Editor’s Note: In our current political landscape, politics often look like theatre—what would it mean to embrace this (sad) truth? After reading Daniel P. Reiva’s poetical yet remarkably lucid and persuasive look at Robert Mueller’s “poetry," I couldn’t help but feel the Minnesota Playlist community would enjoy it. Teetering somewhere between monologue, lit crit, and artist statement, the below begs to be read and performed.
Since the day the Mueller Report was released to Congress and the public, many news anchors and pundits have enjoyed reading text excerpts of the report out-loud and verbatim. They recite excerpts from the text with vocal emphasis, as if it were poetry or a dramatic monologue.
After a thorough reading, I realized the entire Mueller report is full of unintentional poetic elements that give the document an interesting aesthetic feel. A rhythm underlying some of the language and fascinating jargon used freely without being defined encourages a poetic response. For example, a series of sentences near the beginning stand-out like the first stanza of a poem that I creatively extrapolated.
If one day
God let's this liar
Into the White House,
America will face real tragedy.
For the President's unethical acts
Will rain in cacophony over the stillness,
Like the staticky voice-over
And looping black-and-white clicks
Of an old documentary film
About mental illness.
Bringing together poetic elements unintentionally hidden amid a non-literary text is a kind of "found poetry". Found poetry has a long tradition in literature, extending from the Zurich DaDaists of 1918 to the work of avant-garde composer John Cage in the '60's.
Active measures…Deceptive acts
Military Hacker Unit 26165
Used a pool of bitcoins
It had mined for spearphishing boards of election
And secretaries of state.
They logged keystrokes and took screenshots.
They hacked 30 computers of the DNC network
And stole tens of thousands of emails.
Exfiltrated 33 tranches of data
Stolen by Unit 26165.
70 gigabytes compressed to PDF.
File transferred to Wikileaks
For later release.
The text and notes of the Mueller report (Vol.I) contain many poetic lines, phrases, jargon and quotes, as well as unusually rhythmic sentence fragments. Using poetic license rather liberally, I composited, conflated, paraphrased and adapted the language into fifteen free verse poems.
A lone Russian hacker
In northern Romania,
Chat Group 594242937858486276:
Do you find anything interesting
In the docs I posted to annoy Hillary?
She's bright, well-connected,
But it would be much better for the GOP to win.
Then, we'd be in the driver's seat
She's a sadistic sociopath,
A hawkish interventionist with bloodlust in her eyes
And ambitions of empire.
She'd be in the driver's seat
With the freedom to start more wars.
The DemsplusMediaplusLiberals wouldn't say a thing.
I, too, oppose the idea of a Hillary White House.
If you have anything more against Hillary
We can't wait to see it.
Ready to support you.
We have sensitive info, too.
Let's do it together.
Maybe In the next couple of days.
I heard about a guy
Who was murdered by Hillary
Because he leaked info to Wikileaks.
That is a very dangerous allegation.
The candidate is genuinely frustrated.
If you are listening,
I hope you'll find the 30, 000 emails
That are missing!)
Will more releases
Been trying to reach you.
Got something you might find interesting.
You won't be disappointed.
Campaign planned its entire press strategy
Upon the possible release
Of Hillary's emails.
Within five hours, 90 emails,
From Clinton's accounts,
Will be released by Wikileaks.
Perfect! I love it!
The words taken out of context still resonate the inherent subtext of the language used. The themes underlying the report's narrative become highlighted in the poetry.
Plan 9 from Outer Space
The 50 men,
Wealthy Russian Businessmen,
Often referred to as the oligarchs
Met in secret conclave at the World Chess Federation Finals
To discuss the explosive prospects of Project T.
They weren't happy about Washington's meddling in Ukraine -
The international sanctions imposed by the White House
Threatened a New Cold War.
They worried if the Project could be counted on
When it was time to start.
All it would take
Was a minor wink,
A slight push,
An off-hand remark,
From Donald Trump,
Or just the look on his face,
And everything Putin planned for Urkraine
Would be put into place.
I felt the poetic elements naturally fell together as poems expressing the enthusiasm of those excited to be tapped by the Russians to assist in their attempts to influence the result of America's presidential election.
Thank-you. All clear.
He had no relationship with her last fall.
Just- 'Hi, how are you?'
But he was more interested
Than he appeared.
And she did not appear to care.
He had reason to believe she was highly connected
With the Russian government,
Here, on a foreign policy trip.
So, he played tat for tit with Russia
But did not want to start WWV.
Baby, thank you.
We ought to get on with our lives.
The Trump campaign obviously viewed Russian intrusion as simply a beneficial artifact of social media. Playing upon the inherent cover of anonymity, the campaign people used social media as a playground for broaching far-flung contacts and proposing over-the-top (even outlandish) ambitions.
Cohen Meets Sater in the Lobby of Trump Tower
Buddy, our boy can be president!
We can engineer it!
This spectacular Tower Project in Moscow
Will definitely receive worldwide attention.
I'll get Putin to buy in.
With America's most difficult adversary
On stage with Donald for the ribbon cutting,
Trump owns the Republican nomination.
And our boy is in!
We can manage the process better
But are Russian officials actually involved or even interested?
Trump is receptive to the idea
Of meeting with Putin.
And Putin was ready to meet him,
In a neutral country or even right in Moscow.
Putin wants to deal with a pragmatic leader,
Who understands business, politics, whatever it all is.
He agrees Donald is the guy.
He's sure he can make deals with Trump.
I've got the Russians on a line,
They want to know when you're coming.
Please scan me a copy of your passports
For the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Assuming the trip does happen,
Trump's schedule has become increasingly demanding.
It's all business, nothing political.
Trump will be invited to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
With the entire Business class of Russia.
And there's a very strong chance he'll meet Putin there,
The meeting with the 2 big guys could happen anytime!
But I'm not sure he'll come.
He has a very grueling and full travel schedule.
We can own this election!
We can pull this off!
2 boys from Brooklyn
Get USA president elected!
Let me walk this thru the campaign
To see what everyone thinks.
No commitments. Great work, though.
We'll talk more later.
Remember, this is good…really good!
We're going to be in the driver's seat.
The omnipresent influence of Donald Trump in the minds of family members and campaign officials is shown in their judgement and actions. Everyone who crossed the line of lawfulness or rationality, especially in interactions with the Russians, did so because he continually gave the signal that if it were up to him, he would go much further.
A Morning Meeting in Trump Tower
The crown prosecutor of Russia
Offers campaign staff and Trump family members
More dirt on Hillary.
What are we doing here?
Russians make for bad campaign optics.
Dad expects a speech
With more negatives about Clinton.
Maybe we should hear this guy out.
Please accept the gift I bestow upon you:
A bag of soil from a town in Belarus.
Where the Kushner family came from?
To be completely honest with you, the guy's just BS-ing.
I could get the same stuff from a guy I know in Kyrgyzstan.
These people are just trying to look important.
Please - think before you decline this meeting!
I could be your mysterious Rasputin
With a link to Putin.
A lot of people claim to carry messages from Putin himself
But very few can verify It.
All around the hypocrisy of the West.
Avoiding democracy's inequality and corruption.
He offers you subterfuge at its best,
And a work of art that is Russian.
This is a waste of time.
He's preaching to the wrong crowd.
This meeting is so boring.
My reputation will be destroyed
By this dumb meeting.
It's a purely political, enemy act.
I head a major bank in Russia.
I understand your company has a major debt coming due,
For your tower at 666 5th Ave.
The Campaign has stated
Russia is no longer America's No. 1 threat.
I think you want closer ties to the Kremlin than you let on.
Perhaps… we could start afresh with the Russians?
Maybe establish a back-channel, somewhere neutral,
Like the Seychelle Islands?
Will it be worth it if everything blows-up?
I can make sure all is kept out of the press.
The meeting lasted 30 minutes.
They say nothing ever came of it.