An attempt of the Street Poet's epitaph
The poet perished
He was a slave of honor
On The Death of A Poet, 1837
He possessed the most valuable gift and offered it freely to people
What was that gift? Kindness, just kindness
W.Somerset Maugham, Salvatore
In 1913 French poet Apollinaire wrote a novel " Murder Of The Poet' in which he described a hypothetical scenario of the mass- murder of poets as "useless' individuals. According to Apollinaire the persecution was instigated by an "agricultural scientist' Tograt who formulated the criteria of being useful and, according to that criteria poets were not needed. They thus were hunted down and slaughtered. Especially severe were the persecutions in the US. Only two countries-England the country of Shakespeare and Russia, the country of Pushkin did not participate. Strange, that France, the country of Villon was listed by Apollinaire as a willing participant. Villon was a street poet. So was Dante Alighieri. So was Chre'tien--De Troas. So was Rabelais. In sorts, all poets are street poets because they cannot exist without people, without the streets. "If only you knew from what street garbage do the real verses grow," said Anna Akhmatova. If only we knew, really. Apollinaire went to WWI , got severely wounded and died from Spanish flue. The poet died. He was a slave of honor.
If there is a definition of a real poet, this is it. A slave of honor. If we could formulate a set of Key Job requirements for the profession, that one would be the crucial one. Honor is something elusive, its definition changes through years. Noble people defended their honor in duels. Unions defended their honor in strikes; women, minorities and oppressed people stood for their honor in demonstrations. Soldiers would defend the honor of their country against overwhelming odds. And since the Ancient Greece the poet would be there; always in charge, always inspiring, always calling for action. Dishonorable poetry does not exist, pseudo-poetry is appalling. Poetry can be primitive like the story about Barbara Frietchi and the Old Glory flag or it can sophisticated like Jonathan Livingstone Seagull but it is always truthful, always honest, forever, whenever, ever.
The Street Poet of Oklahoma, the one described in the link above, who died at 18 was real. He was an inspiration for all the people around him; not only was he talented- he was kind. Such people are extremely rare. They are like sparks in the darkness. The disgrace of the very fact that an 18-years' old never had a home is even more appalling because he was so special, so precious. What happened to us if our precious children are wasted? What happened to us that we do not protect them, that we leave them alone, that they die at 18 in the foreign wars or on our own streets, right under our windows while we complain about the disorderly conduct and call police. What happened to all of us if our poet died among us, unrecognizable? No matter what was the cause-it was murder most foul , the murder of our honor which he represented although he surely did not think about it. He loved people despite all what happened to him; he craved for love and there, in Oklahoma he found it among the OWS- protesters. This alone makes the OWS movement meaningful, much more meaningful that all the speeches of the pundits and theologians. The poet found his place,. OWS is blessed. But why then I feel something I recognize but I haven't felt for a long time? 22 years ago, in 1989 I, then a rather young man was leaving my home country for good. Now, in my new home at the news of the death of a Poet I recognize the same feeling from 1989-the feeling of profound despair. Only then I had hopes. Now the despair is much more painful because it is mixed with the horrible disappointment. My generation betrayed its young; we cannot protect them from dying on the streets. I feel despair and shame.
Street Poet in Oklahoma died for our honor. The only way to restore this honor is to proclaim the unequivocal support of our young people on their quest for justice. We failed and they are trying again. If we stay aside- not only we will remain in history forever dishonorable; we will be cursed by the future generations.
Support the OWS, folks. Do your part, defend your own honor, the honor of this country and the honor of your children against the enemies, yes, domestic. It is time.