To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Observercast

Death Of A Poet

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BY RICHARD L. FRICKER

As Occupy movements across the country come to grips with the reality of a protest movement OccupyOKC has been dealt the ultimate reality bite – death of the camp poet.

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.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Last night I was imagining Poet to be a man nearer my own age – not a 20 yr old. I spent a few hours yesterday at the Occupy Tulsa site having taken them a hot meal. It’s a younger crowd, grateful for the meal and still working on individual agendas and with well layed out rules – it will be a clean and sober group, the camp was neat as q pin.

    One member had sent me a message via Facebook – I guess I really didn’t expect Poet to be so young. Two days ago I reached 60 – first birthday that had me feeling as if I had crossed the line into truly being a senior. Now I look at how foolish my feelings have been seeing one so very young die and knowing that life is fleeting. I am adament that Occupy as a movement has to move our nation and our planet beyond the unstustainable world we have become. I stand with them, I will support the movement from any angle I can – I want a better world for my own grandchildren and for the rest of the children.

    Our gov is cutting budgets of agencies that protect us from the companies that pollute and kill our citizens – Koch Brothers, WalMart, Big Oil and Big Pharma have a choke hold on our elected officials and we must break the cycle of money flow from corporations, who’s only agenda is profits, and the buying of our elected officials. We are now in a pre-World War II state – fascism is alive and well and we are losing all semblence to a nation where there is an ability to own a modest home, feed ourselves and our children well, have clean drinking water and clean healthy air. The USA military complex destroys lives and it heartens me that Marines are standing with Occupiers in an attempt to protect them from savage police departments.

    I went to DC to stand with the October2011.org group in early October, I came home and found that Occupy Tulsa was organizing – I marched Oct 15, I plan to be involved because I want all humans to have access to healthcare, a better world for my grandchildren, sustainable local food and a change in how we view the planet – it is all we have. Not one person should die homeless, away from family for whatever reason – be he my age or only in their 20s – he could have been my grandson – he is someones.

  2. My condolences to those who knew and loved “The Poet”.

    It’s good that he was in the presence of folks who loved him when he passed. I wish no one would destroy their own life with alcohol and drugs (I presume that is the cause of death), but I’ve known many who have. So many are trapped in their addictions. We can love some of them away from their addictions. Others we must love in spite of their addiction.

  3. Last night, I personally gathered, neatly folded & boxed up all of The Poet’s clothing and possessions so that we may return them to his family. He told me that his family lived in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Here is a link to a video of his last poetic performance at our Occupy OKC candlelight vigil to honor veterans and first responders this past Sunday night – which contains his picture … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBrEgGBMGXk … if anyone has any information on his true identity or the location of his family, please contact publicrelations@OccupyOKC.com so that we may return his possessions to his family.

    There will be a community dinner at Kerr Park tonight after 6pm followed by an informal celebration of The Poet’s life tonight at Kerr Park at 7:30pm … AND a public memorial service for The Poet this Saturday at Kerr Park at 6pm … the OKCPD released a statement to the national news wires that they believe he died of natural causes, but the specific cause of death is still under investigation. We greatly appreciate the kind and generous outpouring by the public and each of you in this time of deep sorrow.

  4. According to an interview The Poet did a few days before he passed away, he was 18 years old. I had no idea, as the strain of living on the street can make it difficult to determine age by the usual criteria. And that makes it even more tragic. 1.5 million homeless children in America, 100 million worldwide. This a monumental failure of our system and a lack of compassion in our day to day lives.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.