By Steven T. Licardi
The first time I met Metapoetic was at the first meeting of Poemstars, a group of Long Island poets of which we are both a part. Meta is, polite, and mildly intimidating. As the group began to build rapport, I found that Meta and myself were on the same page with a lot of ideas and issues. He has since become a close friend, a spiritual adviser, and, above all, a poetic inspiration.
The first thing I wanted to know is where the name Metapoetic came from. “The name is a play on words,” he said. “In literary terms, it means beyond-poetic. But when I created it, I thought of myself as being the metaphor of being poetic.” Meta, who is a deacon at his church, speaks poetically with the cadence of a sermon, even in normal conversation. I am always so interested in hearing his opinion or perspective on particular issues, so I wondered how he first found poetry. “I have always been interested in how words dance together. It started with writing raps. I believe someone inviting me to a Spark O.N.E. meeting – a Hampton University poetry group – and it sparked my interest. I was so awe inspired by their words and cadence.”
Because of his theological background, Meta’s style is peppered with Bible citations and metaphors for divinity. I wanted to know more about it. “I think my style is pushing it out with a lot of effort. I want you to catch every word I say. I used to mumble a lot when I first started performing. After performing once in Virginia, I told myself I would actively attempt to annunciate as strongly as possible.” And he does! Meta, who is rather soft-spoken, bursts into finely articulated speech when he performs, with a booming vocalization that appears almost painful. This delivery always encases a message. “I usually write to inspire others,” he said. “So I try to fill my poems with anything inspirational. This is usually due to the many times I am in a rut myself, and I usually speak to myself as I speak to others in my poems.” Perhaps his delivery is rooted in a deeper strife.
“I hope I can inspire any demographic that struggles day to day with life, to see that even if you feel you can’t talk to anyone about your problems, you can talk to the page.”
I wanted to know if there are other poets who have inspired Metapoetic. “I am influenced by underground poets; poets who are writing with purpose. A few poets that have inspired me the most are Saul Williams, Shadokat, Mili, Black Ice, and Ayo.” But he recognizes the need to create his own image. “I try hard to not duplicate others,” he admitted. “I want your hand on my every word, but I don’t want to use everyone else’s cadence; I want you to come to Christ, but I don’t want to beat you in the head with Bible verses and clichés; I want to inspire you to succeed, but I don’t want to act like I have it all together.” It is that selflessness in Meta’s work that makes it so uplifting. He preaches without preaching. He invites you to take it or leave it, with indifference toward your decision.
Like all poets, I wondered why it is he chose poetry over other forms of expression.
“Because poetry is the most naked you can get….You can have no instrumental, no hook, no breakdown, no rhyme scheme, no filler. Just a marriage between heart and page.”
I also wondered – because I love picking Metapoetic’s brain – why he thought Long Island has such a diverse poetry community. “The interesting thing about every community, when it comes to poetry, is the content usually goes hand-in-hand with why people are writing. Due to the great amount of diversity in Nassau and Suffolk County, I believe there is such a large amount of reasons why people write. Some write for change, some write to keep things the same, some to inspire, and some to condemn.” But Meta, and myself, want to see more. “Be more of a talk-to-action community,” he implore, “that our words would be a catalyst for more movement than workshops.”
I asked Meta to choose a few lines of poetry that he is most proud of. He exhorted:
“Let my ear be the pen your tears are dispatched to / I just want you to attach to a new vision / wear contacts adorned with gold 7’s / because your glass ceiling is the heavens, / but please / don’t get grandfather clocked into a routine away from a smiling heart, / your days should not be marked with swinging pendulums, / monotony has always been built with hairline fractures.” (From “Concrete Angel”).
Metapoetic will be performing alongside the rest of the artistic cast at SPARKBOOM‘s “Beards, Bards and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (Click HERE to RSVP). You can read some of his poetry and see him perform. Meta is very approachable, with a kind heart, and a gentle tongue. His friendship is something I cherish immensely, and the ways in which his poetry and presence has enriched my life is something I want to share with others. Let him preach to you softly about life from the pulpit in his heart.
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.