Thanksgiving 2018

First off, and most importantly: Happy Thanksgiving to you if you celebrate; if you don’t, I hope you have a pleasant day doing whatever you do.

I’m increasingly of two minds of Thanksgiving.

On the one hand, we have a lot to be thankful of (a year and a half into being back in the Seattle area, both of our jobs are going well, we’re continuing to rebuild our social connections over here, we really like where we ended up, the midterms overall went in a promising direction, etc.), and we’re having a very pleasant day here at home resting and making and eating all sorts of tasty food.

On the other hand, I have a lot of friends from indigenous American heritage who rightly point out that this day isn’t so celebratory for them, especially at a time when our country is dealing with rampant nationalism and racism. For many people, especially anyone who is part of the many social groups who find themselves targets of oppression, it may be hard to find quite as much to celebrate on a day like today.

This year, more so than many, it seems particularly (and distressingly) apt to post William S. Burroughs’s cynical, but all too topical, even after all this time, Thanksgiving Prayer.

To John Dillinger; I 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 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 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.