William S Burroughs: A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

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Burroughs

As you get ready to take off and do whatever it is you do on this great American holiday, I figured I'd share a few glutenous words with you by the great American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter, spoken word performer and all around avant-garde author, William S. Burroughs. His "Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986" poem first appeared in the chapbook Tornado Alley, published in 1989. As a testament to Burroughs' badassedness the book was dedicated to John Dillinger. Later Gus Van Sant made a short film of Burroughs reading the text, which you see below. How fucking poignant are the words today. Seriously, it's like a floodlight beaming down on everything askew in the good ol' US of A.

Happy Thanksgiving all...hope you have a good one.

For John Dillinger
In hope he is still alive
"Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1986"

In hope he is still alive
Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts
thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison
thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger
thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot
thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes
thanks for the American Dream to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through
thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces
thanks for Kill a Queer for Christ stickers
thanks for laboratory AIDS
thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs
thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business
thanks for a nation of finks—yes,
thanks for all the memories all right, lets see your arms you always were a headache and you always were a bore
thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.