What Rough Beast | Poem for November 12, 2017

Cody Walker
Ten Short Poems

1. Trump’s Twitter Account

folks from serving in the military.
Then goes back to bashing Hillary.

I recount this in rhyme
because I’m
in the habit of doing so.
And I’ve been viewing, oh,

a thousand ghastly tweets.
And I’m no Keats.
(I am, incidentally,
a low-rent E. C. Bentley.)

2. Everybody Must Have Been a Spy

America it’s that bad Sessions.
That Sessions that Sessions and that Pence. And that Sessions.
The Sessions wants to eat us alive. The Sessions’s power mad. He wants to take our system of checks and balances from out our government.
That no good. Ugh.

3. Trump 2020

He dug Slovenians and Czechs and had a slight Jesus complex. (He once tweeted, about himself, “He is risen!”)

It’s good that he’s in prison.

4. Donny-Wan Kenobi, Jr.

Donny: “This isn’t the collusion you’re looking for.”

Mueller: “No, actually, this is the one. A million thanks.”

5. Office of Government Ethics

The GOP, to Walter M. Shaub:
“Just, umm, daub
a little cleaner on this mound of shit.
That should take care of it.”

6. Mike Pence, to His Wife, at 9 p.m.

“The sword stands ready.”

7. Joke

Q: Why can’t Donald Trump change a light bulb?

A: Because he’s too dumb!

8. Mad Trump’s America

He thought he saw a Firework
Go BLAMMO in the sky:
He looked again, and found it was
A guy in camo. Why?
“He thinks our country’s under threat.
A Muslim’s gonna die.”

9. I’m Panicking, and I Blame Donald Trump!

Because the first forty-eight years
of my life were pretty carefree.

See, now, the way my hands tremble?
See how I’m pushing back hot tears?

“Almost nutso”: I resemble
that remark. Trump did this to me.

10. A Year Later

Everything looks exactly the same.
The snow’s snow: it’s not concentration-camp ash.
The egg-salad sandwich on my plate is excellent!
Still, in this almost-winter of our discontent,
a villain twirls his figurative mustache.
A gun, over the horizon, takes aim.


Cody Walker‘s most recent poetry collection is The Trumpiad (Waywiser, 2017). All proceeds from the book are being donated to the ACLU. He’s also the author of two earlier collections: The Self-Styled No-Child (Waywiser, 2016) and Shuffle and Breakdown (Waywiser, 2008). His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Yale Review, Slate, The Best American Poetry (2015 and 2007), and Resistance, Rebellion, Life: Fifty Poems Now (Knopf, 2017), edited by Amit Majmudar. Walker lives with his family in Ann Arbor.

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