There is an inexhaustible power to reimagine ourselves and the world we live in, 24 hours a day. That power is called writing. It shapes the world whether we believe it or not, whether the change is immediate or in years to come. It eventually comes.
To a greater extent writing poetry offers the opportunity of discovering that power in each of our uniquely intuitive creative thinking abilities. We all have access to the same words, or we can do. But poetry showcases the genius of their use in original and often unorthodox ways. In addition, performance poetry, of which I have been a practitioner for ten plus years, personifies the breath of life that can cause those words to fly off pages into our imaginations and subconscious, and reside there for a lifetime.
Without any prior indication that I would, I fell in love with the world of words. Initially my youthful ambitions were to be a musician, architect and professional athlete. When learning an instrument and architecture seemed out of reach, along an exhilarating and at times deeply disappointing journey, I stumbled upon words with a poet named Saul Williams using them in ways I’d never heard before. I was intrigued in the same way I was when I first heard Slick Rick the rapper telling his Children’s Story.
This time the words alone were the music. And my heart was beating to the drum of their cadence. Writing took new precedence in my life. I was a young student at university and suddenly all the margins of my classroom notepads were filling with poetry unrelated to the lectures. Something changed. Most of my childhood anxieties about being in front of people, and questions about my lack of ability to succeed in life, diminished.
It’s now been replaced by a love of learning and sharing all for benefit through writing poetry, and art and performance. It sounds a cliche. But writing poetry changed my life. And that change broadened recently with the publication of my first book of poetry Write the Wrongs with Authors Abroad who’ve bestowed on me the honour of teaching poetry in schools globally. Writing the book, I re-lived moments in a way that revealed their significance in my life and how they shaped me. Now seeing the work that young students produce from understanding simple concepts in figurative speech has been a wonderful world of exploration and empowerment.
Cerita The Cheetah
from ‘ Write the Wrongs ‘ by Kimba
She was a cheetah
Easily spotted in our city for her speed
The track team had stars
But she was from another planet
No one could see her
when she took off
she did damage
To what we thought
girls could do
Boys ate the dust off her feet
The souls of her shoes
Flattened them one by one
Till there was none left
In each crew
Boys were no competition
Though they often tried
Victory after victory
She softened the toughest guys
If you thought you could take her
You were in for a rough ride
This feline was so stream-lined
And had so much pride
A champion of sorts
She had no remorse
In leaving the hopes of boys
Stiff as a corpse
The hunter the predator
She was always on course
She had the eye of the tiger
And opponents’ hearts on a fork
by Maria from Sacred Heart Girls School, Middlesex
Uncertainty, smiling maliciously
A rough cut stone impeding my path
I try, persevere
So that I may rise out of its flames
But a thousand are running through my head
Kimba is a devoted husband, father, poet, and musician originally from Trenton, New Jersey, now residing in London. He’s been featured at the V&A, Tate Modern and the Houses of Parliament. His first published poetry book is Write the Wrongs.