A Thanksgiving prayer from William S. Burroughs


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/22/a-thanksgiving-prayer-from-wil-2.html


Christ, what an asshole …


More from Van Sant and Burroughs:


Yeah. Let’s remember another important Beat today.


I really don’t like William Burroughs much, and this work not at all even though you would expect me to agree with all of its sentiments.

maybe we could get this instead



I post this on Facebook every year. This is the first year I’ve gotten a response “why do you have to be such a downer?”



Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

That betrayal may not be here yet, but wherever it is, I think I can smell its fetid breath.

(Or given that he gave us the date of 1986, maybe that betrayal was Reagan?)


Every year I look forward to this.


I don’t like Burroughs as a person, but I like this poem. I get why some aren’t willing to accept his work though.


The line is lifted from the final passage of The Great Gatsby. I never found F. Scott Fitzgerald super interesting, so it’s kinda lost on me, but that’s a thematically meaty allusion. I kinda think Burroughs is talking about the real America betraying the most hopeful and idealistic understanding of the possibilities of the American Dream. Or put another way, it could be an American post-modernist both mourning and celebrating the loss of the simple truths (e.g. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) of modernism.


For those who don’t listen to stuff but still want to participate:

For John Dillinger,
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 —


Thanks for all the memories… all right, let’s 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.


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