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86-year-old Cleveland man removes pests and recites poems

Donald King is making Cleveland 'A Better Land'
Posted at 12:35 PM, Dec 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-20 18:40:32-05

CLEVELAND — News 5's Danita Harris sat down with 86-year-old Cleveland native Donald King, an exterminator by day and a poet by night.

King did not have an easy start.

"I think there were nine of us at the time, and my mother felt overwhelmed. So she took us, put us on a bus and took us down to the detention home on 22nd and Central Avenue. So that's where I was until I was placed in a foster home," he said.

King's book of poems, entitled "I Never Rhymed For My Father," is a testament to his passion and hope for better days. The title, while self-explanatory, is very dear to his heart.

"I remember seeing him when I was 4 years old when I was in a foster home, and this old guy came and said, 'I'm your dad.' I don't know when he died. I don't know where he's buried. I never got a chance to write for my father. Oh, I would have loved to, but I never did," he said.

When it comes to what else he hopes to accomplish, King says he wants to be more helpful to people.

King is still performing his poetry, has been married for 64 years, has three sons and a host of grandchildren, is an excellent cook, and is making Cleveland "A Better Land."

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