Thank you very much.
For fun, and just to prove that Obama has a poetic sensibility in him (although legal and political training may have killed quite a lot of it--this poems are a good quarter-century old or more) here are the three poems American student journalists have unearthed, written by Obama during high school and college.
Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes,
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I'm sure he's unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he's still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He's so unhappy, to which he replies...
But I don't care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I've been saving; I'm laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I've got on mine, and
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shink,* my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; 'cause
I see my face, framed within
Pop's black-framed glasses
And know he's laughing too.
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.
* "Shink" may be a typo, but the poem is reproduced as published.
Poem Obama wrote in High School
I saw an old forgotten man
On an old, forgotten road
staggering and numb
pulls out forgotten dignity from under his flaking coat,
And walks a straight line along the crooked world.
It seems that empathy was a quality Obama possessed from an early age.
The project now has contributions from, inter alia, two laureates and a wide spectrum of westerners--how about come wisdom from the east of the country? Check the blog for my email. We'll collect for at least another ten days. Thank you!
Eva van Loon/Kaimana Wolff
Powell River LIve Poets' Guild