Read Joshua Weiner’s virtual chapbook, Everything I Do I Do Good
Joshua Weiner’s “TrumPoems” in Everything I Do I Do Good are amazing, and truly sui generis. They mimic Trump, but they’re more of an investigation into the nature of language, into how language has its own autonomous structures that generate all kinds of contradictory ideas about authority and its justifications. It’s as if the persona of Trump is a device to let the rational mind go one way while the language goes its own way. Sometimes the persona generates the language, but more often it’s as if the poet has given up on sense, or has given logic the permission to ensnare itself in endless semantic and implied psychological difficulties. There’s a strange Teretz-like quality to the speaker, as if he’s being demonized and isn’t in control of what he’s saying, even though the rhymes and tight stanza forms bring a sense of order that keeps erupting into really odd feeling states that go way beyond Trump or the political moment. The mimicry makes me think of invective, but the speech is dream speech, and the feeling is a kind of megalomania crossed with half mad expressions that inspire as much pity as revulsion. It’s as if Trump as a character moved way past ridicule in the poet’s imagination and into a linguistic nightmare that one can’t wake up from…really weird, really wild and strange!