Poet Susan Grimm writes about troublesome poems: (a partial follow-up to her earlier post, How I Thought/Think About Poems I Write):
- The poem that is there but in disguise... The poem that is not yet there...
|L'oiseau et le bouquet (ca. 1915), by Guillaume Apollinaire|
|Kite Vista (detail), courtesy Lori Kella. On view in Things That Fly, April 21-June 4, 2016.|
Writing in Raw Story, [scholar Will] Kaufman quotes some song lyrics Guthrie wrote to denounce “old man Trump”:I supposeOld Man Trump knowsJust how muchRacial Hatehe stirred upIn the bloodpot of human heartsWhen he drawedThat color lineHere at hisEighteen hundred family projectAs Kaufman notes, both Fred Trump and his son would be investigated by the government for allegedly racist leasing practices.
In 1979, 12 years after Guthrie had succumbed to the death sentence of Huntington’s Disease, Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett published a two-part exposé about Fred and Donald Trump’s real estate empire.Barrett devoted substantial attention to the cases brought against the Trumps in 1973 and 1978 by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. A major charge was that “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents” had “created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.” The most damning evidence had come from Trump’s own employees. As Barrett summarizes:According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the central [Trump] office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. Three doormen were told to discourage blacks who came seeking apartments when the manager was out, either by claiming no vacancies or hiking up the rents. A super said he was instructed to send black applicants to the central office but to accept white applications on site. Another rental agent said that Fred Trump had instructed him not to rent to blacks. Further, the agent said Trump wanted “to decrease the number of black tenants” already in the development “by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”
Guthrie had written that white supremacists like the Trumps were “way ahead of God” becauseGod dont know much about any color lines.Guthrie hardly meant this as a compliment. But the Trumps – father and son alike – might well have been arrogant enough to see it as one. After all, if you find yourself “way ahead of God” in any kind of a race, then what else must God be except, well, “a loser”? And we know what Donald Trump thinks about losers.One thing is certain: Woody Guthrie had no time for “Old Man Trump.”