It was I believe with my sister, whence discussing the varying degrees of shouty, stream-of-consciousness rants that one is subjected to daily on the streets of New York, that an outreach program was devised: Literacy for Lunacy. The gist of our humble non-profit is simple: we would send out street teams to help the crazies commit pleasant passages of poesy to memory. That way, instead of yelling “shit goddam mothafuckin’ space aliens probed my anus and all I got wuz these soup cans,” anyone within earshot would instead hear a rehearsed Shakespearean sonnet or “Ode to a Nightingale.”
How much more apt would you be to drop a dollar in the Styrofoam cup of a grizzled beggar if he greeted you with a snatch of Dylan Thomas rather than an off-color comment on your snatch? See? It’s win-win. The parks and playgrounds of our fair city would ring with the words of the most creative minds in the canon of literature. Dickinson instead of dick rants; Yeats rather than cuckoo yammering; whiskey-throated recitations of Walt Whitman reverberating down West 8th Street.
Should the program prove to be a success here, we’re prepared to roll out programs to other urban areas where there is a large transient populace unschooled in the classics. Our non-profit status is pending. But be assured, we’re committed to the idea that book learnin’ and batshit crazy antics are not mutually exclusive. Anything, really, for the greater good.