February 2, 2017

A (belated) inaugural poem for President Trump

Note: the Democrats’ last four presidential inaugurations have included readings by American poets. Poetry has never been featured at a Republican president’s inaugural ceremony.

This poem is tremendous.
Believe me: poems don’t get any classier than this—
The best words, the smartest rhyme scheme,
Big-league prosody.
When you take other poets—look at Robert Frost.
He was a loser, a real low-energy guy.
What was he talking about? Does anyone have a clue?
Very overrated.

Nobody has more respect for poetry than we do.
We’re the stuff poetry is made of:
What other president makes children cry,
Sends teenagers to their bedrooms,
Terrified, scribbling in their notebooks,
Trying to figure it all out, giving up?
Just last year they were on top of the world.

Sad! Let’s drain the emotional swamp, folks.
Don’t let anyone tell you this was about resentment.
No one has ever been happier than we are,
With the confidence of spoiled kids, brains emitting a faint working hum
Of pleasure: the sound of molars grinding down breakfast cereal.
We love life the way it is. (We’re building a wall around it.)
Truth be told, Crooked Hillary was right—
America was already great. We knew it all along.

And what now? It’s #irrelevant.
The real world isn’t real anymore.
You call it fake news; we call it a poem,
Living inside a dream. We’ll do and say whatever we want
In an imaginary country of broader outlines, contradictions—
Bigness is the main thing: 140 enormous characters,
All of them lit up like a sign above the Vegas Strip.

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