“This Hazelnut dough of my creation/ Flows out like members of a war-torn nation/ And I feel again light and free/ No longer does it burden me… -The Poop Poet,” reads the first poem posted on Instagram by the Poop Poet on September 8. Quickly, the Poop Poet’s account grew to over 400 followers. The Poet released 33 poems on Instagram before making their retirement announcement on October 12. They started with poems they found on the Internet, before eventually writing their own poetry and sharing it on the walls of the Franklin High School bathrooms. Curiosity among students began to rise as the Poop Poet’s Instagram account grew, and now that the Poet has retired, lasting effects continue to impact the Franklin community.
However the Poop Poet may feel, there is an undeniable impact of their actions, intended or not. Rob Carron, head custodian at Franklin, spoke about the impact the Poop Poet has had on his job amidst the transition back to in person learning. Carron indicated that there has certainly been an increase in graffiti since our return in September. Although there may be no direct links between the increase of graffiti and the Poop Poet, the Poet could very well be a contributing factor. In addition to graffiti, Carron also spoke about an increase in theft at the school, primarily concerning the bathroom supplies. “We’re reaching into the thousands of dollars in cleanup,” said Carron. However, he remains optimistic that the graffiti and vandalism will decrease as the year goes on.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were multiple Poop Poets working together to cover the days when the original Poet was unavailable, and to cover both sets of gendered bathrooms. The only thing the Poop Poet wished they had done differently was revealing their identity to fewer people. “Because I wasn’t planning on anything big when I did the first couple poems, I sent pictures of them to a pretty large amount of my friends. Then once I made the Poop Poet account I realized I shouldn’t have shown them, so I told them to keep it a secret.” They also talked about the switch from Sharpies to dry erase markers, explaining that Franklin’s ASB had reached out to them and were very polite in their request for the Poet to move to use something easier to clean up. Carron was also appreciative of this change, explaining that dry erase is significantly easier to clean than the original choice of Sharpie.
The Poop Poet’s work creates more work for other people, even if it’s just by setting an example that if you think you’re funny, it’s okay to write your jokes in Sharpie on the bathroom walls. Overall, the Poop Poet’s work came at a greater cost than the benefit it offered, partly due to some students seeing it as a call to action to vandalize the school. Carron says what we all might believe. “We have a nice school, we just need to take care of it… We need to set an example for all the other schools.”