Poetry has been a part of me from an early age. I remember my third grade teacher reading Shel Silverstein to our class, and being so intrigued by the flow and intricate rhymes of the work. However, it wasn't until the 8th grade when I began to write poetry. I’ve always considered myself a romantic, so I would write love letters to girls that turned into poems … I thought I was Romeo. Once in high school, my Theater Arts teacher Mrs. Holmes introduced me to influences such as Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Gil Scott Heron, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. From then on I was hooked, so I adapted my own rhythm of poetry. I would write all the time, on anything, whenever I was inspired or fascinated by a muse. It seemed as if I continued to be either sad or in love. So I wrote of only those emotions until discovering pain and heartache. I was also inspired by movies like "Slam" starring one of my favorite poets Saul Williams, while the movie "Love Jones", compelled me to attend poetry clubs mocking Larenz Tate. Poetry made me feel cool and allowed me to say what I was feeling. I continued writing off and on throughout the years, but after I was incarcerated in Federal Prison in 2011 I wrote more fluently, as it became my solace. It's like I had so much to say … so much emotion … so many feelings. After all, when you are cut off from family and significant others, you will desire an outlet. Being imprisoned has allowed me to grow, explore my existence, my experiences and create something that was derived from deep within. Poetry has become a sanctuary for my mind … my Freedom.