Barack Obama’s Poem “Pop”



Update: 5/14: I should add that I personally believe the questionable references in this story strike me as references to spilled alcohol. If there are sexual references, I see nothing homosexual in them.

Original Story: 5/12: As long as we are dredging up Mitt Romney’s teenaged past, we might as well look at a poem Barack Obama wrote as a 19 year old. It’s decent poetry but the content is more interesting to me.

It is entitled “Pop,” and was written by Barack Obama in 1981. I researched it to see if it was really a poem written by Barack Obama and found it posted on the NY Times and attributed to him. You can decide what it means.

It possibly gives some insight into our President’s past though we know from his own written word that he created composite characters for his autobiography. It is hard to know what is true and not true when examining his writing. Pop could be a composite character.

Seems like Pop was a sloppy drunk  but that’s my take on it.

Published: NY Times May 18, 2008

Following are two poems [I only included one poem] by Barack Obama that were published in the Spring 1981 issue of “Feast,” a 51-page student literary journalthat described itself as “a semi-annual journal of short poetry and fiction collected from the Occidental College community.” The journal is no longer published, according to a college spokesman.

Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I’m sure he’s unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he’s still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He’s so unhappy, to which he replies…
But I don’t care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I’ve been saving; I’m laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Two fingers.
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shrink, my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; ’cause
I see my face, framed within
Pop’s black-framed glasses
And know he’s laughing too.


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