Poets Talk: 5 Questions with Jacqui the Poet

For me, poetry is not an assignment or a write-on-demand vocation. It's a calling, one I sometimes question, oftentimes ignore but when I do answer its always magical.

Konya Shamsrumi: What is the process of writing a poem like for you? Is it a lot of hard work or easy?

Jacqui the Poet: I’m not sure if there’s a process. I actually don’t write a lot… Poems manifest when the time dictates, mine is to ensure the ground is fertile. Sometimes, poems, or messages, pass me by as I’m either not listening or not being in a state of being healthy fertile ground. I’ve been rocky ground too and have had birds come and pick the seed up and go plant it elsewhere. For me, poetry is not an assignment or a write-on-demand vocation. It’s a calling, one I sometimes question, oftentimes ignore but when I do answer its always magical. 

So, I can’t say whether it’s easy or hard, I’m not sure it’s that simplistic, but I do know that I’ve aborted many a poem that now lay in tombs in the form of notebook-filled suitcases, hard drives and memory sticks. If a poem does not stick in my head within about three days of its birth, I simply leave it in one of the above tombs. To date, there’s only several poems that have stayed in my memory. 

Konya Shamsrumi: Please describe your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or metaphor?

Jacqui the Poet: I’m simply a note in an eternal orchestra. Mine is to constantly watch the conductor, who is God which I deem Love Unconditional, and wait for my name to be called to God’s service. That service for me is pursuit of complete liberation for myself, and in the process, for other individuals who may be inspired or benefit from experiencing or witnessing my own journey in the pursuit of Uhuru, and from whom in a multitude of ways I also learn. 

A note alone makes no music, so I’m aware of other notes and I thank God that I’m able to recognize and hear this celestial music in others’ expressions of themselves. In fact, I’m fuelled by it. 

Konya Shamsrumi: If any of your poems could literarily save a person’s life, which poem would it be and can you describe the person whose life you think it would have saved?

Jacqui the Poet: I think all my poems could save someone’s life at different times in their lives. My poems are prayers. However, if I was to choose one, I would choose my most recent poem, Children Of The Light. It’s a decade old but everything I’ve written afterwards has simply not stuck in my memory. It came from the solar plexus and I had to burn and like the Phoenix rise again in order to birth it, I’m afraid I haven’t been brave enough to dip into the realms of the gods in that manner again. All my poems after this come from the mind and a couple from the heart, but this one came from the spirit. I believe it could save others as it opens spiritual eyes and has saved my own life countless times. 

Jacqui the Poet

Konya Shamsrumi: What does Africa mean to you, as potential or reality?

Jacqui the Poet: Africa is the Origin. Africa is the heart of humanity. Africa is the last who shall be first… Again, and again. 

One of my poems that lives in the tombs is titled ‘Africa’, I have not committed it to memory but I remember this line from it that I think sums up my view of my continent… 

'On this land/ I don't doubt/ The foundations of paradise will be found'  

Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share with us one poem you’ve been most impressed or fascinated by? Tell us why and share favourite lines from it.

Jacqui the Poet: Ben Okri’s To An English Friend In Africa certainly springs to mind.

I have never had a soul speak to the entire Trinity of my Being quite like this poem. It’s beautiful, man! This guy drops pearls ever so gently and yet when the Truth of his words hit, a furnace in the Self is lit.

The first line…

'Be grateful for
freedom / To see other dreams.' 

I mean come on man! That’s life right there! That’s my journey right there… In a single opening line, I was hooked!

He opens the 3rd stanza with a line that has become my Life’s motto…

'Live while you are
alive.'

Jesus! five words. Just five words and the heart rate increases, blood pumps right to the head and the pupils dilate! Third Eye opening stuff… 

And then a few lines later in the same stanza he launches a silent missile… 

'Learn to be what
you are in the seed of your spirit.'

This one is undeniably my favourite line. Need I say more? He doesn’t say in your spirit, he says in the SEED… The seed! Haai man, this line goes in, this is the kind of line that makes grounds fertile, so to speak. 

The entire piece hits the spots but other lines that stand out in the poem include… 

'Never forget to
pray and be thankful' 
'Fear not for death
is not the real terror, but life - magically is' 
'Love demands the
best in us. To always and in time overcome the worst and lowest in our
souls' 
'It is love alone that is the greatest weapon and the deepest and hardest secret.
So fear not, my friend. The darkness is gentler than you think.'