Reading the April 23, 2017 interview transcript between the Associated Press and the fake 45th President of the United States, I was haunted by his disjointed, stream-of-consciousness rambling, which included 16 separate moments noted as “unintelligible” by the AP. I felt as though my own knowledge of language and logical argument were being dismantled. I found it difficult to continue to read the transcript coming from a man who cares so little about his own word choice in relation to the power he wields.
However, the disturbing nature of this interview forced me to return to the transcript and interrogate the words. Ultimately, I chose to redact the text and redact the agency of his voice in the same way his policies, rhetoric, posturing, and social media posts attempt to redact the existence and rights afforded to communities of color, the immigrant, the refugee, the other, women, the LGBTQ+, the young, the old, the vulnerable, and now the sick.
This redaction serves to limit his ability to communicate, as well as appropriate his language in order to communicate the reality of his falsehood.
To this end, I utilized the entire transcript from the interview, over 7,500 words, and redacted the vast majority of the fake 45th President of the United States responses to create a redacted poem, that if printed at 12 point font spans 11” x 120”, captures the breadth and scope of the illogical and devastating intentions operating from within the White House. And serve as a reminder of the ease with which anyone can potentially be redacted.
(Click below to open the poem as an image file, or here for a PDF.)
Anthony Cody is a CantoMundo fellow, an editorial member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle, and a graduate of Fresno State. Anthony’s poetry has been published in U.S. Poet Laureate emeritus Juan Felipe Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (City Lights) and How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday), in which he also served as co-editor, Prairie Schooner, ToeGood Poetry Journal, Gentromancer – a collaborative art project with artist Josue Rojas in El Tecolote – and TriQuarterly. New work is forthcoming from Tinderbox Journal. He currently serves as Communications Manager for Theatre Arts at Fresno State, Treasurer of the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association, and is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry at Fresno State.