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There are two ways to worry words. One is hoping for the greatest possible beauty in what is created. The other is to tell the truth.
The music of language became extremely important to me, and obvious to me. By the time I was seven I was writing myself. I was a poet.
The first function of poetry is to tell the truth, to learn how to do that, to find out what you really feel and what you really think.
The courts cannot garnish a father's salary, nor freeze his account, nor seize his property on behalf of his children, in our society. Apparently this is because a kid is not a car or a couch or a boat.
That attitude that fighting is probably not fair, but you have to defend yourself anyway and damage the enemy, has been profoundly consequential as far as my political activism goes.
So, poetry becomes a means for useful dialogue between people who are not only unknown, but mute to each other. It produces a dialogue among people that guards all of us against manipulation by our so-called leaders.
Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.
One of the reasons I came to Berkeley was because I saw so many students of all different colors speaking so many different languages and ferociously presenting all these different views. I thought, this is the 21st century and I want to be here!
My father was very intense, passionate and over-the-top. He was my hero and my tyrant.
My father was both the person who gave me reason to learn how to fight and the one who taught me the basics of fighting. He would tell me that if it was a big fight, it would probably be uneven, it wouldn't be fair.
Language is political. That's why you and me, my Brother and Sister, that's why we supposed to choke our natural self into the weird, lying, barbarous, unreal, white speech and writing habits that the schools lay down like holy law.
It means to educate myself incessantly about the world around me.
In the process of telling the truth about what you feel or what you see, each of us has to get in touch with himself or herself in a really deep, serious way.
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