BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
Known only as “The Poet,” the homeless man, believed to be in his late 20s, was found dead in his tent about mid-day Monday.
“I knew you guys would love me,” Mark Faulk, camp spokesman, said, quoting The Poet following what Occupiers have described as a dramatic reading delivered last night. “Love and family seemed to be an issue with him. I was surprised just how good he was,” Faulk said.
“The Poet” had become a fixture at the downtown Oklahoma City camp where 25 to 40 people spend the night. The daytime contingent is estimated at 60 to 80 movement demonstrators.
“He just kind of appeared,” Faulk said.
Little was known about the homeless man other than his first name which OccupyOKC has declined to disclose until next of kin are notified.
The Poet’s last poem dealt with homelessness, drugs and love, according to Faulk. He noted that, although homeless, The Poet had not displayed any drug or alcohol problems while encamped with OccupyOKC.
“We are all very sad about this. Because of his time with us he had expressed the desire or maybe intention to visit other encampments and do other readings. He seemed to have found something here,” Faulk said during an early evening interview.
Cause of death has not been determined, nor is The Poet’s actual hometown known to those in Kerr Park.
The Oklahoma City movement has been encamped for slightly over a week. Last weekend they held a demonstration before the state Capitol that was attended by about 200, according to Faulk.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa are the two main encampments in Oklahoma thus far. However, spokesmen for both locations say they have been visited by Occupiers from other cities over the weekend.
Tulsa reported visits from Occupy sites in Kansas City, Austin and Dallas. Faulk said that in addition to visits from fellow occupiers in major cities, the Oklahoma City group was seeing support from small cities and towns within Oklahoma, such as Lawton, home of one of the Army’s largest bases, Ft. Sill; Norman, the location of the University of Oklahoma; as well as Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University.
“This is a demonstration of the discontent in America with the influence of wealth in our government. Money has bought our government; we are no longer a democracy,” Faulk said, describing the common thread among those involved in the Occupy movement.
Faulk is the author of The Naked Truth, Investing in the Stock Play of a Lifetime which details a diamond mine scam which took investors’ money with no return. His involvement began with a blog detailing investor fraud that led to his book and work on various documentaries.
Others at the encampment were described by Faulk as being veterans, single moms, retirees, young professionals worried about how their student loans were being handled and the homeless such as The Poet.
Noting that he was concerned about the future of his grandchildren, Faulk said, “The wealthy families and corporations do not care about us or America. Exposing the problems did not fix them; this movement is our last hope. We are headed into chaos if we don’t fix it.
“These people feel they have no say in our government. Money has poisoned every aspect of our process from top to bottom.”
Regarding police actions in other cities, “I am so impressed with the phenomenal conduct of our police,” Faulk said, adding that the Occupiers and police appear to have – at least for the moment – a mutual respect for each other which is keeping tensions, if any, at a minimum.
In the meantime, OccupyOKC has canceled several events as they go into mourning for the man they came to known only as The Poet.
– Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer, providing both essay and video commentary. His latest book, Martian Llama Racing Explained, is available at http://www.richardfricker.com.