I run America

I run America.
I may also be a little bit mad,
but it is a divine madness
so that is Bette.
(Bette is a synonym
for good in my America.)
I say anyone who wants to stay open on a holiday
is welcome to do so
as long as it is the owners and shareholders
at the registers,
the owners and the shareholders
greeting and stocking on the floor,
the owners and the shareholders
mopping up the blood from the frenzy
they have conjured.
My government also insists the store’s workers
be paid for the holiday, because that’s
what holiday means.
Otherwise, it is just a random day of being fired.
Business owners
who claim membership in any religion
are expected to acknowledge
their designated holy days
and close accordingly;
either that or shut up about your piety,
I don’t much care which.
Mine is a free and open America
in which everyone
talks out of just the one side of their mouth.
In my benevolence
I hold a press conference
where the fourth estate asks me
about the hot issues of the day.
I give them my steeliest, most responsible,
sincere, solonic gaze and say
“I run America.
If you want things to continue working,
if you want people to get their checks,
if you want a healthy infrastructure,
if you want your Aunt Petunia to feel safe
then grow up.
All of you just grow up.”
Then I go into seclusion.
Years later I emerge
for a second press conference
and tell the nation
“Go to lunch. Have a nice long lunch.
Go now. Go to lunch. Will you go to lunch?”
I will hand over the proceedings to Kevin Spacey
and return to seclusion.
That is all.
You can go to lunch now.

—Don Whittington


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