Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Speak Poet, Speak

In his first and only book, Mr. Sibaltia, aka Daniel Muhammad, said, "I write poetry because basically it's the only way that you can say "fuck you" to a room full of people and not get your ass beat."

Seriously. That was his opening line.

When I first met Mr. S (as he loved to be referred to,) I thought I saw just another kid trying to be some type of artist. You see, our little town of Macon, Georgia is FULL of artists: performers, visual artists, musicians... it's what we do. But Daniel.. he proved me wrong - he was not just another artist, he was one in a million.

In his own words, written right in the opening of his book, "That Really Speaks, Inspired, Something," Mr. S. says, "Poetry is true form freedom. ... Hell it's all about expression and creating an avenue of getting shit off your chest," and he used this creative outlet as his way of telling his story.

Here's the thing... Mr. S. died this morning.
25 years old.
He got hit by a car as he was crossing a busy highway. Rumors are flying over whether or not he stepped in front of the car on purpose. I have to admit, it's the first thing that crossed my mind. You see, Mr. S... or Daniel as I knew him, he was a tortured soul - a typical creative. He had experienced more in his short 25 years than most of us care to live. No, he was not addicted to drugs, and no, he was not in a gang.. unless you count the numerous beautiful girls he would often have draping on his arms - he was just a kid, trying to find his way, and finally get the validation he so richly deserved.

It was such a shock this morning to hear of his passing. I can't tell you how many times he would come bounding up the steps at the Tubman Museum, plopping down in my office, just sharing his latest stories. And boy, did he have some stories. He shared his heart aches, his dreams, his loss.. oh so much loss... you see, Daniel suffered from feelings of abandonment and was always looking for someone or something to cling to. Instead of actually finding someone.. he held onto the one thing he was born to do, and that was write and perform. He was a spoken word artist.

Earlier this year, he took his poetry that he had memorized (I'm serious, this kid knew every line of almost every poem,) and jotted them down and found a way to self publish.  Check out that link to order a copy of his book. I was the first person in Macon to buy his book, and the second to receive his autograph.
He was so proud of his work, as he should be, and wanted so much for people in Macon to embrace his poetry.

He would often perform spoken word at area venues or would lead African drumming workshops. He loved working with kids, and honestly, only wanted to make a difference in someone else's life.. the way the mentors and other program leaders from his childhood made a difference in his.

We are all shocked. We are all deprived of what could have been.
He taught us to always politely ask for him to recite his work by saying.. "Speak Poet, Speak."
Daniel.. I say to you now..
You have spoken.
I'm sorry you did not get the chance to see how much everyone here really did love you..
But we hear you... and will always be better for knowing you.

1 comment:

Hoosier Chick said...

I was sorry to hear this when you posted it. Anyone dying with so much more left to say is a tragedy, no matter what their age or circumstances. Heart is with you, girl!


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