Kathy Acker by Mark Magill

BOMB 6 Summer 1983
006 Summer 1983
Acker 01

Photo by J. Hamilton.

1. When were you born?


2. Age:

3. Where were you born?

4. Name of Parents:
Something Lehmann and Claire Weill

5. Why were you born? a.) Plan b.) Accident c.) Neither
My mother was scared to have an abortion.

6. Any brothers or sisters?
One half sister

7. Parents professions:
Mother—none. I never knew my father. His family owned Wildroot Cream Oil among other properties (no sobriety here).

8. Last employment:
Full or partial? Partial (and ended), oh, Artforum (laughter) (just to make trouble). Full, selling cookies in a now defunct bakery off St. Mark’s Place.

9. Last book read:
Oh, Story of Irene [A French pornographic novel]

10. Last film seen:
King of Comedy

11. Favorite book:
Too schizzy and changeable to have anything permanent.

12. Favorite film:
The film that Jap guy did of Story of O and Return to the Chateau —something like The Fruits of Passion.

13. Political party:
I belong to some party; I forgot what. Oh, the Writer’s Union, ‘cause Jeffery Weinstein’s my friend. I belong to friendship and destruction (sentimental shit).

14. Favorite recording artist:
That Egyptian woman who just died about a year ago.

15. Favorite artist:
Jackson Pollock.

16. Occupation:
Writer or not…not occupied.

17. Position desired:
At times dead. I’ve been fighting against that one. Otherwise, enough money to buy clothes.

18. World outlook: (circle one) a.) Pessimistic b.) Optimistic c.) Zen-like detachment d.) Manic confusion
Enough money to buy clothes.

19. Do you regularly abstain from any of the following: a.) Red meat b.) Sugar c.) Boiled vegetables d.) Pizza e.) Hard Liquor f.) Coffee g.) Herbal tea h.) Black bean sauce i.) Shellfish j.) Potatoes k.) Chef salad l.) Hot sauce

Acker 02

20. How often do you bathe? (circle one) Daily 5 4 3 2 1 times per week.

No one’s allowed in my house.

21. Do you brush your teeth after every meal?
Fuck you.

22. Do you have any large outstanding debts?
I don’t owe no one nothing.

23. Does free will exist?
What else is this about? I’m no superstar shit and never will be. If anything, I’m what happens after death, which is writing.

24. If you were forced to take sides in a dinner table discussion, which of the following world views would you support? a) Freudian psychology b.) Marxist economics c.) Mechanistic determinism d.) Probability and chance e.) Judeo-Christian dogma f.) Buddhist duality g.) Structuralism h.) Situationalism i.) Positionalism j.) Ayn Rand individualism k.) Trotskyism I.) Anarchism m.) Socialism n.) Liberalism o.) Nihilism p.) Existentialism q.) Educated skepticism r.) Other (please explain)
Oh yeah—honey it’s all there. Yuck, yuck. I’ll do what I have to for the particular moment. Being an intellectual, I uphold guerrilla warfare.

25. You are sharing a piece of pie after dinner. There is only one bite left. Do you: a.) Take it b.) Wait for the other person to take it c.) Offer it to the other person d.) Offer to split it e.) Split it and take half no matter how small
I don’t eat sugar.

26. Are you basically: a.) Shy b.) Outgoing c.) Indifferent
A human is a reflection of and reflects all phenomena. That is, a human who has made her or himself active (what pretentious bullshit).

27. Are you subject to deep and inexplicable depression?

28. Do you talk to yourself?
I live alone, dummy. It’s hard to get pleasure these days.

29. Is your memory: a.) Exceptional b.) Good c.) Normal d.) Bad c.) Senile
Let’s compare a pencil to a vagina.

30. Where would you most like to be right now?
With you-know-who’s cock in me.

31. Who would you most like to be? Contemporary personality:
His fuck.

Historical personality:
History doesn’t exist.

32. Favorite fashion designer:
Azalea. But I can’t afford his shit. You want to give me some?

33. Favorite animal:

34. Do you have any pets?
Yeah, sometimes.

35. Do you have any house plants?
I never raise the shades.

36. What is your bedtime?
When I fall asleep over my books and stuffed animals.

37. What time do you get up?
When I get angry at myself for thinking too much about this guy I went to sleep with.

38. Who is the most famous person you ever met?
I don’t even know who’s famous anymore. I guess Warhol is. He once took my photo at the Keith Haring Fun Gallery opening, but I never met him.

39. Do you have a driver’s license?
No way.

40. Have you ever been arrested?
Oh yeah.

41. Are you a registered voter?
Oh no.

42. Next of kin?

43. Do you have any existing medical conditions for which you are currently receiving medication or are under a doctor’s care?
Oh yeah. No, I hate doctors. They kill even faster than me. I hate them worse than I hate society.

44. Are you subject to fainting or dizzy spells?
Yes, in the spring when I get hot.

45. Why do you feel you are qualified to give this interview?
I want to fuck you, Mark. Do you want to fuck me? But not as much as I want to fuck ______.

46. Is there a history of mental illness in your family?
What’s the question? My mother went cuckoo (from loneliness? Does anyone go cuckoo from anything?). My father murdered someone supposedly for trespassing on his yacht.

47. Do you believe in God?

48. Do you like to travel?
I like to fuck. Don’t put this in BOMB. I’m just horny. (laughter)

50. What is your favorite pastime or hobby?
Listening to records.

51. Educational history:
Lots. I had to fight against it for years.

52. Are you for or against the integration of schools through busing?
You’ve got to be kidding. I’m against the integration of the U.S.A. government in my life.

53. What political figure (living or dead) do you admire most?
I don’t admire anyone. Now and then, art. Then my friends.

54. Do you think the Thirteenth Amendment should be abolished?
What’s the Thirteenth Amendment?

55. Do you think there should be a Palestinian homeland?
Yeah, I’m a good Jew.

56. If so, where?
In my cunt.

56. Do you believe in the right to own private property?
Yes, only people. Not private property, living people.

57. Do you believe in the right of inherited wealth?
Yeah. I was born with me. I’m okay. No one touches me. Money’s a fake.

58. Do you think there should be socialized health care in this country?
There should be all the food and medicine you need (though doctors stink so much, maybe it’s better to kill them). Luxury, fun, etc. everywhere all the time.

59. Do you believe in mandatory long term prison sentences for those convicted of violent crime?
Generalities are unanswerable and stupid language.

60. Do you believe in trial by jury?
I don’t like judgement. Frivolity should take the place of judgments. Females know best.

61. Do you think there will be thermonuclear war (limited or unlimited) in the next 20 years?
There is a worse war now. The war now is at least partly a language war. What else is writing (now) about?

62. Should there be an income tax or laissez-faire economies?
Should there he suicide or murder?

63. Should the city of New York maintain a police department? If not, would you willingly give up your private property to the poor?
I’ll give my cunt to…(sober up, cunt. This is serious).

64. Do you believe in the value of Vitamin C?
Yes. I’m a believer.

65. What’s your sign?
I do voodoo. I am Legba and Grassi (the child). This is serious, even more than sex.

Note: Legba is the god of words who permits Grassi, the, child-spirit, to speak through Kathy.

66. Do you hum along or tap your foot to popular tunes?
“Popular” tunes are about half my mind.

67. Have you ever been treated for alcohol or drug abuse?
No way.

68. What’s your favorite lipstick?
Red. My mom used it. Looks like cunt color after fucking.

69. Have you ever been to a baseball game?
I am really hooked on this fascination with machoism.

70. Have you ever been married?

71. What is your marital status now? a.) Married b.) Single c.) Divorced d.) Separated e.) Other
Fucked up. Give me a divorce, Gordon.

72. What is your current legal status? a.) Guilty b.) Innocent
No registered anything. As I said, I have trouble enough just not wanting to be dead.

73. What was your last major purchase?
Who gives a shit. When you buy, you don’t buy; you give away. Everyone’s got everything all backwards. This money shit’s about giving away.

74. Do you own a tape recorder?

75. Do you own a camera?

76. Have you ever taken a photograph?

77. What is your regular newspaper?
None. TV Guide.

78. What is your favorite food?

79. Have you ever had a near death experience?
Yes. Three times. Maybe more.

80. Have you ever seen a ghost?
Yes. Once.

81. Have you ever been psychoanalyzed?
This is control shit and makes me angry.

82. Have you ever played poker?
Of course.

Kathy Acker’s The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula, Great Expectations, and Kathy Goes to Haiti will be released by Grove Press starting next Fall.

Mark Magill is an artist and producer and writer of comedies for television.

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Excerpts from the collection.

Originally published in

BOMB 6, Summer 1983

Kathy Acker, Jene Highstein, Mark Pauline, James “Son” Thomas, art by Anthony McCall, Judy Pfaff, Julia Heyward, and more.

Read the issue
006 Summer 1983