The alternative view of the holiday should be represented, and there's not a better voice for the embittered, the disenfranchised, the decrepit, the perverse, the sardonic, the brilliant, and the ecstatically marginalized than William Burroughs. While the rest of America, we assume, gives thanks for what they have in a world that demonstrably avails them nothing and is winnowing away any localized genius part to imagine and creatively act toward better, more interesting lives, Burroughs elevates sarcasm to the highest level, beyond nose bleeding to the peak wear strokes occur and tells us some grim truths in reversed salutations. It sticks in the craw, yes, but it ought to. To paraphrase Marx, in an instance where he happened to be right, the task isn't to thank God for the luck we've had, but rather to use the brains he gave us to use in order to change our luck. Happy Holiday. -tb
William S. Burroughs
To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day November 28 1986"
Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shat out through wholesome
Thanks for a continent to despoil
Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and
Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves
Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.
Thanks for the KKK.
For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.
For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.
Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind the
Thanks for a nation of finks.
Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
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.