“I wrote my first poem at seven years old after my father passed away. In it, I said things I could never say out loud and expressed feelings I didn’t know I had. Poems came to me in dreams, pulling at my deeper consciousness with vivid imagery and discreet meaning from seemingly nowhere. No matter how mundane the experience, writing about it in poetic form always made it supernatural.
Yet, no matter how pleasant my poetry was, it was a dream, and I couldn’t sleep forever. When I awoke, I was a football player. Art was something I was attracted to, but sports seemed attracted to me. I was a young Black man who stood six feet tall even before entering high school. When I walked the halls, coaches would harass me, begging me to join their sports teams. The opportunity was grand, I knew it. My classmates knew it. My family knew it. But no one knew I still wrote poetry.”