Richard Blanco may be the president's choice to deliver the inaugural poem on Monday, but folks at the national news radio show The Takeaway are busily composing an inaugural poem in a more democratic way: they're asking everyone to write it.
Oh, yes. Organizers have asked us (!) to harness our most patriotic and poetic instincts (!) and (this part is less exciting) send lines to The Takeaway via Twitter with the hashtag #prezpoem.
In order to keep our poem from becoming a big mess of awesome eagles, purple mountains and vague abstractions, the show has enlisted highly regarded poet Kwame Dawes to curate the project. On Tuesday, Dawes provided an opening line to get things started:
Say "nation." In the wake of quarrels, say "hope."
And oh, did it get us started. Lines from we the people have been pouring in ever since. And you know, at times, we might come off as a little too earnest, and we might go a little crazy with our adjectives, and we might not even take the time to spell "thru" correctly, but this thing is on Twitter, and we could be writing the inaugural poem with one hand while driving for all you know, so don't judge us.
Dawes will be joining The Takeaway to pick out some of his favorite lines, but I'm feeling impatient and have picked out a few of my own. And don't worry, random American, if your line struggled, I won't single you out and make fun of you, because that would be mean and, anyway, this is about us. Here are some of my favorite lines so far:
Ring the bells for history. Morning songs liberty loves
--James Schwartz (who has a good ear)
Say 'hope,' eyes turned not to the gauzy sky
nor to the brassy gates of power
but to the frost-bitten grass beneath our feet.
Say "work" to sate the laborer's appetite for righteous days and gentle nights.
--Janet Hull (what are you, a socialist?) (kidding! I like it.)
Say 'love.' Sweep away exclusion, say 'unity.'
As we triumphantly stand upon the piles of our conquered foes, mutilated and destroyed. We exclaim "MORE!"
--Graveyard Shift (wait, what?)
Witness progress in the union of many, say 'forward'
--Mark Fauntleroy (that's better)
We might not be Richard Blanco, but this union of many did all right. Be sure to contribute your own lines to the poem on Twitter, and check The Takeaway to see how the people's inaugural poem ended up.