

People say there is an incredible energy and power inherent in the Bunker; it is because of the Tibetan lamas.