“Bids for Border Wall Now Being Taken” by Ellen Steinbaum

Ellen Steinbaum


a found poem

One bidder wants
to cover it with solar panels.
Another suggests a deck
to offer tourists scenic views.
Traditional bids are interspersed
with more whimsical ideas
like polished concrete
studded with stones and
artifacts to make the wall a piece
of art. Designs must be able to
repel pickaxes and sledge-
hammers for at least an hour
and be aesthetically pleasing
from the north side.

Poets Respond
April 11, 2017

[download audio]


Ellen Steinbaum: “This is a found poem: taken from an AP story and exact in all but one word (‘studded,’ rather than ‘augmented’ because the syllables sounded right). I had not been thinking of submitting a Response poem but this presented itself in all its horrifying perfection. The thought of a person desperate enough to use a sledgehammer or pickax for an hour haunts me.” (website)

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