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The Naming of the Conditioned Responses

John Gilgun

Today we have the anti-Osama bin Laden T-shirt
For sale at Cruzin the Avenue at 1201 Frederick Ave.
Yesterday, we had three hundred people singing
God Bless America at Bethel Foursquare Church.
Michaelmas daisies are blooming on Lover's Lane.
      But today we have the anti-Osama bin Laden T-shirt.

This is the hour's news update. And this is patriotism,
Whose use is perfectly obvious once you think about it,
And which I have not got so best keep mum because
Don't I know there's a war on and if I don't like it why don't I
Go back to Kabul where I came from? The paper-thin leaves
      Of the caladium in the deep shade of the linden tree

Will collapse and shrivel like shopping bags in the rain
with the first frost which is due in two weeks. But today
We have the anti-Osama bin Laden T-shirt--YOU CAN RUN BUT
YOU CAN'T HIDE!--and I would like to kiss you on your fragile
And motionless lips but that's much too dangerous in Missouri.
      And today Rumsfeld is meeting with coalition members.

This is the conditioned response, which is easy to release,
With a single image, a picture is worth a thousand you knows,
And please do not let me see anyone changing the channel
Or looking out the window where a single large green leaf
From the sycamore is fluttering like a butterfly to the ground.
      But today: a man with a beard. Color him enemy.

We call it unity: it is easy to maintain through media.
And if you have any strength of character. Uncle Sam Needs.
And Noble Olaf glad and big and I will not kiss your f_ing flag, etc.
But meanwhile the shoppers buzz back and forth like bees and
Today we have the T-shirt and tomorrow Phil Harris the store owner
      Promises more patriotic T-shirts. So y'all come on down. Y'hear?

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