I was in juvenile detention center, and I was in Rikers Island. And there was an anthology written by the inmates called 'The Pen,' and I - you know, I had a crush on a girl, and she left me when I was incarcerated. And I found this poem in this anthology that talked about having your heart broken and being incarcerated.
It's all about the mood I'm in and the scene I'm writing. 'Cause work controls my life, writing controls my life, performing controls my life. So I don't listen to any music that's not an influence on what I'm working on that day. Music is a big influence in my work and sometimes drives the energy of where I want to go.
For the last 15 years that I have been performing, all I ever wanted to do was transcend poetry to the world. See, it wasn't enough for me to write a book. It wasn't enough for me to join a slam competition, and while those things hold weight, it wasn't the driving force that pushes the pen to the pad.
I talk to my kids about my mother's energy and how she would have loved them. I talk about how kind and polite my father was. So that they have some kind of remembrance that even though my parents died from their addictions and so that they know they were genuine in how they were.
I don't know, I think that if I had any regrets, that would cancel out the great people that I have in my life. All the tough stuff that I've gone through that I don't wish on no one else has brought a beautiful community to me.
I'm a half-breed. You know, I'm Puerto Rican and Norwegian from descent, and I grew up, born and raised in New York City, and I stood out amongst my friends in my community. I was very blond-haired, white, and 'Lemonhead' was the name that they gave me.