Labor Day Weekend 2020 Update--and More
After spending late March through the end of May writing Trump Sonnets, Volume 5 and Trump Sonnets, Volume 6, I took most of May and June to manage a Kickstarter campaign to raise money so me and M.L. Liebler, my inestimable publisher at Ridgeway Press, could get timely copies of the books, both officially out in January 2021. Since late July, we've conscientiously been sending them out to review, and we're still keeping at it. We both love feeling like engaged citizens doing work that matters in these historic times.
Just as Donald Trump isn't through, neither are we. Beginning July 1, I began writing a sonnet day, again in Trump's voice, just like the prior two. 66 days later, I've just about completed Trump Sonnets, Volume 7, which is tentatively subtitled, His Further Virus Monologues. I expect to finish by Labor Day Monday, and I've pasted in a few of these new ones below. I'm thinking of Volumes 5, 6, and 7 as a trilogy, though of course the whole project is more than that (and at some point I'll look to combine all these volumes into one big collection). Jared Yates Sexton, whose new book is out in mid September, and who wrote the back cover endorsement for Volume 5, won't mind me quoting him:
"Perhaps no one has done a better job of chronicling the madness and absurdity of the Trump Era than poet Ken Waldman. These poems continue that project and find art and beauty in the cruelty and grift. When this crisis hopefully abates and people in the future look to understand how America lost its mind, they should turn to these poems, to Waldman's craft, for their lessons."
Volume 7 continues this, and I have an idea for Volume 8, which I think will be an apt follow-up (and optimistically, I've titled this page to reflect that I will, indeed, be writing a Volume 8; I continue to appreciate the support from my publisher here, M. L. Liebler, and from my readers).
NOW, A MID MARCH 2021 UPDATE
Yes, not only has Trump Sonnets, Volume 7 been written, and published, but Volume 8 has also been written. The new manuscript, which includes a foreword by publisher, M.L. Liebler, is at the designer's, and we expect review copies in hand by the start of April. The book has a September 2021 publication date. Scroll down for a few poems from this latest in the series.
Four From Trump Sonnets, Volume 7, His Further Virus Monologues
July 2, 2020
The virus hasn't left yet, but it will,
and when it goes it will be like magic,
and all will be fine. What's really tragic
is the decision with the book. We'll kill
publication--my lawyers say so. Bill
Barr tells me my niece can't write it. He'll fix
this in the next weeks. No one's getting sick
and infections are way down. A new pill,
my Trump Vaccine, will be ready real soon
according to my sources. We can't wait--
I've demanded a taste this afternoon.
We'll fully reopen next month. A great
month, August. Hot! Less than a million dead--
much less. A beautiful number of dead.
July 21, 2020
I did great on the diagnostic tests,
which were hard. I pointed out elephant,
and they didn't ask but I always want
french fries with my hamburgers. I'm the best
president ever. Absolute greatest
man on earth. I love being president
because I can always do what I want,
which is part of the job. I'm making guests
at all my hotels and clubs pay double,
but soon it will be up to triple. I aced
those tests. Everyone else would have trouble
with those hard questions, but not me. In case
you're wondering, I want a hamburger
with french fries tonight. A big hamburger!
August 5, 2020
Leagues are playing baseball and basketball,
just like I proposed. As we reopen
all of our public schools, we'll have to cope
with the Chinese flu. I know it's a tall
order, but just as we build border walls,
we can do this too. So much got broken
by this plague, but I have tremendous hope
that stocks will rise higher than ever. All
it takes is children in schools, their parents
at work, unemployment back to record
lows. What I say is the best common sense
ever. I know what experts don't. I've heard
people say I should get the Nobel Prize.
Most tests, and least dead. That's worth a big prize.
August 23, 2020
What they're doing to Postmaster DeJoy
is criminal. I didn't appoint him.
I don't know him, so what's the big problem?
One more Democratic hoax! They enjoy
their hearings because there's no other joy
in their lives. Losers! That's what's wrong with them.
The mail still goes. They want socialism
forever. Losers! They want to destroy
America, and now they're taking aim
on who I hear is a patriotic man
doing a very fine job. It's the same
post office that's failing for years. I stand
for action and success. I'm a winner!
Postmasters have hard jobs. I'm a winner!
And Four From Trump Sonnets, Volume 8, The Final Four Months
Firefighter, Riverside, California
I've been at this for years and it gets worse
and worse. First, heat. Then smoke so thick you can
barely see or breathe. The men and women
I work with are amazing. It's a curse,
though, in California. A universe
of fires, mudslides, the odd earthquake. The land
is speaking up. It's an American
outrage, which I see first-hand. It gets worse
and worse. I'm not very political,
but this shouldn't be about politics.
I want someone who's environmental
making decisions on top. They can fix
this. Or try. We've gone the wrong direction.
I'll definitely vote this election.
Police Officer, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Why don't the governors do what he says?
He's President of the United States,
which means they have to listen. He's been great,
the greatest president ever. The days
are speeding by. I just know there are ways
to delay certification. Create
a commission or something. The Senate
has those powers. So do the courts. We pay
taxes! And what do we get in return—
this fraudulent election will go down
in history. President Trump has earned
the right to see this through. I hate the sound
of governors saying their hands are tied.
No they aren't! They aren't the ones to decide!
Accountant, Wilmington, North Carolina
I have three daughters who'd never respect
me unless I said I worked against him
this season. I know he's just a symptom,
not the cause, a pathetic, undersexed,
grumpy, surly, stupid old man who's wrecked
everything decent people hold dear. I'm
nobody special, an American
mother, daughter, taxpayer who rejects
all he stands for. My girls are 21,
17, and 11. I've raised them
to think critically and pay attention
to a world full of beauty and problems.
I'm not rich but I've donated money
and time to fight for our precious country.
Private Investigator, Sacramento, California
That was something, rioters invading
the Capitol. Sedition, insurrection,
whatever you want to call it. I'm done
with understanding. No more placating
the enemy crazies. They're creating
their own demise. It's de-evolution,
if you will, even if revolution
is their aim. It's Facebook, Twitter, gaming
that's made them lose their minds. Way too much time
on screens and TV. Plus hate radio.
It's going to be a long, hard, slow climb
out of this. Random violence. I know
it'll get worse. But I'm an optimist.
Trump will be out of there. But Jesus Christ . . .