William S. Burroughs’ Great Thanksgiving Prayer

Want to hear what Lee the Agent had to say about the Thanksgiving holiday?

William S. Burroughs' Great Thanksgiving Prayer

Several years ago, whilst in the midst of a William S. Burroughs obsession, I came across audio of Burroughs, in his droning, rhythmic and hilarious voice reading “Thanksgiving Prayer,” in a short film directed by Gus Van Sant.

The audio is set to music that has a vaguely collegiate commencement quality to it.

Below are the text and video.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986.
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 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.