By Steven T. Licardi
The first time I met Mc2 was my first night at The Muse Exchange, one of Long Island’s best open mics. I don’t remember how we got to talking, but I remember a warm openness to him that was almost stoic in nature. When I first heard his poetry, which is often a wispy critique of societal norms, it added a nuance to him that gave him a fly-on-the-wall sort of quality. We immediately bonded and he has since become one of my closest poetic allies.
Mc2 (who also goes by the name Golden Lotus) explained to me the origins of his stage name, which, I must say, I was instantly tickled pink by. “I am the E in the equation E=Mc2. It came about fifteen years ago sort of on a whim. It felt clever; I still think it’s pretty clever.” A Massage Therapist by trade, Mc2 got into poetry sort of by accident. “I had to write a book report in middle school about a poet. I picked E. E. Cummings. I had never seen anyone write like that before. I was curious, and I decided I could be fantastical and write anything. I started putting different interesting phrases together as a patchwork.” Over time, it evolved and has since become rather forthright and unabashed. I can see how E. E. Cummings would impart flavors onto its overall taste.
Mc2’s experimentation got him interested in looking at the world in different ways. Like most poets, he carries a sense of hypersensitivity to the world around him. “I like to catch my writing prompts from everyday reality,” he told me, “things that feel immediate to me and that I’m intrigued by. It could be hearing a snippet of a conversation in a supermarket or something that emerges into my attention.” Hip-hop has also been a mentor and you can hear it in his delivery style:
“Hip-Hop has influenced me greatly in the sense of people putting together these fragments that sort of cut right through everyday BS. I feel like hip-hop and poetry are two creative places where the person is the central fixture of a brainstorm.”
Along the same vein, I asked Mc2 what it is about poetry that draws him to it. “It’s cathartic. It’s an interesting community of people. I’m really interested in seeing what other people do and how they interact with reality.” He also touched on something that I think speaks to the beauty of poetry at large. “When you do something that has a certain degree of release involved,” he offered, “there’s an opening that happens that leaves a strong connection between people about the unspoken parts of life.” This comes to a fore often in Mc2’s own work. He added:
“Poets also tend to be weird and quirky people, which is a quality I find endearing.”
This led to a brief discussion about the poetry community on Long Island in general, which I feel is vast and unique, yet little known. I wondered why it feels so unique. “It has to be, because there aren’t a whole lot of places on the planet that can be what Long Island is,” he illuminated me. “It’s a blend of blue collar ethics, old money, and chaos. There’s an intensity that’s palpable. There’s also a serenity that’s palpable. That spectrum creates an interesting arts community.”
I asked Mc2 what he would like to see more of from the LI poetry community. “I’d like to see people go deeper. I want the community to be more personal, more real. I want to know how life is affecting people beyond their personal interests.” Something I have heard spoken about by many poets is the need for the youth to get more involved. “I’d also like to see it done in ways that no one has ever done it before, so I get excited when I see how the younger kids are doing it,” he added.
Of his poetry, each time I hear it, I find myself reflecting on the taciturn minutia of every day existence. That’s what makes his work so palatable. I wanted to know if there were any lines from his writing that he felt best captures his vision as an artist. He offered this nugget:
“We’re living from crisis to crisis / yet born from breath to breath.” – Mc2
You can catch Mc2 performing live on Saturday, June 21st at SPARKBOOM‘s 2014 kickoff event “Beards, Bards and BOOM” at The Walt Whitman Birthplace. (Click here). He also co-hosts The Muse Exchange every second and fourth Thursday of every month at the Velvet Lounge in East Setauket. He is kind, humble, and passionate about the artistic community on Long Island. He has always struck me as a kind of guru – not of anything in particular. Life, perhaps.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven T. Licardi (The Sven-Bo!) is the author of “Death By Active Movement” (Local Gems Press, 2013) and is a spoken word poet, actor, artist, and public speaker from West Islip, NY. Steven uses his many projects to raise awareness of social issues, for advocacy, and as a means to educate others to be compassionate. He hosts as blog called “Cross My Heart And Hope To Write” that explores the relationship between love, beauty, and the human condition. Find out where he will be performing next at TheSvenBo.com.