There’s been a lot of talk about the polarized world we live in. It seems to be harder and harder for us to talk to each other in a civilized way.
Blame it on what? The economy? Racial division? War? Social media, perhaps?
Maybe a poet can help us sort through the morass with his poem Posting You.
You write: “Is standing on a box and shouting so different.” Is it?
I don’t think so. I think the only difference is your audience gets to be a lot larger and it moves a lot faster. But it’s kind of like, if you go to Hyde Park in England, you see the guy standing there on his box and there’s a crowd around him and you put your two cents out there. The only difference is there’s no shield between you and those people. The Internet is a shield. It gives you that anonymous approach. I think a lot of people say things they wouldn’t otherwise say.
What’s worse the negativity you see in your real life as a police officer or what you see on the Internet?
I think that it is way worse on the internet in the sense of when I’m having an interaction with another human being that’s an opportunity for me. If it’s not somebody who is completely out of their mind or completely wasted on alcohol or drugs, you can usually get to a communication level with most people that you can’t get on the Internet. You don’t have that face-to-face time.
You’ve said that you asked people you arrested what they wanted to be when they grew up. What was that like?
It gave me a chance to remind people who were in these difficult situations that they’re human just like me and that would kind of put us on the level.
But what I learned from it is most people don’t set out for a life of crime that isn’t their plan. A lot of people they just fall into something negative in their life, and they planned on being something else and it’s kind of sad.
Was it difficult to come out as a poet while working at Metro Police?
Steve Custer, who I worked for at the time, he kind of gave me the pressure to share poetry with police officers, and I can tell you that was pretty nerve wrecking back then. But I’m glad that he did because I think that anytime we can remind the public and each other of our absolute desire to be human and serve our community and be part of the world, the rest of the world. Even though we have this crazy job, we’re still family men and women. We’re still involved in everything everyone else is involved in. We just see things a little bit differently because of where we cash our check from.
Does your poetry insulate you from the very difficult things you see every day in the field?
The one thing I try to maintain in all of it is – well I can’t help it – I try to maintain a sense of hope. There is in all of it, even the darkest poems I write you’ll usually find that we’re still clinging to our human spirit. You can say the world’s an awful place. I don’t look at the world as an awful place. I look at the world as a beautiful place where sometimes really awful things happen. We wouldn’t have a measure of the greatest of the world, if we didn’t have those awful things.
Harry Fagel reading
7 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2016
En Fuego Cigars, 790 Coronado Center Drive Ste. 150, Henderson,
Phone: (702) 823-2223
Harry Fagel, poet, and Lieutenant (Major Violator Section) with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
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