Colin Greer

Poem: How Life in Long Island Has Changed in the Trump Era

Author's Note: This summer, like many others I’m out on Long Island for a few weeks. It’s much the same as always: vast sky, astonishing light, and sunscreened, chirping children. There are differences too: It’s hotter than I remember it; there is less rain, and it comes in surprising downpours; it’s more expensive, if that’s possible to imagine; and a surprising number of houses are for sale, but don’t sell. Renters are more Airbnb, as you might expect. People seem to be on a vacation from politics.

All these are indications of a future that is not what we are used to and impossible to predict despite the inevitable guesswork. What is palpable about today and tomorrow is the absence of brown people showing up in trucks to mow lawns, and bus restaurants. You don’t see migrant workers sitting at picnic tables taking a break. Employers and clients lament their absence, which is the presence of Trump on Long Island. It’s heartbreaking and mind-numbing. A friend reminded me of Brecht: In dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.

And poetry too.

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'Amusing Ourselves to Death' Part 3: The Story of Donald Trump

The following is Part 3 of 'Amusing Ourselves to Death: The Story of Trump' by Colin Greer (Read Part One and Part Two)

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'Amusing Ourselves to Death' Part 2: The Story of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin

TRUMP’S chopper is landing at the Iowa State Fair Grounds for the Best Tasting Tomato competition.  HE clears the blades and he is escorted quickly to a platform where he is greeted by a crowd and an introductory welcome from SARAH PALIN.


PALIN
To the crowd.
The Donald! Nothing more to say.  Here he is. 


Cheers.


TRUMP
With a nod and a hug to SARAH.
I came to a tomato competition here in Iowa, and I get the hottest tomato from Alaska to introduce me!  Twice blessed: Sarah here, on my team and you all out there cheering us on.  We are here to save America folks.  We are gonna make America great again.


Pointing to SARAH again.
Only the best!  This lady can shoot the head off a bear and with every breath I take I am pumping up America.


Cheers.


Lights shift to TRUMP AND PALIN alone together. 


TRUMP
Couldn’t have gone better than that.  HE hesitates for a moment.  Except for the fucking pork.  I hate pork.  That can’t happen again.


PALIN
I’m not the caterer Donald, but the fact is, people in America like to see the candidates for President eating pork.  Especially in Iowa. You come from New York City and so people from out here expect you to want organic, maybe even Tofu.  So you gotta get past that. 


TRUMP
I won’t do pork again.  I’ll eat in my way.  They want someone who eats pork, let em go find him.


PALIN
If you are gonna turn New York City dog turd into gold, or even bio-fuel…I don’t much care which, you gotta pick the stuff up.  You got a mouth like a latrine, it shouldn’t be so hard for you.
TRUMP
Laughing.
Done and done.  You know this was a big day for me.  I was given a Winchester rifle when I left New Hampshire and I sat with it all the way here on the chopper.  By the time I got off that chopper, I could honestly say to people, I mean really honestly, deep down from my heart, “I love guns!” That was such a great feeling today, Sarah, “I love guns, I love guns!”


PALIN
Good to hear.  You gotta say that over and over, and now you’re feeling it.  Keep it in your head like you were saying, ”I love children,” then you’ll keep that feeling that people wanna hear.


TRUMP
I love guns.  I am your man.  HE feigns lifting a rifle above his head.  I am your man.
Turning to SARAH.  This is like “Drill, baby, drill, “ Sarah.  This is gonna be one of my lead lines, “I am your man, and I love guns.”


PALIN
Okay.  Hey, I’ve go a question I need talk to you about.  I hear you’ve been speech-ifying about my equal opportunity slavery idea.


TRUMP
Is that a problem? I thought—


PALIN
No.  Not at all. But you’re not getting it right.  You gotta get it right.


TRUMP
Run it by me again.


PALIN
So it’s not just about a safety net.  You gotta say “safety net.” That’s fine.  But it’s also about giving people a second chance.  You’re gonna give America a second chance by giving every American a second chance.  Swomeone runs into trouble, can’t pay their bills, or they’ve been a welfare whore, or a poverty pimp, or a student scofflaw, they get to go into slavery for 5 years.  They’re owned by the government, and they’re sub-contracted to businesses who need some cheap labor to make some profit, and they do what they’re told. Think about it, it’s just an extension of “privatization” and that’s been proven to stimulate economic growth.  At the end of that time, they get a kind of G.I. bill.  They get some training, and they get a second chance.  It’s a big idea, Don.


TRUMP
Done and done again.. I got it, it’s great.  Genius.  It’s compassionate conservatism in a whole new way.  Like I said, Genius!  This is “Manifest Destiny” at work.  Long past time to bury “the mainly left litany,” which has been crapping all over our god-given destiny. 


PALIN
That’s a good thought.  It’s a good segue for me to raise what I wanted to say about you needing to have a strong global message.  I want you to talk to my friend John about that.


TRUMP
John who?


PALIN
John Bolton.  He’s got it down.


TRUMP
I think he was in one of my apartments when he was at the U.N.  He knew you couldn’t trust the Waldorf once the Chinese were buying into it.  Okay, I’ll see him. 


PALIN
Great.  He’s been telling me about this way that he thinks the Russians and immigration can be put together so that things can really change.  A whole new way.


TRUMP
New is good.


PALIN
New and effective.


TRUMP
My two middle names. 


PALIN
John says people need to remember that the Russians built a wall in Berlin that was really like a fortress.  People forget how well that worked.  If people remembered that we would be fighting less about your wall idea here.  John says just because they’re our enemy doesn’t mean we can learn from them.  They knew how to do a wall.  Hungary is getting a wall now too. 


TRUMP nods energetically.


John is convinced that if we ask the Russians for help on the wall here on our border, we can stimulate their economy some and then as they get a bit richer, we arrange for the Mexicans to go there instead of here.


TRUMP
Can you get John in here next week? 
PALIN
Sure.  Oh, by the way, he wants me to ask you about Iran.  You don’t say anything about Iran.  What are you thinking about Iran?


TRUMP
I got that one.  Straight out of my business experience.  It goes like this: Company A hires Company B to hire Company C to get work done that  Company A doesn’t want to do itself. 


PALIN
Who is Company C? 


TRUMP
You said it yourself last time. You said Israel is always right.  Company C is their Mosad. I just gotta figure out exactly how it’s gonna work.  I think it’s going to be a bit like how a mortgage works.  You got someone buying property, you got someone developing it, and you’ve got someone holding the debt.


PALIN
I think that’s smart, but you gotta put the whole thing into simpler words.  You can’t keep talkin’  in those similes or, what is it?


TRUMP
You mean analogies. 


PALIN
You betcha—you gotta keep it simple.


TRUMP
Okay, okay. 
I thought a lot about your assassination recommendation.  I like it a lot.  Surviving an attack on my life at a big event is gonna make me seen for who I really am, bigger than life, conquering Death itself. 


I got three questions: 1) Is it safe?  2)Who’s gonna do it?, and 3) When’s the best time to do this?


END OF SCENE

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