There I was...... Sitting in Harvard Square, listening to the guitar of a street performer while rewarding myself with a $2.00 cup of frozen yogurt for completing the day's goals. An older gentleman wheeling an oxygen tank and amp sat next to me. He started a conversation about my shirt that read "Wicked Smaht" ( really smart)- SN I saw the shirt in the Harvard Coop ( school bookstore) thought that it was funny and bought it. ... don't judge, lol.
This gentleman wanted me to acknowledge that he is smart as well, which I did . We agreed that intelligence is a relative concept because there is much to be learned from everyone. Intrigued that I was open to listening to his ideas, he began explaining his life, his study of classism, his dissection of Plato's republic and other philosophers ideas of the perfect society ( showed him Jake's blog on the Peaceful Republic) , his educational background, his love of art, and how he eventually became homeless. Intrigued, I asked if I could videotape him, and he happily agreed.
Below is the first of many videos that I recorded.
Disclaimer: Harmonica Tom contributed to this video in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Poetic Change or any affiliates.
Now, I did my best to research Harmonica Tom, and to check the validity of all that he stated. While I could not find evidence of his academic records from 30-40 years ago, I was able to find some of his homeless activism work. If you are interested to find out more about Harmonica's Tom past, you may check these sources :
And the Homeless People Network , which is an online organization that was founded by Harmonica Tom http://hpn.asu.edu/.
I don't care as much about one's past as I do about one's present and future. I'm am thankful that Harmonica Tom decided to open up to me, and I look forward to many more conversations.
Also, if you have any information to add to this series on Harmonica Tom, please email me at Kylila@poeticchange.org
Commited to innovative leadership and institutional change
My name is Kylila (Ka-lee-la) which means beloved. I am one who loves, or at least tries to. I have had many titles, Poet, Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Cadet, Private, Athlete, Leader, Director, etc. I have learned that the greatest successes are born from the most tremendous trials. Everyone has beauty in their life story.