The thing I am most passionate about, my hobby and solstice, the creative talent that keeps me grounded as a person, is writing poetry. The first memory I have of creating a poem on my own of my own intent was my first day back to school after finding out that Barack Obama had become our 44th president, the first black president in history. I wrote a rhyming poem that also used one of his famous slogans “Change has come”, just out of inspiration, and shared it with a few of my classmates during lunchtime in my middle school cafeteria. Those who I showed liked it, even though they did not really like me (I was bullied often throughout elementary school), and poetry began to formulate into my go-to creative expression.
Whenever I was emotional, inspired, in love, or in heartbreak, I wrote a poem about it- I surrendered myself to the flow of words on paper. At first, as a young child I assumed all poems had to be rhyming, so that was how I started out; however, I would find myself looking up rhyming words and changing my verses to suit the word at the end of the sentence, rather than to suit my soul. I began writing free-verse, without any knowledge of the word, because I wanted no constraints on my thoughts. I got into reading Shakespeare and old poetic literature, so occasionally wrote a sonnet here or there. In high school I learned more about Maya Angelou and read all of her poetry, her becoming my poetic inspiration. In 10th and 11th grade I joined my high school’s poetry club, and felt a sense of belonging, extremely elated to share my poems with other poets who also looked like me.
During Black History Month in 11th grade, my poetry club teacher who was also my former algebra teacher, told us about a Spoken Word event in Hollis, the theme being Black History. Two of my poetry mates and I jumped at the opportunity, filling out the online application and anxiously waiting for results. At this point of time, I was diving further into the poetry universe, not only in written but learning about Spoken word events. I watched a show on BET religiously called Verses & Flow, in which black women and men performed their work, elegant 2- 5 minute pieces completely from memory.
Their movements, the power behind their words, the strength and loudness of their voices- I wanted to immolate that one day. One classmate’s application got accepted, and I was disappointed that I was not considered, yet I along with my poetry club members and organizer went to support. I had a copy of my poem that I wanted to perform with me, although I knew I was not a performer. Yet, to my surprise, my name was in the program!
I nervously sat, shocked to my core in my seat, and quickly tried to memorize as much of a three page poem as I could while simultaneously watching in awe of the other performers. Finally, it was my time to perform, and suddenly my social anxiety disappeared out the window and I transformed into a confident radiant being. I spoke lively to the audience, asking them how they were doing and complementing the wonderful range of blackness I saw in the audience, before giving a backstory of my life then diving into my poem titled “Tired of Not Expressing the truth”. My mom was in shock, my schoolmates applauded as well as the rest of the audience of 100+ people, and shockingly a girl who used to bully me in middle school was there as another poet and came up to compliment me. A black author who came on stage to promote her book was so moved that she honored me a free signed copy. Senator Leroy Comrie was also present, and we all took a group picture with him after the performances and later ended up in a newspaper article.
This experience led to me performing my poem more within school, in front of my high school in the cafeteria and over loudspeaker. I read poetry novels from newer poet come-ups such as Rupi Kaur, a NY Times Bestseller, and created an Instagram dedicated to posting poems with the alias Sidney K. In college I ventured out to spoken word organizations, performing for Inspired Word NYC in Manhattan, Open Mic Renegades in Harlem, and a queer poetry organization that also does self-healing, plant, books, and astrology events called I’m Finna Talk in Brooklyn. In the beginning of the Covid pandemic, self- published my first book titled “Unraveling- Poetry from the Soul”, one of the achievements I wanted to enact since I was young.
My right arm holds a tattoo that says “Still I Rise”, my favorite poem from Maya Angelou, and my left arm says “Poetry” with a lotus flower next to it. Poetry is my first love and my lifeline; no matter what journey my life takes and how long my body is on this planet for, poetry will always be a part of me and in my heart. I will never depart from creating poems, and my future goal is to publish a poetry novel with a publishing company as a bestseller.
“Picture of me 3 years ago holding copies of my first ever self- published poetry novel”