Poetry has always been my gift and my destiny, even when I didn't know it. I wrote my first poem in high school and was even quoted in my yearbook as having "...an anthology of poetry in the 9th grade English book." But, as so often happens, life came and poetry got pushed behind bills and children. Yet, I found ways to keep writing, not as a vocation mind you but more like a hobby. I remember writing the poem, "As She Is" while working in jail as a Corrections Officer. My Co-Workers looked at me and were like "You need to write a book!" So I wrote "Eagles Fly Alone", a compilation of poems I had written up to that point. It thrilled me to see my art in a book, but I still didn't look at poetry as a profession or a destiny; it was just something to do.
One thing I noticed was my delivery of poems always, always generated a reaction. This was true even from the beginning--in high school, I recited a poem at an assembly and received a standing ovation. I once recited a poem in a barbershop about raising Black boys--I forget the name of it--and when I finished, grown men were wiping their eyes. That always stayed with me. I think that's when I started to believe I had something--if my words, my delivery could bring tears in the eyes of those grown, hard men, it had to be.
I've always had the ability, given certain facts about a person or an occasion, to effortlessly create words that captures who they are. Through poetry, I've been able to "see" people as they are and describe them in the most beautiful ways. Writing poetry has never been work for me; the words just seem to fall out of heaven. When I wrote the poem "Right Where I Belong", for a friend in South Carolina who had passed away, I wrote it in the car driving to the church. As I was reciting it, we all were crying--his wife, his daughters, me, and his brothers and sisters. To this day, people still talk about that poem. Many, many times, I've looked at poems I've written and I myself was amazed.
So after all these years of running away from who I was,
I am now walking straight into the destiny He has had
for me all along. I've written poems for every member of
my immediate family and countless poems for pastors,
churches, organizations, historical events, holidays,
and every special occasion from birth to death. If you
can think of it, I've written a poem about it. I'm so
grateful God has given me this gift. I'm so grateful I
have been able to make so many people so happy.