Thursday, 24 November 2016

William S. Burroughs - A Thanksgiving Prayer

Music video by William S. Burroughs performing A Thanksgiving Prayer. (C) 1990 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Here we have a short film of William  Burroughs, best known as the author of a body of controversial and experimental literature,  reading his poem  “Thanksgiving Prayer.”  shot by Gus Van Sant, best known as the director of films like Good Will HuntingMy Own Private Idaho, and Drugstore Cowboy, the last of which includes a memorable appearance by Burroughs himself,in which he played played a defrocked priest addicted to heroin.
The above video captures Burroughs reading his poem  “Thanksgiving Prayer.”
Burroughs, a lifelong critic of America, fills his prayer with bitterly sarcastic “thanks” for things like violence, racism, oppression and homophobia.Thirty years after William S. Burroughs wrote it sadly it’s never been more relevant. It's like a floodlight beaming down on everything askew in the good ol' US of A in the present time..

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.


Happy Thanksgiving.

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