Retread — Burroughs Month: Thanksgiving Prayer


“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
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
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.


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,
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’s allowed to mind their
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 do not believe it is as hopeless as all that. This year, I am incredibly thankful to be alive at all, let alone to live where I do with the people I love. I understand Mr. Burroughs’ criticisms, I just think that we must keep caring and trying to win out against the sense of defeat and cynicism, and maybe then the dream can still be saved. I don’t believe people are inherently bad; I believe the opposite, and I won’t get discouraged and filled with bitterness toward all of humanity just because of the publicized exploits and outrages of the bad apples in our barrel. I believe that for each one of the headlines that sends people in to despair over the state of the world, there are a thousand unreported little kindnesses and gestures of love and connection.

And world peace. I know. I get cheesey. I’m just feeling very happy and free and alive.




Almost all photos via Square America.







This post originally appeared on November 26, 2010.

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4 Responses to “Retread — Burroughs Month: Thanksgiving Prayer”

  1. Caoimhin Says:

    Well, I don’t see how you could be so cynical, and not just shoot yourself. “They carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom…”

  2. Dairyfarmer Says:

    Didn’t he realize they are Native-Americans and not Indians? Jeez this guy was thankful for some f-ed up stuff.

    Seriously though, I understand the sarcasm of his words, and I see the hatred in them too… just a different kind of hatred and focused in a different way.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    stupid post – 1 minute of my life i will never get back

  4. bishop2 Says:

    Thank you for the post, interesting pictures for an interesting declaration about the darkest side of America. It sounds like the reverse of beautiful Whitman’s poems: the two sides, however, with an open possibility to change, democracy and justice. And God bless (decent) America. Greetings!

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