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T'Keyah Thomas Interview

T'Keyah Thomas is all about creating dialogue and performance. Poetry and events. Poetry events. Professional quality works delivered in a casual tone. MC of the evening. Orchestrator of the spoken. She's a student and Peace Nook employee. A curator of Columbia. And many other things. Ladies and Gents, TK! Dream Pizza: "Pepperoni, pineapple, bacon, mushrooms"

Recorded on 2016-03-24

Speakers: Joseph Weidinger and T'Keyah Thomas

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Okay to keep Thomas. I don't remember exactly when someone first told me about you, not all that long ago, but the way in which they told said, This conversation was inevitable to me. Your words are cool and find your voice sublime as you speak delicate incantations with a novel rhyme scheme. Your performances are seemingly effortless, but obviously well rehearsed. You're articulate in every meaning and speak so that every spoken word is heard.

And I don't have much more to say for now, But I'm excited to be talking with the Uchiha. Thomas welcome the Shaker speech today, March twenty fourth, two thousand sixteen. Thanks for joining me on the first question is what's the best thing for human beings? What is the best thing for a human being who just jump right into it? Mmm. That's a good question. What is the best thing for a human being? I think I think that the best thing for a human being is to breathe and to be present.

And I think that that could be applied Tio to just about everything. Because every moment should be a present moment, just reminding ourselves to breathe as we take it in that. Do you meditate? Not as often as I used to. I won't say that as often as I should, but not as often as I used to. But lately I'll say, like in the last a month or so, a few friends have been coming back have been making themselves more present in my life.

And we've been having even having a lot of conversations is that you do leave me in a space of contemplation, if you will. Um, you know, even throughout this energy, I may just say, you know, let me sit on that for a little bit. Yeah. Yeah, I've been I've been very contemplative lately, but I don't meditate as of right now. You say that like it's such a fault. Don't know. I know what you said. At some point in their I won't say that I don't.

Our cameras don't meditate as often as I should. Okay? I thought you said okay. I thought you said something that was more long lines of, Oh, I don't meditate. But that's OK. Or something like that way. All it's like going to church or something, You know, meditation, you know? Do you meditate? No, I I did yoga once, once, and it was awesome, but it was more like, Oh, this posture feels yeah, yeah, but I tried to meditate once, actually, to, uh, was on my back laying on my bed.

And that was that. You know, my brothers, like you need to know that my brother was really matters, which is not right now, but and I tried it. But like you said, it feels good to just sit back, relax and breathe and be contemplative, innit? That's meditation. That maybe I do that more often than I think I will. I say we make up the rules, man. There you like. What's your earliest memory? T K? Oh, all this is about to be, like an hour full of just like, awesome questions.

Okay, my earliest memory I'm gonna eat this pizza. Yeah. Yeah. This pizza is okay. You made it. Pineapple goes good on pizza. There a lot of people back there, we argue constantly, but they're like pineapple doesn't belong on a pizza. And it's like Says who? I mean, says you, but half the people that come in your order people pizzas with pineapple. No, I feel you. My roommate. He he makes this bomb as pineapple jam, like pineapple preserves or whatever, and I put it on everything.

Like I literally Everything is amazing. On burgers, I put it on my on my breakfast sandwich, you know, like eggs with spinach and tomatoes and own toast with this pineapple Jeb. It's my jam. That's good. But OK, so my earliest memory, I think that, you know, I'm not sure if this is a memory or a dream. Um so it may be my earliest dream. Because in my like in my preteen years, I remember going back to this moment a lot like and not sure where it came from.

But I was like I was, like, four years old. I was, like, four years old, and I was a part of this state care kitty kingdom. My dad was my dad was stationed in Korea at the time, so I was living in St Louis with my grandmother while he was gone for that time. And so it's like somewhere Hazelwood, Kitty kingdom. I think it was like, I don't know. I feel like he was in a church. I don't know. And but this memory, it was like on Halloween, I think.

Or maybe it was just like a dark, stormy night, like, I don't know. But I remember us all sitting in the gymnasium. You only called a gymnasium when this, like, elementary school kids involved. But we really sitting in the gymnasium and watching a movie, I don't know watching, and I'm just like, all gathering around, you know, like they would roll the big TV out like on the cart thing. Yeah, it was one of those, and it was like longer than y.

Yeah, exactly. And all of a sudden, and it's like a dark and stormy and somebody, like, burst through the doors like outside the exit doors. And that's where it was. The boogeyman. I swear it was Beetlejuice, actually. Like I like I like the way that I remembered it when I was like, twelve. It was like Beetlejuice came in. And we all like first your first memory was seen. Beetlejuice. Maybe because the movie does stick with me that movie day Stick with me.

But anyway, we were like, running rampant through the church and like, and that's it, Like I just remember like hiding under a table, being scared, actually might have just been me. See, that's how jumbled that memories that this kind of sound like a dream. But maybe it was inspired, completed by some. For me, it was very simple. Good. I hope that answers they know you've you did it. Uh, is memory more curse or a blessing that, You know, I was really glad that you asked the first question about earliest memory because I've been thinking about that.

I've been thinking a lot about memory lately. And having the president now that yeah, yeah. And now he says, Do I think it is a blessing or a curse? I don't know, man. I feel like a part of me says that as long as you are honest with yourself, if the songs you're honest with yourself. I'm not really sure what that means, but because our memories are influenced by how we perceive whatever happened. You know, um, like we could have come out of this situation with positive thoughts while someone else left with negative thoughts or You know, maybe we've suppressed a memory and we only remember bits and pieces or even way.

Remember the bit, the peace that we want, Teo, you know, um and then also for some reason, that goes back Tio, even his journaling for me. Um, even journal. I always keep a journal? Yes. My journals. They take all different different shapes for whatever I needed to be at the time. But I've been looking at the way that I journal lately, and I've switched it up, and I feel like this does go along with a memory, just like with how I choose to remember things or what I choose to take from a situation.

So back in the day, for me, journaling was, you know, writing down every single detail about what happened that day. You know how I felt. You know what I said? What he said was she said, um there was It was like maybe three or four journals before this one. It was like a year and a half two years ago, and I started this journal. And I told myself that whatever I wrote down in it, I had to actively participate in making a better Like what?

Like from when it for the duration of this journal. Whatever I put down, I had to actively work on it. And I mean, I did that night, and I really did that. I was still doing that, you know, writing every detail. But I was like, growing and learning and teaching myself through this, like from the beginning. At the end, I would examine the beginning of the entry and look at the end of the entry to see what lesson I could take from whatever happened lately.

Lately, I'm not journaling like that anymore. Lately, I'm just journaling little snippets of moments I've been. It doesn't seem like it right now, but I've been trying Tio condense my speech, condense my words and writing like I was always taught to get rid of unnecessary words. So the way that I'm journal e now, I'm really just like I don't know. I'm just moving forward like every time My journal. I'm moving forward from something that has already happened that I haven't acknowledged.

But I've already processed it. And I've already gained what I will from it. And I'm continuing. Um you really you have a question for you. So you're journaling now is before is like self self help, not self open is a tool that used for better yourself or whatever. Now it's more like an art, an artwork that you're creating and contributing to daily. Maybe so I say we make it or whatever, but you make it and that's it.

Yeah. You going? Yeah. Yeah, which is something I've never really been able to do in my writing to, just like just like writing short pieces was like a real challenge for me. Up until last year, like this last year, I've been writing a lot of really short excerpts, you know, just how I felt in a moment and not necessarily building a character. It's setting a scene, having a beginning, a middle and an end.

The stories that I sent you. I did that on purpose because I Because I wanted to talk about where I've been versus where I'm going. Because full circle was was about a seven minutes. A long piece. You know, um, but it was actually in three stages. Like on the paper. It moves in three chapters, So, yeah, I'm late, but anyway, um, so as faras memory, as long as you are honest with yourself, or it and you're taking, You're trying to grow like you're trying.

You're trying to grow from everything that happens. You know, instead of sitting and dwelling and the negative, you know the moment will pass. The pain will pass. You know, there has to be struggle. There has to be a balance in that things aren't always going to be awesome, but I'm going to choose to remember it as I took it. And when I think on it, when I think about this moment three years from now, I'm going to be in a different place then than I am today, and I'll still remember it as it was.

But I'll now be able to look at it from where you know, I will be. Does that make sense? Yeah, like the way that I'm playing it out in my head totally makes sense. You said something of a few minutes ago that was saying that you're trying to condensers speech. Did you mean the way in which you have even casual conversation? Or do you mean specifically with your with poachers are well spoken word and by the way, is there a spoken word, poetry or different?

Correct? Yes. Okay. Yes. In which one might say so? Which one? Okay, both. Ok, OK, which is both, Which is kind of what I was getting too with that long tangent. I do want to answer your first question so that I don't forget it, Um, which I may have just forgotten as I said hello to her. Um, but what were you saying? You said before that your speech? Yes, and casual conversation or just in my poetry, Um I guess I can say a little bit of both because I've really, really been like looking at myself lately, like it's been really.

It's been a time of introspection, like really processing some stuff, and I've been hearing from a lot of people in my life. Just about, I guess, my communications and and I'm really looking at what? That what that has to do with with everything with how I, with the way I communicate with others. You know, Andi, I tell a lot of stories. What I'm getting to is that I tell a lot of stories, even just like, you know, just being out with people and mod vintage or something, and I'll tell a story I like, I like to acknowledge is magic in my life, you know, that I like to tell people about, like, these magic moments that I have in life.

So, yes, I guess in telling those stories, convincing them, but really, it's about poetry. Okay, Yeah, that's we originally meant it. But you're kind of relating it to Yeah, if you're telling a story, which is kind of like poetry in the sense that you're making, like a deliberate effort, it's like you go see a piece of music. It's like, Okay, we're going to watch and pay attention, you know, um to this one thing, and that's what.

Maybe that's what artists are. Someone said that the artists of the future, we'll just have to point you know, but it is pointing in a way, because when you start telling a story, you're telling everyone around you Hey, listen to this or something like that, You know, Um and that's what? Art or poetry or music or whatever it is. So you're kind of saying they're both on the same but being more condensed in using less words that what's the word for that?

I'm using too many words to find this word. No nose where it's ice, Yes. But I totally think anyway, I don't mean to ramble on for too long, but but good. And what was the second part? I was tryingto poetry and spoken word. Yes, yes. And, uh, yeah. And I thought that that was I thought that was cool. That you ask way get asked out a lot with with one mic. With what kind of writer? What kind of poet it is that we're looking for for a stage.

And it's for everybody, You know, I like to refer to it as poets of the page and poets of the stage s Ow! When I say that there is a difference between spoken word and poetry, what I'm saying is the poetry being read from the page from the journal, you know, raw, you know, or even polished um vs something that was written to be spoken. You know, um, a separate the two, Uh, because a page a poem on the page can have a completely different performance.

A completely different presentation on the page. Then when it went, then when it is spoken, um, I know I feel like a lot of people. A lot of people, when they think of spoken where events at least, from what I could see before Andrew and I started. When Mike, you know, there was a poetry slam and then a poetry reading and the real poets, you know, that's, you know, you go to a poetry reading. If you're riel, quote unquote academic poet, you know, you have a book and you're reading from your book and on DH, then those on the side for spoken word.

Oh, poetry readings like, that's boring because it's slow and there's no feeling or or something. But but there's so much to be said about every process. It's all about the process, you know, for everybody. Um, so I hope that answers your question. I don't want to go off on, you know, that does completely spoken. Word is meant to be performed in a spoken. I mean, it sounds obvious. I mean, I mean, you can even look at it like as theatrical, you know?

And that's why you said stage so And it makes complete sense. Yeah, I love that place. Uh oh. Who were your earliest role models within your immediate family? And how did they affect you? Well present for most. I'm great, Mommy. Come, man. My grandma means Yeah, that woman. She is everything. That that queen is everything. Um she's my rock. No one has ever loved me like she does. I've told you that before. Is she still are.

No, she's in St Louis. Okay. After Arkansas, every people that order in Arkansas, largely living state, including your you in your immediate family. Well, well, my my grandmother and my grandfather, they live in St Louis, their divorce, but they both live in St Louis. My dad and my step mother. They are currently stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base. My dad is retired. Air Force. My mama still in. Um, she was over in Belgium for a few years, and she just came back to the States last year and they got stationed at white men.

So they're actually, like, an hour and a half from here in the opposite direction. Like towards the city. Um, so, yeah. So the only immediate family of mine in St Louis is are my grand parents on my dad's side. And my grandmother, She had a lot to do with raising me. Can a lot to do with raised me. You know, my dad raised me single father, and my mom passed when I was eighteen months. Yeah, and he was young and he was in the Air Force.

And he'll tell me, uh, he'll tell me often that when my mom did die, everyone in the family was just like, Oh, you need to send that girl, Teo Beverly to my grandma. Me and you send that girl to Beverly and you know, they were just like, No, that's my baby like I can I can I can do this. I can take care of her. Um, And that swings to another influence. My dad. My daddy. Still calm, Daddy. Yeah. I am who I am because of that man.

Stan and older siblings. Yes, I have an older sister. We have the same mother on DH. She lives in Washington state. Um, my name's. Shea. Uh, she just turned thirty. Oh, sorry. Yeah, well, that wasn't you. Ah, yeah, but she just had a birthday, and then I have two younger brothers, um, Nicholas and E. J. And one lives in Arkansas. And the lives in D. C. And what if there's If there's one thing you could say about there's something you being raised by your grandmother?

Well, I was raised by my dad, but my my grandmother had a lot to do with it. Okay, That's right. Um, that has given you some different perspective right off the bat. And then probably most people, anything come to mind. Well, if we are talking about my mommy, um, yeah, they were talking about my grandma. Me, um, you know, after her and pop out divorced, Um, you know, they do the, you know, they do their thing.

But then she meets Mr Rubin and, uh, and they start dating, and they're still dating. And Mr Ruben is grandfather figure of mine, and he's awesome. And they've been dating for like, I'm sure like titty years. That has to be because I like twenty four, Um, and then my papa. And he has been dating Miss Shonda, who is another grandmother figure of mine for a few years. And for both of them, for both couples.

They don't live with their mother. They don't live with their partner. Everybody has their own house, and they're grown. These air grown folks talking about, you know, and And I love that. I just I really do have the coolest grandparent's like, ever in life. Ask anyone who's met my papa. My papa is my biggest fan. My pop was my best friend. Um, but anyway, uh, I just think it's really cool to see that that we can be in a long term relationship, you know, And And I love you.

And please come over for dinner every day, you know, if you wish. But you need to go home to the all place, you know, You know, at the end of it all, like, I need to be ableto have the freedom to have my own space, and they really enjoy having their own space. And I think that that is That is really something that I really learned that I just threw living with them, even through living with my dad. I mean, you know, my dad was my dad.

He was single, you know? Now, man, that's interesting, because my my grandma died way before I was born. But no, Mike Graham Father never got remarried, but he's been dating the same girl for a woman for twenty five or thirty years. It's, like, similar. They have their own places, and yeah, but it is very intense insistence or insistance or on on space in independent and all these things, but it's it's interesting and lovely.

Yeah. Good. Were you raised a particular religion? And if so, are you still practicing? No, I was not raised. I was not raised in the church and any church. I mean, I did go to church. You know, I was so often when I go visit my mom's side of the family in Texas, they do church, my does church, and sometimes in Arkansas sometimes we would we would do church. But no, my dad didn't practice anything. To be honest, this is something I was just talking, talking to my dad about recently.

I uh eh. I think him because I never really thought about the importance of kind of letting me find my own way. Just kind of, you know, let me figure things out on my own and growing up. No, we never discussed religion or politics, Um, or anything like that. I mean, to be honestly, I I don't know who my dad has ever voted for ever. Um, what school? You know? And because he knows he d do I like to read. I like to read, you know, and I was going to figure it out.

I was going to be I was going to be independent about things down. What was your original question? So that's what it was about. Religion and yeah. So no, I don't practice anything. Go ahead. So But that's something that you're you're telling father about. And you're saying thinking as I was doing, Why did you do that? Thank you for letting me get Teo here on my own. Yeah, um, I do think that it is important, you know, toe own into acknowledge where you come from, you know, and so love that in yourself.

Um, but yeah, I mean, but there's there's a lot to be said. I think I think that was why I said I am who I am, who I am because of that man. Really? He was just very just very strategic. Strategic. And you're are you are who you are. Not because he carefully, uh, interview I mean, in every aspect of life, but in the strategic ways they allowed you to Teo, have your own freedom. All right? With you know, right now.

I mean, he was definitely strict. And he knows that. So if he hears this, he knows that. But But, yeah, you know what he was doing? Good. Okay, Here's the million dollar question. Why is it so difficult for humans to consider the possibility that life may be pointless? Mmm. Why is it so difficult? Let me sit on that for a minute. How do you divine plaint, Lis? That was the point to you. What is the point boy to me Personally?

Yeah. Oh, I don't know. I mean, I don't know. This is why I'm it's ambiguous and make and can't be known. Maybe I don't know. The plant can't be known. Yeah, tell him. I mean, that's my personal belief. OK, I'll kill you. Um well, I think just coming from coming from the way that I look at things I'm sure that there's, like, an infinite amount of points. Um, yeah, because there's there's an infinite amount of everything outside of us inside of us as well.

Um, there's so many one. It's and desires things to know, You know, there's so many things to know. I'm in so many ways Teo, Get T to get that, You know, just people, they learn things, they collect things differently. They process things differently than everyone else around them. Yeah, and I think that if something makes you tick and your learning and your growing through that and that's why you do it like that's that's doing the reason why you need to do it.

That is the point doing it because you are still growing and learning and becoming a better version for yourself, which, you know, if you're passing that around, if you're having that conversation and you're sharing yourself, you know what? The people around you, then that also makes them better. That's why that's really Yeah, that's that's really what I want ever asking that question. And I think this is the first time that I've like piece that together outside of my head.

But the way that I look at us the way that I look at why we do things and why we do those things as individuals. But why It's so important for us to connect with others while being who we are. It's to pass that on and to continue that cycle. Um, yeah, I hope that helps. That helps. Mellie was a problem, right? Well, I like how you said you were just talking about the idea. Generally, you benefit, You didn't answer the questions simply, which doesn't have a required answered by any means.

But you like, hey said has an infinite amount of points, and so which is the opposite of no points, which is pointless. And and I like that answer because the confusion or ambiguity of no point is it looks the same to me is having in from out point. So now is start up some of my brain of, like, wow, that answers that I feel I like that answer. Just his goods. Mind. Okay, It's like, completely opposite away.

Yeah. You know what? Go ahead. Sorry. No, that's okay. Just like on that. I was talking to my friend, uh, Shane A like the other week kind of kind of about what she would just said about the fact that what I said was complete was the complete opposite of what you said. Um, but it's in how opposite they were that they kind of, like, lined up with each other And how many times we see that, you know, even in just the people that were attracted to and the people around us.

And I was talking to Shane about because we're both Capricorns. Not that like I'm just, like, all about, you know, like astrology you. But like I really do identify. I recognize that better birthday December twenty fourth and acknowledge that a lot of the significant people in my life that, yeah, that they were born during certain times of year, not saying that that, you know, you're a liberal. So you know Baba Baba.

But obviously, something in me is really attracted to something in you. I do think that everything is connected. Um, and Shane is also Capricorn, this friend that I was talking to. But we are the exact opposite of each other. Like Larry the exact opposite of you. But she is one of my best friends. And I love that girl so much. And I was talking to her about it, and I was just like because we're, like, exactly alike.

But we're, like, exactly not a like, you know and kind of going back, Tio, what I was talking about just with people, the way that they way that they take in information the way that they take in information, the way that they process it, um which, like, puts back out how they how they see the thing or situation or whatever way were talking. We were talking about that. I think that we take in things the same way, but we just process it differently.

And I like to process it from everything. And she likes toe hone in on, you know, just cool. Sushi is awesome. All right, let's talk about let's talk about poetry in your creative process. Do you want to start off by reading or do you wantto return home at the end? Is there a poem that I've sent you? You heard or you've read that you would like for me to do now that you have questions about. Because if I did a poem now, then we could talk about it.

If you had some of your questions, or I could just do it in the end. It's just like a thing. I think the questions I ask will we'll get you to talk about it anyway. And, um, here, let's do let's do it home at the end. We'll close out with home or two or whatever, and we'll ask I'll talk to you about your process now. So are there any rituals? And this is what else do you do? Briefly you were talking about except for the past year, which you've been doing a lot shorter stuff.

Do you come from background of doing longer writing of some kind? Yes. Yes, I do. Yeah. So the I sent you shook a shag and written in longhand and full circle. Yeah. So I think that alum at the end. I think I'll read those two Sugar Shack and Duncan. Yeah, um and I sent you those. I said this earlier Teo kind of show you where I was versus where I'm going, and full circle was completely different. Was the process for writing?

It was totally different from then from what I was doing with longhand and sugar Shack. How ands is full circle was finished in November. Okay, is past now? Yeah, it's it's new. And that's where I'm at. Yeah. No deadline or Yeah, rather last minute. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it took us a month and a half to write it, but but doing a collaboration like that, like what? Choreography and with a story and polishing a story and wait, really should have given ourselves at least three months.

Like, honestly, Yeah. You up on the stage and sorry. Keeping everything up on the stage when you're performing in the video was just all in person back in November. It is. It is like it is perfect. I mean, you don't mess up at all. And I did once, actually, I mean, you can't tell, Okay? I know it was Yeah, but you know, anyway, despite you felt like you needed more time. But to me, it's like, wow, she she performed that had all the time.

The world No, thank you know, that means a lot to hear, because, I mean, even when I watch that video, we were both we were really there, you know? And and we sense it like, actually, we really do feel that that day was the best we've ever done it, you know, on doll of the weeks that we have been rehearsing because we were like, we were literally coming together, like every week, like it, adding things, the choreography based on what I had added to the story, it was just like Madam, which is which works out with me and Emma because we work so well together, but really wasn't not, like the best thing to dio because we've done another collaboration before on DH.

That was, you know, a shorter piece like it two and a half in a piece. And I wrote the whole thing. And then I sent it to her like weeks before the thing. And then she had it for a while with the audio. Um, but What did kind of, uh, hurt with doing that was that that meant that I needed Tio. Have my pacing as close to the recording is possible that she had been using for the last and for me. The way I tell the story changes the way I do.

He's changes over time and like, I feel like full circle is a clearly new piece. Now, when I when I perform it what was the original question? All right, I love this. You're constantly where you're not Freedia sidetracked, but you always you don't you don't ever forget about. Yeah, we were meaning to get it, but it's kind of that is what I wanted to know. Was used to write long stuff. Now, within the last two years writing shorts of acceptable circle.

Is that the case? Yes. Yeah, Yeah. Thank you for bringing that back. And honestly, full circle is like a representation of kind, which is where I'm at right now. Like, as a poet. Yes, it was a longer piece, but it was It was coming from from a hard place. But back in the day, you asked me what I used. Tio. What I used Teo For me, it was, I mean, pages upon pages upon pages, pages of notes and character development and leg stages and like like writing an outline of what the story is and then like going through and like in like chapters, you know, and writing a piece like in chunks and chapters and, like I had like, a b c D one two three, you know, like putting things together.

I mean, when I used to be like a project, like I could spend twelve hours on a piece and on ly have, like, half of it done and not even realized twelve hours have gone by because I'm, like, really like writing, you know, really doing it. And then I transferred it Teo to the computer, kind of like with what I had so far. Then it was like piecing things together, like a puzzle piece. Um, but now I mean, even thinking about it, it was just like, man, like I did, I would do so much.

I did so much for for Sugar Shack and for long hand. Like there. There's so many pages of notes s O before, I'm like, up until this point, I was thinking, Well, you're reader needed like to read books. You said I mentioned before. And is it because you wanted to write a book or you wanted to write books, or is that what you're writing these books. You know, that's what? Whatever, which one it is, but But you're saying that all this preparation, an intense development and understanding is all going into a poem.

Just t Yeah, t just a poem, because, yeah, this I think I know because because for me and it's and it's and it's the same and it's the same when I write, stories are if I'm writing film or if I'm developing a character for film. I can't really push forward until the characters real to me until Lycan imagine them in my head. I can imagine their mother like I can see, like where they've been to school.

Like, um, like I would develop an entire backstory for a story that I'm on Lee telling one episode out of right Yeah. And is that something that you've changed Is that something has changed recently. It's something that's changed from my poetry. Uh, I'm like I feel like, I mean, I'm always growing and evolving as a writer. I mean, we all are. But I do like looking back. Just I mean, just in the last six months last year, for the last five years.

Now, when I when I write for film, it is still that, you know, Oreos process it is still all of that. Um, but no, my poetry. I'm trying, Tio. And in life, I'm really I'm trying to start believing and what it is that I want to say, believing in the things that I want, the things that I desire. I was just talking Tio, very good friend of mine the other day. And that is something I'm trying to teach myself how to solidify, what exactly my desires are s o that I could actually start working towards.

It wants I have a very clear idea of what it is. You know, law of attraction, if you will. But applying that idea to everything you know, and to my writing, because I can't. I should just just do it just right. Stops working so much about it. Yeah, Yeah. Is that what you're trying to work towards? B so comfortable, comfortable with your voice that it just it comes out or you say something, and that's that's the tape, you know, exactly the first time without without being too critical.

And you, you know, if it's a matter of of developing skills to get to that point or we're just being comfortable with whatever this is going to come out, Yeah, I mean, if it's a matter of of but skilful, skillful in a skillful illness or comfort, you know, we're both a combination of both say, definitely know, having lucky moments. But the more you practice the look you get Yes, See, it all comes out.

Yeah, yeah. You really mean you get back what you put in, But I do thank you and just a backtrack a bit. Definitely. There's still always going to be room for improvement. There's always going to be editing. There's always going to be, you know, new versions. I'm always going to erase things, but, yeah, I am trying to become more comfortable with myself and I think all that goes back to breathing, like even just then I had to remind myself to exhale.

Um, are you nervous person? But in nature are something I am lately lately have really good, Because I'm like, really, I've been I've really been trying to be aware of it, but Yeah, man, like, I can get really anxious, like I'll just start sweating like just like crazy. And I'm super comfortable right now. Yeah. I mean, it's surprising. Yes. Yeah. Now, before I get on stage No, it has nothing to do with me performing on stage.

Really. All of my anxiety. It comes from me being uncertain in my speech in, like, impromptu moments. You know, I'm just putting all my business out there right now, but but but yes. Sometimes I find myself, I don't know, like, I just I find myself, like I said, sweating like my heart's racing and and honestly, I just I realized it's because I'm holding my breath, right? Like and And I've been having this conversation a lot lately with people and yeah, that sometimes when we find ourselves anxious or we find ourselves getting defensive or we find ourselves you know, just responding, reacting quickly.

It's because we're holding our breath. And if we just take a moment to just inhale and exhale and then respond, you know, think about it. You'll think before you speak. You know, I said that earlier, but really just taking a moment to breathe before you respond. Like I promise you, like nine times outta ten. Like you'll be much better off. You know, a lot of times when we're defense, when we're defensive.

Well, when I'm defensive, you know, out, like immediately leg want to respond like, Well, that's not what happened. Trying tio to always to always be, I don't know. Like me and Tom. We're talking about this other day, like always looking at others with compassion, you know, like always being being in a place open enough to listen and to take in, even recognizing what you're giving back out because the other person is simply going to respond to what you give them.

Um What was the question? Well, that the the most immediate question comfort or skills? Yeah, something like that. I was answering. Yeah, Yeah, well, we had more questions and answers as it went on, but I think that's interesting. Well, in particular, the one Mike and I think I've been three times or something like that. That, uh, if I at least one thing that differentiates your performances too most others is, I don't know, it's funny.

It's just I guess I keep feeling like I'm surprised when you want to hear you say this because it feels like you're always the cool one or the one has the most cool or another word is just comfort or or calmness or whatever no matter what you're talking about. So anyway, she was like, no nervousness or anxiety. Doesn't seem like Yeah, it's there. But I'm really I'm really Can I Can I jump in on that? Yeah, I do think it's cool that you said that because, Well, I mean, honestly, one mic one like is a space that that I have always practiced, um, being open and being calm so that everyone is in a place where they can respond openly and calm because I want people to want to get up on stage at one.

Might like That's really why we did it, because I want to hear everybody's. When was the first one? Like if we just October twenty eight, two thousand fourteen. I think it was a Tuesday mighta. Been Thursday. Yeah, it was. It was still too Tiger Hotel down in the vault. And how many times was another world? Four. Okay, times. Yeah. Mm. But to get back, but yeah, one mic is it is a place where I have I told myself to breathe because as the host, if I'm not paying attention, if I'm not listening, So what?

You know, you have to say on my stage, then then what is all of this for? Like? Is it a show? Like so? Like somebody called like Told me that the day like, Yeah, just talking about your next show is I was just like, is one like a show. Like I always just called it in events, you know? Um but, yeah, like I'm I mean, what we are we are showing, and we're telling onstage, but I don't I guess I don't look at it as a thing of, like, entertainment as of but more of a place of sharing.

So yeah, I just thought that was interesting that you did that. You did say that. No, I like that. It's like that, baby. It's like, basically, yeah, because your baby in because you have started this and you said, All right, I'm going to be the host. You kind of put yourself in a position to teach yourself to transcend your things, that you don't like that. So that's a really good metaphor. Yeah, the parenting thing.

You know, you're I think you're right because I think that's what our parents have to do. What they try, Teo, you know, or at the very least, and he can goes back to what you're saying about your dad. Any relationship with all the things that the space that he gave you to teach yourself, is that part of being probably a good parent? And I don't know because I'm a parent and Butt is is teaching someone to teach themselves.

You're teaching yourself even if you weren't consciously trying to, you know. But I don't know. I think that's even people who you know, like the best piano players in the world or whatever. It's like they're they're always the most successful because they teach themselves because because they've been taught a lot. But some point, they said, I'm going to develop my own techniques for solving my own problems, and a lot of people can't get past that.

And it doesn't matter what you're talking about. But you have to be creative in solving your own problems. And it sounds That sounds country shape, but oh, yeah, pound Um, good. All right, so we have about fifteen or twenty minutes left. Okay, so I think I want to ask. Um, one or two more questions about poetry, art or one like. And then some of these fun under ones and then worried some Oreo reads poetry.

Okay. What What was the motive of the cave artists? The judge is like choosing like a list. What was that like, The one that you knew You're gonna ask me. There is both I mean, ah, there's a giant was my my friend mentor interviews people when he has a giant list. And so when I interview people, I go, uh, when I'm coming of my own questions or when I'm coming up with questions in general, or try and figure out what I'm going to talk about.

Then I looked down and and say, This is a question or something where I think she would say something interesting. Yeah, I think that's cool. I just I guess I just I also want to know about your process and, like, how you how you do this? Well, yeah, I mean, yeah. And a lot of its just going with Yeah, no, because you do that very well. And that's why I had to ask how I was like, where you really just going with the flow Or did you just like they do in their times?

It's like it's interesting, Howard's because there are times when it's just you're so good going with the flow and and things settle down. You like it? Yeah. And then you ask a question. It's totally unrelated. Yeah. Then there's that one kind of was. Yeah, but it's like, you know what? Did you do it? Really? Well, Thanks. Okay. So to answer your question, what was the motive of the cave? Artists love that question.

I don't know, man. Like they wanted to tell a story like they were just telling stories, Uh, and sharing it, cause I mean, those were there while they were there. They continued to add on to it, you know, um wash away, start over. You know, I know. Well, there's a quote, Nina Simone. And and I'm not going to get the full quote, but it is our duty, as artists, you know, to actively participate. And the things that go on around us and and looking at the caveman they wrote, they wrote it down because they had to, you know, um let's tell our story.

Yeah, I think that's part of being human. Yeah. Like to tell our stories? Yeah, it really It really is. Um, and and I think that's why I like That was probably the simplest answer that I've given, like, this whole thing, but this whole interview. But yeah, well, you mentioned storytelling before and how important it is to you and, um, we were trying to be more concise with or whatever do you think that is there any other animal or that tell stories in some way?

I mean, is this what makes humans unique? Is storytelling or I mean, one can argue language or I mean, that's not true, but, yeah, and some people are you cooking, and that's mostly true. But now I think about maybe storytelling is the most sure. I don't know. Um, well, let's think about that. Let's think about this thing about these other animals, you know? I mean, they may not be talking to us. When it's interesting.

I'm trying to think of like, Well, if how did we evolve? Yeah, for storytelling to be a a trait that valued, right, right? I mean, you know, I always imagine ages as the elders, the elders of whoever you know, the tribe Wass. And to be that one person to pass on. You know, these stories and information and just, you know, the genesis stories of how we came to be, um I don't think that we're the only animals that do it, though I think I think after saying that out loud, it's necessary for every group or a cluster of family to pass on what has been passed on to them.

That's what parents dio That's interesting. Pass on the passing on information, which is storytelling, the passing on of experiences. You know, um, that that makes so much sense. Yeah. So no, I don't I don't think that's unique to us. Um Yeah. Wow. You might have just written a poem. My head. There you go. That's about. Yeah, OK, good. So alright, here's some Here's some more fun questions, okay? What is today's most un reported story?

Come on. Okay. Today's most UN reported story. You can cut out the silence. Um I think like, I think my mind keeps wanting to take it like a one of two ways I was with my friend. But like you said, this interview's is an either or case, so I can't I can't talk about my friends and my friend. Yesterday I was at his house and hey was telling me something that had happened to him earlier in the day. And he was really just really messed up about it and which I don't see often from him.

But hey was walking downtown on Night Street, and there was a man there with a camera, like the way that he was describing The way that my friend was describing It was that was a camera. But he couldn't really tell because a man kind of had it covered. And then he walks past him and he hears the click and the camera is like, at his crotch level, you know? Yeah, I know. Told took a turn of events and and he stops and he asked him, and he was just like, Oh, did you get a good shot?

And then the man immediately becomes defensive and he wishes, Are you don't have to talk to you. This this never and my friend was just like, whoa, Like I wasn't trying to start anything. I mean, like, you snapped a picture of me. I think it was It was It spared me to ask, You know, what are your intentions with with these photos? And as he's like saying there, talk to them, The man is still just like, I don't have to talk to you.

And but people are still coming by and he's still sitting in this chair, and he's still taking photos and a lot of it of women. Well, then out of him, which is of people walking by and to the point where my friend, he was just like, no man, like if you if you could take my image and you can take my sound like I'm going to sit here and I'm going to talk with you, you know, this isn't okay, you know? And he he's alerting some people, you know, just around him.

And then, you know, he has to bring the cops over and then come to find out that really, with the man it was It was a very uneasy feeling. But what the man was doing, really. He is within his rights, Teo to sit in a public place on a public sidewalk, you know, on Ninth Street and take photos, you know, And and my friend, he was just he was just really telling me he was really doing some research. Just I'm in the different states, Just the different situations and how they're charged even, like, especially when children come, you know, come into the picture.

There are people that are that would really do this every day that are taking photos for you no less than, you know. I don't know. Like anyway, to answer your question, I do think that that is a pretty unreported thing because my friend made it a point to post it on Facebook and his other social media avenues. Justo like alert people of this of this one man. Yes, in particular. But just just to be mindful of that where you are Yeah, because I mean, there's always get it up online because, like he asked him, he was just like what you like.

What, you trying to use these photos with all kinds of things? Like, I don't know, like that. None of that was okay. So suspicious. Yeah, it's a lot of suspicious. Yeah, so But to answer your question, Yeah, I think that's that's pretty. So are you saying that the story's more of an awareness of technology and how, like, yeah, like cameras everywhere? Yeah. Like like updated information on on technology and just being aware of your surroundings in two thousand sixteen.

What? That needs to be aware of your surroundings. And there are a lot of surroundings in two thousand. Exactly. I'm glad you asked that question to clarify, but yeah, that's interesting. Um, how do you find peace of mind? Swinging on the swing set, like for a really? Yeah, um, up the street Lion Stephens Park in the bitten Stevens neighborhoods where I live. Um, yeah, like I like to go there, whether at night or during the day.

And because some of my best memories from childhood army, like, on the swings. So yeah, and I could get a good workout and, you know, if I'm really pumped, so yeah, that's Yeah. You're that kid on the show recess. Inside out, boy. Do you remember that? No, I don't know. Okay, It wasn't It was a Nickelodeon thing. Was like a short, like, the off beats over there. Know you nineties, baby? Yeah, of course. But that's okay.

I didn't have cable, though. Okay, So all we had was like chan twenty five, like Larry Rice and recess. Well, then, yes. So there was, like, one or two car teams that I I really know. Okay. No, I'll shoot us your way. It's pretty cool. Um, if a publisher was released, your autobiography off the top Your head? Well, with the title. Oh, my gosh, you're killing me. Um, just my autobiography. Okay. I don't know. Probably probably something with the probably something with time.

Good. Well time? I don't know something. Probably something with time. Yeah, I'm giving a super like I'm over here. Really? In deep in thought. Here's another. Here's another. You'll know this one. They sent the glue in the binding. What with the smell If they sent the glue. What? In the binding of the book? Yeah. What would the smell B? Well, what about my autobiography? Oh, uh, probably Krishna Musk. That's something, You know, it's just like it's an oil of its assented.

It's a scented oil that we so that the piece look and smells really nice or liquid. Amber, That's actually what I wear. And it's a very homely smell, so yeah, that's that's what? This it would be. Okay. Um, please, here's another hard one. Please tell me something good you've never had and never once something good that I've never had. But I never I have never wanted, Okay? You never once that I never went home something that's good.

A wood cabin in Alaska. Good. Yeah, yeah. You know, I think I think they're great. Think they're beautiful Love scenes, photos and all kinds of pictures, you know, people you know, to live in in the snow and hot chocolate. And it looks cool. Looks cozy, come to sit outside. But I'm team. I don't I don't need that. Like, I don't need snow. Don't do snow. Yeah, they're they're cool to look at from a distance. That's good.

Yeah. Um, this will probably be the last question is what gives you or what's the healthiest cultural shift you see developing today the healthiest cultural shift that I see developing today? Um the healthiest cultural shift. Um goodness gracious, because there's there's more good going on, you know, right now, then Then we talk about a lot now, But as a queer writer, I think I will say, really, seeing young people honestly engaging in the conversation of same sex marriage and same sex relationships or just queer relationships of any kind as I think it should have always been that Will does whatever you want, like, you know, and and I love seeing that just play.

It just it's just just blatant. Now, like kids, they're just like, Well, duh, you know, and which is cool, cause back in the day, uh, you know, it's just so hard, you know, it's just been so hard, it's still hard because there's so many of us. You know who it is? Such a divisive conversation, you know, in sir society. But, um, I am really proud of of young people, for, I don't know, trying to stay woke.

Trying to stay. What? Trying to stay well aware? Uh, yeah. So what the hell these culture shift you see is basically young people accepting easily. And these They're being important. Were there in the east of acceptance of of these ideas thes other people's exactly that's that's a that's a that's a better way to look at it. Yeah. Yeah, because they're not ideas there. Right? Right. Right. Is just is what it is.

What we doing is what people were doing. Yeah, just being more more accepting of of ourselves and people around is actually, we still need to work on ourselves. But just being more accepting of people around us, right? Well, I was going to ask you also what's what gives you most optimism? But then that was kind of thinking maybe she might answer kids or something like that. I just that's interesting. But how is it anyway?

So I'm going over my one question last, but it is. Because you like. Nothing. This, you see, is a healthy cultural shift. His kids. Do you ever see yourself having kids? Oh, um I can totally picture myself with kids. I don't want them right now. Yeah, yeah, Um I mean, actually, I kids, kids air one thing that I've never really late. I don't know. I haven't really. I haven't started putting my thoughts towards that.

But I can I can see me with kids at some point down the line, whether I whether I have them, you know, from me or they're adopted or, you know, they come into my life through my partner. Yeah. I love kids. You know, mentor ship is like is something that I'm really, really big on my Really I do. I do like to seek out the guidance of those older than me that I I want, you know, quote unquote to be like when I grow up.

And I think it's important to continue that cycle with younger kids. So I do like to spend time with young kids, but yeah, I can see myself a kids. Yeah, but not now. Good. Yeah. Good answers. Can I? I wanted backtracked to the title of my book. Yeah. Okay. Time on. Lee needs your attention. Time only need to your attention, That is whatever name MY book With subtitle B for the The That Joseph Reader, Joseph Readers of the World The subtitle Time Only Needs Your Attention.

Sit still and pay attention. Oh, I thought this is going to be some sort of, like, come on, physics discussion where you're like Now, if you don't pay attention that time, then it doesn't exist or something like that. Oh, are like, no, so meaning that time on Lee needs your attention being present. Being present in that in that present moment, at that time, paying attention to just that moment. Mom, Time only needs your attention.

I was going to tell you where I got that from because, I mean, you took it further than I had taken it. Is it really quick visit personifying time like time? Yeah. Yes, Yes, it is. That's what it still hears This here's this person. Yes, sometime. And all it needs from anyone is not. It doesn't need. It's very simple. And its desires and once is just needs attention. Yeah, and for you to give it. Yeah, which is which I thought tightened everything that really we had been talking about here today.

But I got that I took Monica hands cause a couple years back, and there was this girl in the class named Tanya C O N Y. And one of the first assignments that Monica gave us was to take our name and to write a poem, you know, out, you know, with with our name or whatever. And I'm Of course I take that like, way further because I was still, like, doing too much. Just write a poem with the time. And but this girl in our class, Tanya, she was hell issue and yeah, that's what she came up with for her name.

Tanya Time only needs your attention. And now and now, every single time I see her like, out in the street, like since that class like that's what I call her time only needs your attention because it's the only place. The only name I remember. I don't remember what I said about my name, but like it really stuck with me. So yeah, that was beautiful. All right. OK, now we're gonna have poetry reading to your poems.

Yeah, I could do that. Just do it. Okay. Well, let's hear it. You think you'll be doing the doing? I'm going to put this here is memorizing poetry hard for, you know, like that's seven minutes. The memory wasn't the issue now that I took the paper wasn't angry. Stressed about the memory. Wasn't something you were stressing about. No, I mean, but I do like, Tio have the papers up there with me because that's right you were holding.

Yeah, it was holding something. I'm always aware that I'm never I'm never going to be a hundred percent sure who I'm going to be in any. You know, on any given moment, none of us dio where I'm going to be a what I'm going to forget. Basically, eh? So just a just in case, you know? Yeah. Of course. Yeah, because the opening piece for one like the put pen to paper. And maybe you've missed the beginnings of all the one maze.

It's okay. It's like the very first thing I do. Maybe I did. I don't know. Well, with that piece you introduced Mike with a home? Yes. A different poem. No, The same plan was simple. The same poem. Do you have that with you too? I haven't memorized. All right. Except for the story that I was about to say. Of every time. Like it's the one piece that I wrote most of it at work. And I never typed it out and put it on my computer, like the opening piece of one Mike.

I do not have a concrete version of tangible version of you, and but I do it every single time, and I do it from memory. But, like, three times in a row, like I stumbled on, like, one line, like in, like, three different situations, like three different events. Like I did this piece. And, uh, yeah, And I always, like, curse myself for not having that piece up there with me. Um, anyway, my computer's really slow, and really, I have both of these memorized, Yeah.

Hear that right? Yeah, don't worry about that. So the first piece I'ma do is, um, written in longhand. Okay. Yeah, the computers moving slow, so I'm just going to do okay. Pulls out a warn leva textbook torn at the edges, sits down at the desk and flips to page three licks his lips as he begins to read. And I lean and listening is He starts the Babylon about battles and Babylon or some shit, but all I seem to be able to pay attention to our his lips is they dance and long hand along the length of my spine and he leaves me arriving in the ink that keeps trying to seek the wrinkled sheets.

But I painstakingly gathered the words before they bleed. And diverse is that become the subs attitude for pain. Kais. It's better when it hurts. Completely engaged. My gaze follows his along the page, but the words blur together, twisting in tow curse of like the birds who link up to fly south for the winter. Dividing on Lee when ties are broken like my speech when I'm around you, each line broke in my breath.

Citron on like parking spaces, whether by rain that let the paint chipped and rusted. But you keep kissing me anyway, at least in my head, because I haven't heard one thing you've said, and coaxing the brush strokes left behind by the winding of your lips is the stroke of your fingers. On the tips of each word spoken heat rising from the pages. You flip it to the climax, but you whisper my name, breaking my concentration.

So I sit up unaware that the class had been passing back. Pop quiz to be finished in the last few minutes. A class so I panic face plastered with guilt. Yeah, face plastered with guilt, and I melt into my see ink still splattered on the page point for me. God, that is so good. I think that is a that's a hot, heavy pull. Yeah, yeah. And I actually before I do, and I generally ask people to close their eyes.

It's the one piece I have and I asked, Will close your eyes. It was a super super visual piece for me. Because it is like I'm writing like a miniature movie. That's it was like like the character development and things that ideo. But thank you. And I really liked how you you jump back into you have that smooth voice. And then but their points were You're talking the normal voice just for, like, a half a sentence.

Um, you know, it's like you have different characters. Are It was in your own brain there. No, that's really good. And I like the reference. The curse of things is a visual image of bodies or whatever. Thank you. That was when I read That was like Yeah, thanks. Okay, So the next one that I'ma do is, uh, Sugar shack, uh, two thousand thirteen. And I know this is like radio on and you can't see the painting, but, uh, yeah, you should don't need two with only.

Okay, okay. I am officially twenty one No longer too young to wear this dress fits me just right. It just might make some girl's mad, but that's gonna have to be all right. Because tonight I have no plans of being easily overlooked. The Sugar Shack stands alone in the shadows, almost giving me a heart attack. A black alley cat scurries across the welcome mat, warning me to go back home. But the sweet scent of incense burning fills my nose.

Is that attempts to black out the sweat drip being down the backs of those who were clicking their heels and ripping their pantyhose. So I closed the door behind me. At December. Stares in the scene settles in. It's all just so inviting at nine. The clock chimes early. It's time for some good times. This must be the spot. It's all just so intoxicating. I mean, the lights were so dim I had to squint in order to see the reds and blues and different hues of brown skin.

Ladies and gents who were winding and grinding and moving their lips in tune with the music was so smooth and made my hips sway and consciously I took shots of tequila. I couldn't feel my face, so I chased those with a case of Corona. But wait, that makes no sense. I must be losing my grip on reality. My words air slurring. Not sure if you heard me. Yeah, sure, I'd love to dance. So he took my hand. We danced until the song was throat, but the black out to be continued.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.