Eight Tweets That Are Really Poetry

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Lucas celebrates a Twitter milestone with the poetry of Twitter.

With Twitter turning 10 this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate a decade of Twitter than with a look back at eight (not ten, that’d be ridiculous) celebrity tweets that I undoubtedly believe to be hidden gems of beautiful poetry. Each of these tweets has been carefully crafted both formally and thematically within the 140 character limit and exhibit a terse and tenured diction and syntax to rival the even the greatest of literary icons.

[warning: explicit language in some of these tweets. Potty mouthed celebs innit – sweaty ed.]

8. Victor Wanyama, ‘I had spaghetti’

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We begin our countdown with this piece entitled, ‘I had spaghetti’ by Southampton footballer Victor Wanyama. Known more for his strength and physicality as a professional athlete, it is refreshing to see Wanyama expressing such personal delight in this poem. The statement, ‘it was very nice i enjoyed it’ may be devoid of regular punctuation, however the sheer human openness of it more than makes up for what it lacks in structure. ‘I had spaghetti’ is a poem of pure joy, only occasionally getting bogged down in the nitty gritty (‘I had spaghetti’ is a concrete and unavoidable fact) to present the exuberant satiation of an immense hunger for life.

7. Jose Canseco, ‘Baseball’

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From one sports star to another I now bring you former MLB star Jose Canseco’s emotional effort: ‘Baseball’. Canseco’s poem is primarily focused on what he, in his mind, ‘will always be’ during both life and death. Unchanged by the whims of fame, Canseco is overtly aware of the fact he can never be anything other than a lowly ‘basball player’ (though I myself would argue a career as a poet is certainly on the cards) with the misspelling of baseball being used here to represent his retirement from the game, unable to properly refer to himself as a baseball player he feels unworthy of such a title. The poem takes a considerably darker turn towards its conclusion as he notes what his ‘tomb stone will just say’, the echo that ‘just say’ provides to ‘just simply’ emphasising his lack of self-worth. ‘Baseball’ is what Canseco claims will be strewn across his tombstone and ‘Baseball’ is how he decides to end his poem.

6. 50 Cent, ‘My Grandmother’

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Transitioning from one dwindling career to the next, we now observe 50 Cent’s poem entitled ‘My Grandmother’. Cent’s poem is bewildering and unstructured, using zero punctuation and instead employing a free verse form and a stream of consciousness style in order to present his thoughts as unfiltered as possible. The result is a painfully honest poem that deals with family issues and the problems that often arise after achieving fame. Cent finds it difficult to ‘belive’ that his grandmother still expects him to ‘take Out’ the garbage after he has, in his own words, become ‘rich’. The use of ‘belive’ is interesting in the attention it directs to ‘live’ as Cent appears to feel that he cannot live his own life out from under the shadow of his grandmother. ‘fuck this I’m going home’ is especially true in this regard as Cent gives up all inhibitions and realises that he doesn’t ‘need this shit’ and that being a grown man he can do whatever he likes. Regardless of how one interprets Cent’s bourgeois values, there is a definite sense of triumph here as the consistent implement of the pronoun ‘I’ and ‘I’m’ reflect how Cent has finally come to terms with who he is and making his own life decisions.

5. Ed Balls, ‘Ed Balls’

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Ed Balls.

4. Hulk Hogan, ‘My life’

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Hulk Hogan’s beautiful yet brief poem, aptly titled ‘My life’, provides the answer to the age old question of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. The answer is of course: Ecstasy. Hogan’s masterful use of enjambment here conveys more meaning than words ever could as ‘My life’ is separated from the opening line ‘First tweet of’ in order to emphasise how Hogan feels increasingly separated between his own ‘real life’ and the online persona which he must maintain through the use of social media. Hogan is not a young man and the strain of playing such a young man’s game of Twitter certainly shows in this aspect. Regardless, Hogan’s poem is a lovely example of how poetry can free the soul irrespective of age and gender.

3. Martha Stewart, ‘Life on Farm’

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Martha Stewart’s ‘Life on Farm’ is one of the most visceral poems I have ever read. Set in her very own home, Stewart paints a picture of perfect country harmony as she ‘let out the dogs’ only for the poem to undergo a volte face soon after as ‘within minutes’ they had already ‘cornered, attacked and killed an opossum’. The barrage of commas employed by Stewart create a frenetic pace within the poem to convey just how quickly this rampant violence occurred in her household – very likely acting as a metaphor for the state of capitalist America and the gruesome nature of corporate greed. The final two lines of Stewart’s poems will leave readers floored in their brutal presentation: ‘had to wash little bloody mouths .life on farm’. What is shocking about these final lines is not their content but their nonchalant presentation, as if washing these ‘little bloody mouths’ is somewhat of a daily occurrence for Stewart who belittles this experience as nothing more than ‘life on farm’. Stewart herself has become desensitized to the overt violence of both her farm and America itself, no longer able to sufficiently feel for the death of the underclass, or in this case, the lowly bumpkin opossum.

2. Gerry Adams, ‘Glad 2 B Alive’

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Ireland is known for its fantastic poets and I would certainly argue that Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams appears to be a great part of this tradition. ‘Glad 2 b alive’, like its title, is a poem that is both achingly modern and undeniably classical, strewn with traditional images such as the ‘Grey light’ of the ‘dawn breaking’ mixed with more modern vernacular in the form of the text talk of ‘Glad 2 b alive’. This is Adams masterfully using his 140 character count to convey the most meaning possible, not skimping on details such as the ‘grey’ squirrel’s colour. Adams ends the poem by praising the fact that both he and the cat are glad to be alive, however there is a bubbling discordance not far beneath the surface of this poem. The fact it is the squirrel chasing the cat and not vice versa would suggest that the world Adams is presenting is a fictitious dystopia in which power positions have been overthrown, the repetition of ‘grey’ also strongly suggesting that things are not as euphoric as they once seemed. Adams shows real depth here and is really ‘out on bike’ and a limb in the brave anti-authoritarian message that he is attempting to present.

1. Donald Trump, ‘A House in a Village’ 

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There is little to say about this poem that it cannot say itself, thus is the lushness of Trump’s imagery  as we are painted a stunning portrait of ‘late summer’, trammelling across ‘the river and the plain’ to find ourselves cosily nestled amongst the mighty ‘mountains’ of Middle America. The ‘Gorgeous house’ which Trump describes is brought to life by the verdant surroundings which surround it. Trump’s final line of ‘I’m very rich’ is true in many aspects, significantly with regards to his spectacular use of rich and vibrant imagery. Some may read this as an exclamation of his wealth, however in reality I believe that Trump is merely highlighting how rich he is in life experience being so close to the heartland of American culture.

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