A Thanksgiving Team: Burroughs & Mustill, Redux

A Straight Up tradition continues. William S. Burroughs’s words of gratitude on Thanksgiving Day paired with a couple of collages by Norman O. Mustill. Look and listen. It’s delish . . .

Collages © 1967 by Norman O. Mustill, excerpted from ‘Flypaper’ [Beach Books, San Francisco, 1967]

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 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.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986
© 1986 by William S. Burroughs

Postscript: Dec. 6 — Here’s a late-breaking “Happy Thanksgiving” by Heathcote Williams, which from here on in will be part of the Straight Up tradition. It’s one more proof in the pudding.

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