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Callaloo 24.1 (2001) 12-13

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Telegrams Per Der Flag Heil

D.C. Berry

Bowling shirts, that's flags--Confed, Yank, VC, Third Reich--
buttwipes for nitwits. Beavis versus Butthead forever.
And why not? Flash beats sparkle, sequins blanket stars,
Vegas trumps Jesus, Elvis, and Zeus.
Only John Wayne lives. Look at his grave. Not pushing up
daisies but flags.
You flag people, yo, listen up. Be discreet with your damn

flag like MTV. Their flag, a leaking diaper, remains invisible,

the sex flag. You never see it. MTV's discreet. No soggy
Pampers on the teen faux-fuck channel.

A la romance--a flag--the "colors," a country's cosmetics, its
Maybelline Loves Brut, it's hotziggity.
A flag for GI Joe, you understand? A page torn from the Book
of Life.
Say what, Sergeant Death?
A flag is a country's penis. Ram it up the hill, numbnuts,
undertaker's log truck up there idling for stiffs, now Harch!
A deer's flag is its tail. Not that Bambi lets her fanny broom
lead her into the cannon's throat.
We flag wavers are God's goof. We've no tails to naturally flag

the breeze; and our heads won't do, too confusing, as we

frequently yank and grease, and "colour" them differently.

Buy your flags here, you bloody patriots, macho towels right
here, reduced.

The flagpole is your nation's erection, the flag its psychedelic
condom. [End Page 12]
The bandage on a country's inferiority complex.
It's a magic carpet, that's a flag. Stand on it, you on yours,
Johnny Bravo on his, and you're each higher than the other.
But, Lordy, a big old silky

undulating in the wind, rolling those waves into infinity--What
say, General Custer?

The flag is the lid on a country's toilet, through which it
flushes its conscience.
It's a hieroglyphic telegram from Babel, a garble of stars and
hammers and do-dads.
What about the corn flag, that there silk tassel?
Hold on, Izaak. The only flag is a hand-tied fly--say the Hare's
Ear Soft Hackle--waving from a bamboo stick.
Har, giggle, snicker, pie in the sky.
Go fishing, comrade, or rant, rant, rant (like this).
Every nation's a topless whore, the flag her mini-skirt.
Rally round the pecker, dudes.
Zap them Injuns into the desert, that ethnic microwave, be
fine, towel off with the flag.
Do it, hollers Johnny Reb. Right on, halloos Johnny Yank.
After you, Herr Adolph's Mustache. Flagamighty forever.

D.C. Berry, born and reared in the Mississippi Delta, is a professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Georgia Review, The South Carolina Review, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, Mississippi Review, The North American Review, Southern Voices, Poetry Now, Kansas Review, and The Southern Review.



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