I started writing in verse about the 2016 presidential campaign in… 2016. At first, the poems were occasional entries in my humor blog, FactsOptional, mixed in with other posts that only rarely dealt with politics.
After Donald Trump’s election, as the shock wore off, I found myself increasingly motivated to write about him, his Cabinet members, and the general political climate. In 2017, perhaps half of my writings were politically-themed.
In 2018 I went all in: I launched a second blog, called The Trump Poems. Nearly everything I wrote that year was Trump-centric, always in verse and mostly in his imagined internal voice (although he provided some amazing quotes and phrases that were pure [bad] poetry, which I often integrated verbatim).
I compiled 2016’s and 2017’s poetic postings into a brief ebook entitled Rhymes Of Moral Turpitude / The Trump Poems: Year One – spanning the first twelve months of Trump’s time in office. The book you are thumbing through right now covers shenanigans running roughly from the *first* government shutdown of 2018 to the record-setting 35-day shutdown that ended in early 2019; these events seemed like appropriate bookends for Donald Trump’s second year, give or take a few weeks.
The President is not the only person to make an appearance here. You’ll see contributions from members of his administration, other politicians, mentions of his attorneys (Giuliani, most notably), and a few entries that serve to describe certain events from an observer’s point of view. Much of the verse is written from a first-person perspective, mostly Trump’s. I’ve tossed in a name here or there at the start of those entries where time may have dimmed the memory of who was “speaking” at that moment.
This volume reprints many of the 226 Trump Poems I wrote during this span; I dropped a few due to obsolescence (Jim Jordan’s wrestling coach scandal kinda petered out) or a particularly rickety rhyme scheme. So if after reading this collection your evaluation is, “These poems are awful!” – my apologies, and please take some comfort in knowing there were others that were even worse.
A few things have changed over the course of the year, post-versification. Michael Cohen no longer seems eager to take a bullet for the President; Putin hasn’t visited the U.S. (physically, but his presence here is felt); Rudy Giuliani is no longer a candidate for Attorney General. And as this book goes to press: Donald Trump has been nominated for yet another Razzie.
Why all this rhyming? I honestly don’t know… I admire a variety of political humorists but find it challenging to convey my takes on whatever the hell has happened to our country in the kind of elegant prose or narrative others have mastered. And just to set expectations up front – my level of poetic construct is stuck at the greeting card level; nothing Dickinson-, Wordsworth-, Frost- or even e.e. cummings-like will be found within these covers.
But maybe you’ll enjoy them anyway.