“Code is Poetry” Rap

Matt Mullenweg invited me to read my poem “Code is Poetry” at the annual State of the Word 2017 in Nashville, TN. Full text of the poem is below the video.


Now I like to code
and I like to rhyme
Neither is perfect,
but I’ve still got time

“Code is Poetry”
so the saying goes
And in my mind
it’s the bomb of credos

Now don’t you be thinking
of young men with Fritos
with nowhere to go
who can’t touch their toes

Cuz I am a coder
of the first degree
If they gave out belts
midnight black would mine be

Still my gender is rare,
minorities too
We’re flecks of black pepper
in an all white guy stew

The times have changed
and the need is great
Computers are in everything
and more coming – just wait

But where am I going?
How’d I get so off track?
It’s poetry, motherfuckers,
and code – let’s go back

One’s from the heart
and one’s from the mind
One fueled by caffeine,
the other by wine
(Though when I’ve had both
is when I truly shine)

See the two aren’t so different
as you might believe
Both go from point A to point B
though one may weave

Lines of code have a function
(Several in fact!)
The goal of poetry more subtle
while keeping form intact

But the best of my code
has a grace all its own
You would see perfect indents
if the lines you were shown

Now it’s not just its spacing
that fills me with glee
It’s pure elegance —
woven with efficiency

Code’s not just a straight line
at least rarely for me
It’s a journey you take
while staying bug free

You do it with style
and you do it with smarts
If you’re doing it right
it should rival most arts

It’s likely a beauty
only true geeks can see
But you’re still listening
so I think you get me

What I’m trying to say
is the code fills a need
For my soul to express
itself artistically

So while poetry isn’t always my rap
I can’t turn it on like I do with a tap
Every day I write code with beauty untold
hopefully by now on that you are sold
But I don’t do it for glory, money, or fame
for “Code is Poetry” and that is my game.

© 2015 Amanda Giles

Performed at The State of the Word on Dec 2, 2017. Photo by Jeff Golenski.

What do you think?