Preface + The KKK + Master of Energy from “I Think Therefore I Am”

I Think Therefore I Am is my first book of poetry. It was my first attempt at self-publishing. This print was the second edition. I originally put it out in the spring of 1999 (upside down) as a college sophomore. 300 copies were pressed in total.

At poetry readings, hip-hop shows, and on the street, they were sold hand-to-hand out of my backpack. It was my idealist manifesto. Revisiting it made me cringe. I was high on The Seat of the Soul (Gary Zukav), Dr. Malachi Z. York, As A Man Thinketh (James Allen), Heavy Mental (Killah Priest), and marker ink. Mudy61 was one of my tags.

I didn’t know that Descartes was wrong about everything. The initial attraction to naming my book after his supposed revelation was related to displacement and the unabashed audacity of an optimistic and passionate kid.

These poems frame a past that, though I don’t long for it, I do appreciate its lasting impression. It reflects my Friday nights at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which for me, was like a school that rivaled my formal writing classes. Out of the juxtaposition of the two emerged moving walls that segregated and combined ideas that, prior to their introductions, were strangers with little chance of ever discovering their commonalities. So many great writers (Greg Parnell, Ainsley Burrows, Suheir Hammad, Alix Olson etc.) came out of that overcrowded, fire hazardous place. Watching them was the gospel and The Nuyorican was definitely a house of worship.

In my poetry classes at school I was showing my professors a form of writing that was new to them. To their credit, they granted me my premise and challenged me to write something that was meant to be read and performed. One of my teachers became a friend and mentor. To this day, I talk to him and he graciously still looks at my work.

This copy of I Think is the last copy that I didn’t lose when I was moving around. For well over a decade its globe trotted, been left to live at the bottom of forgotten storage boxes, suite cases, and dusty bookshelves.

Moms wrote the preface. I don’t subscribe to religion, which didn’t stop my mother from forcing me to church. My mother and I talked a lot about God. She thought that I wouldn’t be saved. Admitting my belief in something greater than us, quieted her worries (a compromise).

As a thank you to those that take time to read my work (and a salute to the subscribers of my mailing list), I wanted to offer a sample of the material that I was writing and performing at the beginning of my path. More poems from I Think will be posted over time.

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