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2015: The year in found poetry

By Hart SeelyDecember 23, 2015

Found poetry
Poetry is everywhere Shelly / Flickr

Now and then, some intellectual will lament the dearth - if not the death - of poetry in modern society. This will be someone who never listens to rap music, reads a children’s book or watches bad cable TV. I believe great poetry is everywhere, and in 2015, it bloomed around us constantly. All we had to do was listen. 

Here is a smattering of verse culled from the last 12 months, chronologically. Go back and look yourself. I’m sure you’ll find many more. 


February 1, 2015

New England Patriots fans react during a Patriots touchdown run in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX
New England Patriots fans react during a Patriots touchdown run in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIXScott Eisen / Getty Images

BAD CALL

They tried a pick, Al!
They tried to go here!
But he beats ‘em to the punch!
And I’m sorry,
BUT I CAN’T BELIEVE THE CALL!

I CANNOT BELIEVE THE CALL!

You’ve got Marshawn Lynch 
in the backfield; you’ve got a guy 
who’s been borderline unstoppable
in this part of the field! 

I CAN’T BELIEVE THE CALL! 

Chris Collingsworth, NBC Sports commentator
Final play of Super Bowl XLIX, to Al Michaels, on game-winning interception

February 15, 2015

Boston digs out after record snow.
Boston digs out after record snow.Kayana Szymczak / Getty Images

WINTER HOTH

I love winter to a degree, 
But there comes a point where 

You are so outside the bell curve, 
And it’s no longer winter… 

But living on the planet Hoth.

Rob Halpin, Massachusetts
Shoveling snow

March 16, 2015

Ted Cruz campaigning in New Hampshire
Ted Cruz campaigning in New HampshireDarren McCollester / Getty Images

ON FIRE

I.
It’s now or never! 
I don’t think we’ve reached 
the point of no return, yet. 
But we’re close, we are close! 

II.
The whole world’s on fire! 
The world is on fire! 
Yes! Your world is on fire! 
But you know what? 
Your mommy’s here.

Ted Cruz rally in New Hampshire
Speaking to a frightened little girl

March 22, 2105

California's Central Valley heavily impacted by severe drought
California's Central Valley heavily impacted by severe droughtJustin Sullivan / Getty Images

IT BECOMES IRREVERSIBLE

We know that this drought 
is just the kind of things 
that are absolutely inevitable 
in the coming years and decades.

And it builds up slowly. 
That's the challenge. 
And it becomes irreversible.
So you can't just sit around 

And engage in rhetoric, 
because some of your donors 
and your constituents say, 
"Well, we want to make profit." 

The coal companies 
are not as important 
as the people of America, 
and the people of the world. 

California Governor Jerry Brown
Interview on Meet the Press

        

April 5, 2015

University of Virginia fraternity at center of disputed Rolling Stone Magazine story on alleged gang rape incident
University of Virginia fraternity at center of disputed Rolling Stone Magazine story on alleged gang rape incidentJay Paul / Getty Images

DAMAGE DONE

Reporting on rape 
has unique challenges, 
but the journalist still 
has the responsibility 
to get it right. 

I hope that my mistakes 
in reporting this story 
do not silence the voices 
of victims that need 
to be heard.

Sabrina Rubin Erdely 
Author of discredited Rolling Stone article on rape at University of Virginia

April 8, 2015

Feidin Santana's video of what turned out to be Walter Scott's shooting.
Feidin Santana's video of what turned out to be Walter Scott's shooting.Feidin Santana

SOMETHING IN MY HANDS

The police officer just… um… 
Shot him in the back. 

And I knew, right away, that
I had something in my hands.

Feidin Santana, North Charleston, S.C.
Taped police shooting of Walter Scott 

April 27, 2015

Students regroup safely after another school shooting, this time at a high school in Lacey, Washington.
Students regroup safely after another school shooting, this time at a high school in Lacey, Washington.

DON’T LET LUIS GO TO SCHOOL

Mom we hiding right now
but there is a kid 
at school with a gun 
there’s were a few shoots 
and we’re all okay 
we’re all in hiding, Mom 
I don’t want to stay.

Here when this is all over
Can you come and get me?
Don’t let Luis go to school.

This is not a joke
This is all serious.

Text messages, unnamed student high school in Lacey, Washington
Hiding from shooter; no one died

May 20, 2015

Fans gather at Ed Sullivan Theatre before David Letterman's last show.
Fans gather at Ed Sullivan Theatre before David Letterman's last show.Andrew Burton / Getty Images

GOOD NIGHT

We have done over 6,000 shows. 
And I was here for most of them. 
And I can tell you 
a pretty high percentage of those shows 
absolutely… sucked. 
And, also, in light of all of this praise, 
Merited or not, do me a favor: 
 
Save a little for my funeral. 

David Letterman
During the taping of his final show

May 26, 2015

Record rains spawn epic floods in Austin, Texas Hill Country.
Record rains spawn epic floods in Austin, Texas Hill Country.Drew Anthony Smith / Getty Images

TELL MOM AND DAD

She called me and she said, 
OK, we're in Wimberley. 
We're in a house 
and we have water coming in. 

And I said, OK. I go, well, where exactly? 
And then she started to look outside 
and sees how high the water was getting. 
So I told her to call 911. 

And she was surprised,
she didn't really fathom that 911
was what she was supposed to call.
And so, she called them 

and I told her that help was on the way.
And then, a little after 1:00 in the morning
she called and said,
I just want you to know

the ceiling has caved in and the boat —
the house, is floating down the water,
and tell Mom and Dad that I love them,
I love you, and pray.

Julie Shields, Texas
Final words from her sister, Laura McCome, who was lost in the flood

June 4, 2015

Pamela Geller defends her controversial Draw Muhammad contest on CNN.
Pamela Geller defends her controversial Draw Muhammad contest on CNN.Christian Peterson / Getty Images

OFFENDED

I find a lot of things offensive. 
I find your petition offensive. 
I find you telling me 
that my speech is offensive, 
I find that offensive. 

I'm not going to kill you.
This is what is required
to live in a pluralistic society.
And I will not abridge
my First Amendment rights

so as not to offend savages, 
which is what is being 
demanded of me --
by you and your colleagues.

Pamela Geller, head of “Draw Muhammed” contest in Garland, TX,
Where two gunmen, linked to ISIS, open fired and were killed.

June 19, 2015

People come together in prayer after a shooter killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston church.
People come together in prayer after a shooter killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston church.John Moore / Getty Images

THERE WILL BE JUDGEMENT

We are the family that love built.
We have no room for hate.
So we have to forgive.
I pray to God on your soul.

And I also thank God
That I won't be around
When your judgment day
Comes with Him.

Bethane Middleton-Brown, sister of shooting victim Depayne Middleton-Brown
Letter to Dylann Roof, who killed nine black parishioners in Charleston Church.

June 29, 2015

Manhunt continues for two prisoners that broke out of New York state prison.
Manhunt continues for two prisoners that broke out of New York state prison.Eric Thayer / Getty Images

NOT WELCOME

My son knows that
if he would have came here,
I would have knocked him out
and had them guys
take him to jail by themselves
because that's just the way I am.

I've always done it to him
when he was bad.
He always got in trouble
and every time he did,
I would grab him by the ear
and take him to the police station.

I just want to know
what's the matter with my son.

Pamela Sweat, mother of David Sweat, 
one of two escapees from a Northern NY prison caught after 22 days in the wild.

Summer, 2015

Ashley Madison homepage
Ashley Madison homepageCarl Court/Getty Images

SHHHH…

I’m ready for something new.
Something for myself.
Something that I gotta do.
I can’t wait to decide.
There’s nothing that I haven’t tried 
Except…

Ashley Madison.
Shhhh…

Ashley Madison
Shhhh…

Ashley Madison
Shhhh…

ASHLEYMADISON.com
Life is short. 
Have an Affair.

Ad for sex-swap website Ashley Madison, which was later hacked

July 11, 2015

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally in Phoenix.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally in Phoenix.Charlie Leight / Getty Images

ON BEING WORTH TEN BILLION DOLLARS

The number is actually much higher
Than anybody ever knew.
And I’m not saying that to brag.

I’m only saying that because,
That is the kind of thinking
our country needs. 

Donald Trump at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona

July 15, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards.
Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards.Kevin Winter / Getty Images

BRING IT ON

It is an honor to have 
the word “courage” 
associated with my life. 
But tonight another word 
comes to mind, 
and that is “fortunate.” 

I owe a lot to sports. 
It has shown me the world, 
it has given me an identity. 
If someone wanted to bully me, 
well, you know what? 
I was the MVP of the football team. 

That just wasn’t going to be a problem. 
And the same thing goes tonight. 
If you want to call me names, 
make jokes, doubt my intentions, 
go ahead, because the reality is, 
I can take it. 

Caitlyn Jenner
ESPN, accepting Arthur Ashe Courage Award 

July 29, 2015

New England Patriot fans support their team prior to Super Bowl XLIX.
New England Patriots fans support their team prior to Super Bowl XLIX.Elsa / Getty Images

TOO MUCH AIR

Six months removed 
from the AFC 
Championship game, 
the league still has 
no hard evidence 
of anybody 
doing anything.

Robert Kraft owner, New England Patriots
On “Deflategate”

September 10, 2015

Then Senator Joe Biden hugging his son Beau in 2008.
Then Senator Joe Biden hugging his son Beau in 2008.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A FATHER’S GRIEF 

Sometimes, it overwhelms you.
And I can’t be… 
I went out to… 
I went out to Denver… 
And I landed in a military base… 
And I met a whole group of military families… 
Which was not unusual… 
And they were rope-lined 
About 100 yards from the aircraft, 
And about two-thirds were in uniform… 

The others were family members… 
And I was thanking them…
And I really meant it… 
Because one percent is fighting 
For 99 percent of the rest of us…
And I was talking about them being 
The backbone and the sinew of this country… 
And all of a sudden… and it was going great… 
And then… a guy in the back yells,
 
    “MAJOR BEAU BIDEN! 
    “BRONZE STAR, SIR! 
    “I SERVED WITH HIM 
    “IN IRAQ!” 

And all of a sudden… 
I lost it. 

Vice President Joseph Biden to Stephen Colbert 

September 17, 2015

Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas student arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, visits lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas student arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, visits lawmakers on Capitol Hill.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

BAD TIMING 

I built the clock 
to impress my teacher. 
But when I showed it to her, 
she thought it was 
a threat to her, so… 
So it was really sad 
that she took 
the wrong impression of it, 
and I got arrested.

Ahmed Mohamed, 15
Texas student arrested for bringing homemade clock to school

September 22, 2015

Venture capitalist Martin Shkreli was arrested for his involvement in a ponzi scheme and fired as CEO of Kalobios.
Venture capitalist Martin Shkreli was arrested for his involvement in a ponzi scheme and fired as CEO of Kalobios.CNBC News

CAPITALISM 101

If there was a company 
that was selling an Aston Martin 
at the price of a bicycle… 

And we buy that company 
and we ask to charge Toyota prices, 
I don't think that should be a crime.

Martin Shkreli, drug company CEO
On his price-gouging of a life-saving drug

Oct. 7, 2015

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy created a partisan committee to investigate Benghazi.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy created a partisan committee to investigate Benghazi.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

OOPS

What you're going to see 
is a conservative speaker 
that takes a conservative Congress 
that puts a strategy to fight and win.
And let me give you one example. 

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton 
was unbeatable, right? 
But we put together 
a Benghazi special committee, 
a select committee!

What are her numbers today? 

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
(the statement cost him the Speakership) 

October 22, 2015

Kim Davis sitting on her desk, refusing to issue marriage licenses for same sex marriages.
Kim Davis sitting on her desk, refusing to issue marriage licenses for same sex marriages.Ty Wright / Getty Images

HE SQUATTETH    

They are going 
to try and make 
a whipping post 
out of me!! 
I know it, but…

God is still alive, 
and on the throne. 

Kim Davis, Carter County Clerk, Kentucky
On refusing marriage licenses to gays

October 29, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner announces his resignation on Capital Hill.
House Speaker John Boehner announces his resignation on Capital Hill.Astrid Riecken / Getty Images

THE HILL

I've described my life as 
a chase for the American dream. 
And that chase began at the bottom of a hill 
just off the main drag in Reading, Ohio… 
right outside of Cincinnati.
 
The top of the hill was 
a small house with a big family. 
A shining city in its own right. 
The hill, just off the main drag, 
in Reading, Ohio… 
right outside of Cincinnati. 

The hill had twists. 
The hill had turns. 
And even a few tears. 
Nothing wrong with that.
But let me tell you: 
It was just perfect. 

House Speaker John Boehner’s farewell address

November 9, 2015

University of Missouri president resigns as protests grow over racism on campus.
University of Missouri president resigns as protests grow over racism on campus.Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images

SOUND OF SILENCE

The question really is: 

Why did we get to this
very difficult situation? 

It is my belief we stopped
listening to each other.

Missouri University Chancellor Tim Wolfe
On resigning over racial protests

November 24, 2105

People place flowers and candles in front of the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks.
People place flowers and candles in front of the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris terror attacks.David Ramos / Getty Images

CHOOSING LIFE

I cannot wait to get back to Paris.
I cannot wait to play. 
I want to come back. 
I want to be the first band 
to play in the Bataclan 
when it comes back up. 
Because I was there
when it went silent for a minute. 
Our friends went there 
to see rock ’n’ roll and died. 
I want to go back there 
            and live!

Jesse Hughes, singer Eagles of Death Metal 
On Paris terror attacks that killed 89

December 7, 2015

Bono and band members from the band U2 place flowers on the pavement near the Bataclan Theatre.
Bono and band members from the band U2 place flowers on the pavement near the Bataclan Theatre.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

EVERLASTING STAGE

These are our brothers,
Our fellow troubadours, 
They were robbed of their stage
Three weeks ago,
And we would like 
to offer them ours tonight.
Would you welcome
The Eagles of Death Metal…

Bono on stage in Paris

Hart Seely is the curator and editor of two found poetry books, Bard of the Deal: The Poetry of Donald Trump and Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld.