Poetry Is Dead Parade: A Loud, Colorful Exclamation That Verse Is Alive and Well
If you were taking a casual stroll down Ocean Drive yesterday afternoon, you may have noticed something peculiar. Beyond the everyday array of half naked weirdos, sand-caked and sunburned tourists, and steadily inching traffic that usually molds the atmosphere of South Beach's most popular strip, there was a less common peppering of sounds echoing from Lummus Park's concrete boardwalk - a bullhorn, chanting in electrified, tinny tones; cries of "VIVA!" carrying through the air; pots and wooden spoons banging and clanging to no sensible rhythm and deep Caribbean drum beats churning from bongos slung across sweaty chests.
Is this Hialeah?, you may have asked yourself. Has Calle Ocho somehow slid into the streets of Miami Beach via osmotic pressure?
No. This was the march of O, Miami Poetry Festival's Poetry is Dead Parade.
Making their way through the winding path of Lummus Park, the parade featured reincarnated writers, youthful poets spitting serious verse, and a rickshaw being towed by a man in a skeletal jump suit.
O, Miami founder P. Scott Cunningham.
And, of course, as P. Scott Cunningham of the University of Wynwood had promised, a coffin.
Hey, we know that guy.
The parade was undoubtedly a jovial occasion, despite its slightly macabre theme. Apart from the few dead poets wandering with the crowd and the coffin, the ever uplifting motif of death could be seen in the form of cardboard signs that hung around the necks of certain paraders with words like consumption and expired and heron (perhaps heroin?) sharpied on them.
There was no shortage of energy to the group, although fewer got dressed up than organizers might have hoped. (Those damnable summer days can be such a pain.) The sound of metal kitchen wares clattered along the route through Lummus Park. There was also Afrobeta's Cuci Amador, a candy-colored parade master of sorts, who looked as if she'd not heard word that Ultra had come and gone, with a megaphone that blared everything from "POETRY IS NOT DEAD!" to "¡DAME CROQUETICA, SABE FRESQUECITA!"
Miami's own Dead Poets' Society.
She also decided to recite that fine bit of lyricism that is the infinitely elegant hook of Pitbull's ode, Culo. It was indeed a high moment for the resuscitation of verse.