William S. Burroughs' Thanks Giving Prayer

William S. Burroughs' Thanks Giving Prayer

Originally revealed to the world on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986, this prayer was Burroughs' cynical, cynical take on American society and asked, 'what do we really have to be thankful for? Look at our world! There's so much shit in it!'

Happy Thanks Giving Day America.

Thanks Giving Prayer

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 -- yes,

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.


I wish I could write as good as this. It's just so biting.

The Aids comment is pretty wrong but still sums up an issue that plagues America, and at least in the sense that so many people are misinformed about AIDS, though I guess in 1986 when the Thanks Giving prayer was released, the world was gripped by a huge fear of AIDS, and there was so much misunderstanding about the disease, so actually it's no surprise it popped up in this poem.

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