World Poetry Day was started in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). On Monday, 2016's World Poetry Day, we were treated to a breed of poetry that departed dramatically from the kind UNESCO describes on its website: "Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings." The Boston Globe's David Filipov seemed to have a very different concept of poetry when compiling a poem out of Donald Trump quotes.
Trump doesn't ask many questions, and he certainly doesn't seem to share the same feelings as most people; his self-assurance and the bravado with which he conveys it are (thankfully) rarities. But Filipov thought it was important to highlight the words of "one of the more prominent orators of our time," as he put it. And the poem composed of Trump's quotes captures his persona very well. Read below as "Trump" introduces "Song of Myself" by celebrating himself, his brain, his words, and his wealth:
On World Poetry Day, I celebrate myselfI have a good brain, it’s really top-shelf.I’ve said lots of things; no doubt you have heardThat I know words. I have the best words.I went to an Ivy League school, as I've stated.My fortune is huge, I'm well-educated.
Now, it wouldn't be a Trump poem if it stuck to positives. Filipovic made sure to insert a healthy dose of mean-spirited insults into it:
Those losers on Fox News and CNN?I’m richer and smarter than all of them.And Megyn Kelly? I have no respect.Everyone else? Just politically correct.Blood coming out of her ... wherever.I have millions more followers on Twitter.
Immigration policy must, of course, have a place in Trump's opus:
Mexico’s sending us horrible people.I will make that border impenetrable.They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime.They’ll pay for the wall; every last dime.
And then there's the list of what's wrong with this country, from the president to the media to Muslims (with some aggressive foreign policy tossed in!):
Our president? He hasn’t the slightest clue.The media are disgusting, I’ll probably sue.We have so many problems, the country’s in crisis.My solution? Bomb the hell out of ISIS.Shutting down Muslims entering the States?You’ll love it. We’ll make America great.
The poem would lack the authentic feel if it didn't include some good old China bashing, along with weird assertions that experience running a company will somehow transfer to running a country:
China’s cheap factories? All of them fired.We’ll start winning once Obama’s retired.I make the best deals. I shut down the haters.I am the world’s best negotiator.
And in true Trump form, the ending is chaotic, jumbled, and hostile:
Those thugs in the back? Get ’em the hell out.White supremacists? Them I know nothing about.Our leaders are stupid, they lie like crazy.They sweat too much, they’re very low energy.Try to stop me? There’ll be riots. Mayhem.I have the best words. And now I’ve just used them.
Perhaps this poem does, in a sense, reflect UNESCO's description of the power of poetry. It likely stirs the same question within many of its readers: How is this man a viable presidential candidate? And it likely evokes some of the same feelings — confusion, sadness, but also hope. Hope that the power of The Donald's words could work against him, in this poetic form, to reveal his vacuousness.