There’s a New “Inaugural Poem” As Bloated and Empty as the President It’s Written For


The internet has discovered an (uncomissioned, it should be noticed) “inaugural poem” that is truly worthy of our future President. Bad rhymes, insults, an obsession with the past, and calling Barack Obama a “tyrant” by implication are all part of the package of doggerel produced by one Joseph Charles MacKenzie and currently going semi-viral among the literary crowd.

In my reading, the “Inaugural Poem for Donald J. Trump”‘s obsessive references to Bonnie old Scotland have a whiff of racial purity nostalgia to them, although maybe that’s just the stench from the new regime infecting everything it touches.

Here’s a sample:

With purpose and strength he came down from his tower

To snatch from a tyrant his ill-gotten power.

Now the cry has gone up with a cheer from the crowd:

“Come out for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!”

When freedom is threatened by slavery’s chains

And voices are silenced as misery reigns,

We’ll come out for a leader whose courage is true

Whose virtues are solid and long overdue.

For, he’ll never forget us, we men of the crowd

Look, I recognize that us self-satisfied literati mocking this poem — which appears to be mere Trump inauguration “fanfic” as someone on Facebook called it — only reinforces the cultural divide. Some dude writes a piss-poor paean to Trump, liberals laugh heartily, we’re the elite jerks.

Indeed, there are probably people reading this “poem” who think it’s much more accessible and delightfully rhyme-y than the serious stuff that’s currently in favor at coffeehouses and MFA programs alike.

But we book-reading types have to have something to sustain us this week, right? And knowing that this poem is fit for wrapping fish, as OG insult poet Gaius Valerius Catullus would note, is very sustaining.

Incidentally, real poetry has played a big role in the newly-dawned Trump era, as the Atlantic noted last year. Indeed, today on Twitter, users have suggested darker poems that fit the Inaugural theme, like “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley, or parts of “Howl” by Allen Ginsburg.

If you want to read some more recent, thoughtful, “inaugural poems” for Trump, the Rumpus is publishing newly-commissioned pieces all week.