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Deceased ‘Poet’ remembered by Occupy OKC

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On Oct. 31, 18-year-old Louis Cameron Rodriguez, called “The Poet,” was found dead in his tent at the downtown protest at Kerr Park.

His cause of death has yet to be determined.

One man who had befriended Rodriguez in his last few days paid for Rodriguez’s mother to fly in from Clarksville, Tenn., for the memorial and burial.

“I feel kind of blessed that I was able to meet him, so when I found out the family couldn’t afford to get here, I just wanted to do what I could,” said the man, who did not wish to be named.

Other members of the group also paid for one of Rodriguez’s sisters to fly in, while the other drove in, said Beth Isbell, a moderator for outreach workgroup for Occupy OKC. 

Just a couple of days before Rodriguez’s passing, protester Manny Whitlock gave him some brand-new clothes.

“When I saw that he didn’t have any clothes that were nice and decent, I gathered everything I could up, brought them down here and made sure he knew that they were his,” Whitlock said.

Other friends of the deceased homeless man shared their stories at the memorial.

“Everyone here has been touched by him,” said Mark Faulk, a friend. “It’s not easy to fall in love with someone in a couple of weeks.”

Rodriguez was remembered for his spontaneous hugs, welcoming heart and his poetry. They recited one of his poems, titled “Occupy,” and lit candles to pay homage to the wordsmith. Some were shocked to hear Isbell say that Rodriguez was a genius.

“When you’re that intelligent, you get the pain and suffering of the world,” Faulk said.

Mourners then placed flowers around the tent where Rodriguez was found dead. The somber mood shifted afterward when the mourners held a community dinner and swapped their favorite stories about “The Poet.”

Occupy OKC also raised more than $300 to give to Rodriguez’s family, and a PayPal memorial fund has been set up by entering the email address “reformokc@gmail.com” at the “send money” link or by calling 719-661-6871.

“When we march, we march for him; when we protest, we protest for him; when we laugh, we laugh for him,” Faulk said.

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