SOCIAL/IZM is a WestVirginiaVille feature devoted to surfacing and archiving noteworthy writing or imagery by West Virginians or about West Virginia on social media that might otherwise disappear down the memory hole.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency in January 2017, many took to the streets in protest during his first 100 days. To be sure, Colleen Anderson — a Charleston, W.Va.-based graphic designer, musician and poet — was to be found among those taking to the streets. But she also took to the limerick. “It just seemed like a good way to focus my frustration and outrage,” said Anderson. She set herself the goal of tracking Trump’s first 100 days in rhyme with daily limericks on her Facebook timeline. Here is a sampling from her Facebook timeline.
Oh, the golfing and banquets and flowers!
The resorts and the clubs and the towers!
The irony wracks us:
While hiding his taxes,
He’s living so richly on ours.
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Anderson said she was inspired by others who’d taken to lampooning and critiquing the administration in limerick and rhyme.
There was so much of it that her limericks and a host of other anti-Trump short verse are now featured in an ongoing website created by Mary Boren at rhymingresistance.com, which drew its initial inspiration from poems posted online by poet Susan Elizabeth.
On her daily walks, Anderson devoted herself to the task of conceiving then posting a daily limerick, coming in just under shy of 100 days.
“I did one a day from the 27th of January until the 29th of April,” she said. “It kind of allowed me to put everything in the smallest package I could put it in.”
Obamacare wasn’t his pick,
So he’s slapped something up, on the quick,
That gives the rich more
By neglecting the poor.
He is Making America Sick.
Her limericks are, obviously, not for the seventy-something percent of West Virginians who voted for Trump. But reading through them on her Facebook timeline is also a kind of shorthand news account — in A-A-B-B-A rhyme form — of the highs or rather the lows, in Anderson’s viewpoint, of the new president’s initial months in office.
So TrumpCare’s in trouble, we see—
Not surprising to Grandad and me,
For chances are high
That your project won’t fly
When you piss off the AARP.
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Trump’s love of golfing weekends gets its very own limerick, of course.
While his ban and his plan for a wall
Seem to stutter and sputter and stall,
He’ll whip up his fan base,
Then head for some green space
To play with a little white ball.
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Rarely did Anderson’s limericks stray from the Commander-in-Chief. An exception is the moment in early February when Senate Republicans silenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren from criticizing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, in a now famous remark by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s that — as the Washington Post put it — “launched a thousand tweets.”
And one limerick in West Virginia.
They shushed her, but still she insisted.
They threatened her, but she resisted.
So the minions of hate
Threw her out, locked the gate.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
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Another limerick relies upon your pronouncing “pajamas” in one of two ways. It doesn’t work if you pronounce it “pa-JAM-as.” But rhyme it with “Obama” and you have a Trumpian limerick.
He’s up again, in his pajamas,
Tweeting about all his traumas,
And no matter what’s wrong,
You can bet, before long,
He’ll be claiming the fault is Obama’s.
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Anderson name-checks Ogden Nash and his screwball word creations in a limerick in which she makes use of the Twitter hashtag coined by the president’s naysayers, BLOTUS (Biggest Liar of the United States).
The BLOTUS is truly vainglorious,
But his word choice is not meritorious.
He’d be talking less trash
If — (with thanks, Ogden Nash) —
He would go out and buy a thesaurious.
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She coins another word in a tweet devoted to the scary politics of dealing with North Korea, a country name which is not easily rhymed.
In a bout of late-night tweetarrhea,
He’s promised to “solve” North Korea.
It’s a dangerous game,
If you pray, say an Ave Maria.
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Anderson ‘s limericks found a devoted audience on her Facebook feed, with readers tossing limericks back at her in the comments. One follower even took to illustrating her limericks as shareable jpeg images.
“It was a lot of fun to have people like them and share them,” she said. “In fact, on my birthday I got about six limericks.”
Ultimately, though, her limerickability began to flag at the end of the 100 days.
“As it got to be about day 90, it got to be a little bit more difficult for me to keep it up,” she said. “I happened not to take a walk that day or didn’t think of one while walking then I’d end up doing it at midnight and agonizing over it.”
By the time, the 100 days were up, Anderson was glad of it, playing off another Trump meme inspired by his comment about dealing with healthcare.
“I never knew it would be so hard,” she deadpanned.
That’s a joke, she added.
“And it wasn’t that hard.”
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Oh, what a perilous time—
To be homeless and foreign’s a crime.
And though I still dare it,
Up here in my garret,
I fear they will soon outlaw rhyme.
For some excellent reporting, good writing and deep-dive analysis on the impact across Appalachia from Trump’s first 100 days and beyond, we highly recommend you check out 100 Days in Appalachia.