“Embarrassing” emerged recently as the word of the day at the University of Michigan, after its Office of University Development recommended “key words” and phrases to a poetry fellow in a ham-fisted attempt to help her compose a poem for the inauguration of the school’s new President (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25th online).
Inaugural poems are commonplace in higher education, but University Life readers might not know that many colleges and universities also commission short poems when a President leaves the institution in disgrace. Here’s a sampling from the past three years, organized by reason for dismissal. In order to avoid adding insult to injury, the schools are not identified.
Embezzlement of Funds
Pell Grant money, stolen
Where did that yacht come from?
May it sink
Ever so slowly
Into the Mariana Trench
With you below deck, dear President
Squealing like a mischief of sewer rats in a burlap sack
Thrown from a bridge
Couldn’t keep it in your pants
You disgust us
Please zip up before leaving
We don’t want you scaring the earthworms
Lack of Commitment to Shared Governance
All we wanted
Was to work with you
But of course
That was too much to ask
Of a narcissist
What were we thinking
When we hired an Oreck like you?
You suck at your job
At commencement you proclaimed
“Harry Belafonte was my favorite Negro”
And then you sang “Day-O”
So, so huge
“Ron DeSantis may have a point”
You said so at the General Faculty Meeting
No, he doesn’t have a point
And every breath you take
Is one too many
Finally, poetry for the 21st century.