Yesterday, as I was entering an office building in downtown Seattle, a gentleman who appeared homeless gallantly walked ahead of me to open the door and hold it for me. As it turned out, we were going to the same office (The Seattle Weekly) and stood together at the reception desk for a few minutes. I listened to his demand to see the editor-in-chief. H was told, of course, that the editor was out of town.
I couldn’t resist. I had to ask him why he was there.
“I’m a poet,” he said. “And I want them to print my poem.”
He was carrying a large envelope of bright yellow broadsides. He showed me one, autographed it, and gave it to me. It was a poem he’d written that he wanted published.
I was taken with Mario and invited him to coffee down the street. When we were seated with our Americanos, I read the poem. Here it is:
IT WOULDN’T BE LONG
by Neo-Poet Marionicolae, S. Trantafilloo
1. In a world as such, of souls;
Honey never comes in bowls
But instead; in tiny drops.
2. Millions of folks
Are standing in the walks,
And the “Big – men”;
Are looking down, without – a – smile.
3. Oh! it wouldn’t be long,
It wouldn’t be long!
I can hear the roaming noise
Which soon would be
My children’s song.
4. Yes! it wouldn’t be long,
When the white horses
Will merge with the Black – stallions,
To hunt – down deception,
The mother of all Evil.”
5. Oh! it wouldn’t be long
When all men would be Blood-Brothers,
Confident with each chance, that comes
In “shane” – minds.
6. It wouldn’t be long -
when Liberty, Intelligence, and Justice,
will come to serve the “honey” there,
Yeah! IT WOULDN’T BE LONG!!!
No, I don’t understand it all, either. But Mario spoke of his passionate love for the United States and his faith in President Obama. Then he spoke of those who are the enemy – the rich, the corporations, the banks, the neo-nazis, the corrupt politicians, Republicans, those who abuse civil rights of black people and other minorities.
“I hate injustice,” says Mario. “We are putting money in the banks and financing weapons and machiavellian systems.”
“They don’t tell us anything.” he says. “People are dying from radiation in Japan. There was a release of gamma radiation and people are dying from it in Alaska.”
Mario says he is a global citizen – citizen of the world. He has been a legal permanent resident of America since 1979 and worked for many years as an art dealer.
I asked him whether he had ever been arrested, and Mario smiled. He said, “Who is the foreigner who hasn’t been arrested in this country?”
Now, Mario lives on a friend’s boat, anchored in Portage Bay. He writes poetry. He is participating in the current demonstrations against corporations.
He had a pure vision of what America should be – what it almost is – what he loves about it. He was passionate and engaged in the world. I found him inspirational. It’s unusual nowadays to talk to people who aren’t bland, who don’t take things for granted. Here was this foreigner (Italian-Greek), so in love with this country, that the current state of things is upsetting him greatly. He says everyone needs to speak out.
“Martin Luther King said, ‘Silence is Betrayal.’”