Death to Mock a Poet | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Death to Mock a Poet


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Dear [Barnes & Noble],

I and my wife are longtime customers of your store. No longer. Your complicity in the arrest of Joffre Stewart defies logic [Neighborhood News, July 8]. In view of his anarchistic bent, it is entirely up to you, as initiators of the nonesuch, to send your suits to court to quash the warrant. You spilled it, you clean it up. Until I see written confirmation from you that such has happened, I and my people shall boycott your store. Need I remind you of the hyperabundance of booksellers in this area? My family alone would represent the loss of one to two hundred dollars a month in revenue.

I too, am an anarchist, and a poet. Both categories tend to buy a lot of books. I even bought books when I lived on the streets, and have taken to giving the panhandlers more in response to the mercantile fervor against panhandling in this city.

According to ancient Celtic law, poets are not only members of the first estate, and hence immune to the secular arm, they are the very representatives and arbiters of the law. An ancient Irish lay states "It is death to mock a poet," owing to the fact that being savaged in rhyme was the utter loss of status. I think you will find this is still true with the literati you rely on for your bread and butter.

You, yourself, are a powerful proof of the man's indictment against laws. As an aging hippie just as likely to be taken for a street freak and escorted out of your door, you are unlikely to see my gold card. Perhaps you ought to hire someone who doesn't assume black skin, long hair, or a biker in a tutu constitute a menace. Someone like a poet . . .




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