April Fool’s Day, 2018. Trump Squeeze Ball in a flower pot.
Although I wouldn’t really mind if Donald woke up one morning as a shrunken head and a plastic munchkin trapped in a bag made in China, hence forcing him to resign, it’s only an April Fools joke!
The Trump Squeeze Ball I bought for $4.95 at 7-Eleven and then displayed at the March for Our Lives at Washington Square Park is an opportune moment to reflect on where we’ve been with Trump.
Back in October 2016, in Rochester 7-Eleven coffee drinkers narrowly favor Clinton 101; most are independent we canvassed the electoral preferences of 7-Eleven customers, including buying the Donald Trump Boxing and Talking Pen.
At that time, I hoped — and expected — the Trump Boxing and Talking Pen would become a historical relic and curiosity, to be left in the 7-Eleven dumpster bin of history.
But, as seen in The electoral year in review. Getting Trumped., the November Fool’s joke was on us. So now 7-Eleven is selling the Love Him or Hate Him Trump Squeeze Ball and the President Trump “Hair to the Chief” Troll.
Possibly because the Ball is cheaper, it outsells the Troll ($9.95). Based on conversations with the clerks, the anecdotal evidence is that far more Trump Haters than Lovers squeeze or stretch the ball. As the ball can be contorted in multiplicities of gross looking and unflattering facial contortions, it’s hard to imagine a Lover forking over the $4.95. Given its lighter satire, the Troll seems marketed for Trump supporters.
At the March 24th March for Our Lives, I asked people to hold or squeeze Trump’s head and to free associate. Given the event, not surprisingly most vented on the ball or used the occasion to make disparaging comments. Lois Tucker said gripping the clammy feeling head was “disgusting,” in which she implied a comparison between the head and Trump’s policies. Her son Dean adamantly refused to even touch the mushy head. The peace activist held the ball, pondered for a second, and replied: “Empty.”
Representing the Green Party, Alex White held the ball and mouthed “blah, blah, blah,” suggesting the meaninglessness of much of Trump’s speech. Maddy, who was looking at the book selection at the Socialist tent, said the ball when contorted looks like how Trump peers at us on tv while “trying to ruin our lives.”
I did find a scattering of Trump supporters. Fittingly gathered at the Austrian cannon on the north side of the park, several NRA members held signs and discussed gun control. One man said his wife loves Trump but found the ball too disgusting to touch when she saw it at 7-Eleven. I asked the man if I could photograph him with the toy. He declined, saying sometimes pictures like that can get twisted out of context. The man’s point was valid. He deserved full respect for peaceably participating in civic discourse.
Looking at other Trump pieces that have appeared in Talker, since the election George Cassidy Payne has written over two dozen pieces on Trump and Trump related policies. Several of those pieces have also appeared in newspapers around New York state. George’s goal is to reach into the “red” areas of the state, opening discussions on Trump that might not ordinarily occur. Clink on the link for selected articles.
Also, as seen in Trump is Perverse, Fight in Verse, we’ve had several Trump-themed poetic contributions.
Further, in 2017, motivated by the sense of despair and emotional devastation felt by most of his friends in the poetry community over the election of Trump, one of our contributors, John Roche, published Trumped: a poets speaks anthology.
Trumped is the first in an ongoing series of anthologies in response to the national and planetary crisis provoked by the election 0f 11/8/16. The series includes Hers, Water, Walls, and the forthcoming Survival. Topics include the gun issue, fears of imminent war should John Bolton’s counsel hold sway. the Me, Too movement, pipelines, fracking, the Dreamers and Black Lives Matter.
Most of the volumes are available locally at the Before Your Quiet Eyes bookstore at 439 Monroe, Rochester, and at Small World Books, 425 North St. Rochester.
On the eve of the 2016 election, as seen in RIT’s John Roche offers “Orange Golem”and Trumped.” And the Donald’s parting shots., we published John’s poem “Trumped,” which became the featured poem in Trumped. In retrospect, we wish we did not have to write any more about Trump.
Trump humps the chair
Trump grasps the electric sceptre
Trump pants and groans
Trump sweats orange bleeds orange melts orange
No mad Sweeney
No mad Lear
No mad Queeg
How can a brand be mad?
How can a brand be tragic?
How can a brand be a man?
“Success by Trump” cologne
Trump cuff links
Trump cocktail tables
Trump Natural Spring Water
Trump Ice– yes, he really tried to market ice!
Trump the Game
Tour de Trump
A nation of salesmen meets the age of simulacra
The ultimate Babbitt
The true fruition of everything Melville, Twain, Whitman, Veblen, Lewis, Vidal warned us against
The Donald ‘R’ US
In Hype We Trust
All of us coated with a great orange oil slick
All of us covered in the gurry of it
as Olson would say
All of us covered in great orange whale shit
Is it possible to write poetry after Trump?
— John Roche, November 2016