Obama’s disturbing poem on man-boy relationship


This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds

When Barack Obama was a 19-year-old student at Occidental College, he published two poems in the Spring 1982 issue of Occidental’s literary magazine, Feast. One is the cringe-worthy “Underground” about “apes that eat figs.” The other poem, “Pop,” is much more interesting, biographical, and disturbing.

“Pop”

Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes,
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks

What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I’m sure he’s unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he’s still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He’s so unhappy, to which he replies…
But I don’t care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I’ve been saving; I’m laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from his face
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Two fingers.
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shrink, my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back; ‘cause
I see my face, framed within
Pop’s black-framed glasses
And know he’s laughing too.

The poem reads autobiographical — about a young Obama’s relationship with a much older man whom he calls Pop. In his article for WND on March 7, 2012, Dr. Jack Cashill singles out this passage from the poem:

“Pop takes another shot, neat/ Points out the same amber/ Stain on his shorts that I’ve got on mine, and/ Makes me smell his smell, coming/ From me;”

Cashill writes that the most innocent explanation for the “amber stain” on the shorts of Pop and young Obama or “his smell, coming/ From me” is that Pop got the teenaged Obama drunk, and they both spilled whiskey (Seagrams) on themselves. But that interpretation does not explain why the spill is specifically on their shorts and not on their shirts or how Pop’s smell is also on (“from”) Obama.

A marriage and family therapist who blogs under the tag “Neo-Neocon” senses a darker relationship. She writes:

“The lines that begin ‘points out the same amber stain…Makes me smell his smell, coming/
From me’ may be describing outright sexual abuse. But perhaps not; we don’t know, and we’ll never know. But there is no question that the poem is describing a boundary violation on several levels: this child feels invaded—perhaps even taken over—by this man, and is fighting against that sensation.

[…] The poem describes a boundary violation that is both physical and mental.The physical is obvious: he is forced to hug the man who repels him, and as he does so he feels himself shrinking. But the violation is mental, too; earlier in the poem, Obama has described “Pop” as a person who has actually gotten into his brain, and whom he wishes to eliminate from it:

as he grows small,

A spot in my brain, something

That may be squeezed out, like a 

Watermelon seed between

Two fingers.

This mental and emotional usurpation of the young Obama is echoed in the last image of the poem, in which the boy sees his own tiny image framed in ‘Pop’s’ eyeglasses.
 The poem describes a struggle against an attempt at identity takeover, a rejection of being reduced to a reflection in the eyes of the stronger, older, more experienced mentor, who has tried to make Obama over in his own image:

I see my face, framed within
Pop’s black-framed glasses
…

The sight is chilling to Obama, who is trying to break free. One wonders if he ever fully succeeded.”

So who was Pop?

There were two older men in teen Obama’s life:

1. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, with whom Obama had lived from age 10 to 18 in Honolulu. When Obama was ten years old, his mom, Stanley Ann Dunham, had sent him back to Hawaii to live with her parents while she remained in Indonesia.

2. Frank Marshall Davis, a black long-time friend of Stanley Armour Dunham, whom Dunham had introduced to young Obama to be the latter’s African-American mentor. Davis was a member of the American Communist Party, a writer of poetry and books, including the pornographic novel, Sex Rebel: Black, using the pseudonym “Bob Greene.” Cashill states that there is no doubt Davis wrote Sex Rebel because Davis admitted as much in his memoir, Livin’ the Blues: “I could not then truthfully deny that this book, which came out in 1968 as a Greenleaf Classic, was mine.”

During the presidential campaign season in 2008, I read Sex Rebel, which is out of print, by borrowing the book from the library of the University of California, Berkeley. I therefore can testify from having read the book that Sex Rebel is an account of the unorthodox sexual exploits of a black man “Bob Greene”. Those sexual exploits included marrying a white woman (just as Davis himself did, which was uncommon in the 1960s); “swinging” or wife-swapping with other couples; picking up prospective couples in public parks; sexual orgies; voyeurism; exhibitionism; bisexualism (Greene wrote that “under certain circumstances I am bisexual”); and the seduction by “Greene” and his white wife of a 13-year-old girl named Anne.

(It is the pedophilia that has prompted increasing speculation on the net that “Anne” was actually Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother; and that Frank Marshall Davis had sired Obama. That’s the reason why Obama conceals his birth certificate. This is the subject of a documentary movie that will come out this summer. For more information, go here.)

Joel Gilbert, the maker of the documentary “Dreams From My Real Father,” has uncovered handwritten letters by Davis to Margaret Burroughs, the well-known African-American artist, in which Davis refers to his book “Sex Rebel: Black” as his “thoroughly erotic autobiography.” Davis had a sexual affair with Burroughs which, Davis explains, was included in the novel autobiography. [Read more,here.]

In the introduction to Sex Rebel, an alleged Ph.D. named Dale Gordon goes further. He describes the pseudonymous author, Bob Greene, as having “strong homosexual tendencies in his personality.”

There are those, like Rebecca Mead of The New Yorker, who say “Pop” is a “loving if slightly jaded portrait of Obama’s maternal grandfather.”

But both Jack Cashill and Neo-Neocon point out that Obama, in his memoirDreams From My Father, called Stanley Armour Dunham not “Pop” but “Gramps.”

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There are other reasons pointing to Frank Marshall Davis as “Pop”:

MORE…

Originally published May 1, 2012

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