I mean that was, I mean if, I guess if people had listened to me then when I was a kid or whatever, they would probably assume that I was gonna be a teacher. Because when it came, when we got to the section of poetry, oh my God, I actually did, I actually took words from Ann Carpenter's class and got real arrogant one day and said, "All right, these words what do you want us to do with these words?" She said, "Well put them in a composition, well come up first, get the definitions and always remember the primary definition is the one that we should go with." And she would break us down and say that you'll see two or three different definitions in the dictionary. And she says, "But then use these words in a composition." So then I'm thinking to myself composition, I said, "Could that be a poetic composition?" And she says, "If you can put these words in a poem, I'll give you, I'll give you not one but two extra credits." I said, "Oh really?" And that's what I did. I, I took vocabulary words from the board and I was going out with a sister, that was going to Boston--going to Borough of Manhattan Community College [New York, New York] and we were having difficulties. First of all I lied about my age, I lied about where I was going to school, I told her I was in NYU [New York University, New York, New York], I was in high school [Haaren High School, New York, New York]. I was a sophomore in high school, and, and I wrote a poem about our relationship. "She's a rose of many thorns tearing pride out of my heart / Though she blossoms in many forms, her thorns remain always sharp / She rips, she hurts yet stays projecting seductively fragrant perfumes / I protest in so many ways but my manhood she somehow consumes / I'm torn between love and masculinity and the ladder I need the most / The life of mine is separate entity, I'm a man this I cannot boast / She more woman than I am man, knows not her place by me / She thinks me a cactus living in sand, closing her ears to my plea / Let me free to roam in your garden, let me free to pride in your perfume / For the love I feel will soon be pardoned by the manhood I must quickly resume." Of course I got extra credit, and Miss Carpenter she told me she says, "I don't know if anybody's ever told you this before but you're a poet. And maybe that will come in handy in the future."$$Did you know you were a poet before, before this?$$(Shakes head) I had written a poem in elementary school with the help of a librarian who nobody liked 'cause he was soft. He was probably gay, I mean but Mr. Orr [ph.] was cool with me, and he didn't try no funny business with me. And I was asked when I was in the fifth grade to write a poem for graduation. I wasn't even graduating you know, this is the sixth grade is when you graduated I, I and I didn't understand until oh some years later that the reason I was asked because I was the best English, I was the best English student in the school at--in that elementary school, I, I had won spelling bees, I had written good reports. Whenever I had to do the oral report, I was always better than the rest of the kids, 'cause I had my mother [Oyewole's maternal aunt, Elvenia Robinson Davis] at home to help me. 'Cause remember I did anything she would, she was, she was serious night watchman over everything. She wants to see my work; she want to see everything, everything, nothing went unnoticed. So I actually you know I believe it's, it's like when I did this poem, I didn't know, I didn't have any idea how to do the poem. And I went to Mr. Orr and I told him I was asked to do the poem, and he laughed. And he says, "And you don't know why?" I said, he says, "Well it's okay." He says, "I'll help you write the poem." And he says, "Well what do you think about, do you think about graduation?" I said, (shrugs). I said, he says, "We're gonna make a list of words that rhyme that deal with graduation." So what comes to mind, I said school bells you know, I think that was the first that came to my mind, maybe first or second. And he said, "Well what, what rhymes with school bell?" He says like say, "What you, you leaving school you know what do you call that?" I said, "Well it's like you're saying goodbye to your friends and people that you knew, teachers that you knew." "So what's another word for goodbye that deals with school, but sounds school bell?" I said, "Farewell?" He says, he says, "All right, so then," and, and we took each pair and worked it you know, and had a poem. The poem was up in the school for a long time, but I never considered myself a poet though, at that time. I just 'cause first of all, he helped me write the poem, so I really kind of considered him to be my secret help you know. But this time I did 'Emancipation,' which is one I just recited I did that on my own, I was dipping and dabbing in poetry as a, as a just something to do. That I liked to, that I thought was interesting, it was interesting to me.$Now before we actually went on the stage, however, we went--David Nelson lived right around the corner from Mount Morris Park [New York, New York], he, it was convenient. So he, I, we went there to his house, he said I met this other guy named Gylan Kain, I met Kain in the park. Then we all went upstairs to David's house. Now Kain he had met at a poetry reading right here at Columbia University [New York, New York] about a week before, no two weeks before. And he invited him because he liked his poetry; he thought that that would be cool. So we went over to David's house and we sat there for a minute and we talked about how we gonna go on stage and we thought maybe we would sing. Somebody would do maybe a poem up on front so I, I had maybe someone try sing 'Ooo Baby Baby,' maybe that'll be slick you know. I mean that was one of the hit songs at the time 'Ooo Baby Baby,' Kain couldn't hold a note if you handed to him. David's all right, his voice is kind of weak but he, it wasn't, that wasn't not gonna be our forte. So I said, now I had just seen a demonstration on television, it was a demonstration by the students of Howard University [Washington, D.C.]. And it was to try to get, they were having issues with their president and if I recall his name was Nesbitt [sic. James M. Nabrit, Jr.]. And they didn't want him there anymore, they want him out, and they had an effigy of him hanging up in the tree. And they were marching around and they were chanting are you ready nigger is you got to be ready, are you ready? Then they go off into Beep, Beep, Bang, Bang, Un-Gowa, Black Power, Beep, Beep, Bang, Bang are you ready nigger is you got to. And I thought that was so hot, so I said now I know we can't sing together but everybody can chant. So I said we're gonna chant are you ready niggers, so we practiced it, I said we go on stage, that's what we gonna do. There was a brother named Hakim [ph.], he's now like a documenteur, he jock- he's a film guy, he does a lot, you see him in jazz concerts all over the place. He's got a long beard, he's got a camera always now, but he used to be one of the baddest djembe drummers. And he had a dance troupe and everything for a long time, he just changed courses and he's a Pisces and he can do that. And, and he was on stage with some drummers and dancers on that very first day. And then they were packed, getting ready to pack up and leave and give us the stage, and I said no, no, stay right there. So that's how the drums got involved right away, because I felt that that would give added rhythm you know. And it did, and we had the entire park are you ready niggers, you got to be ready, the drummers were playing. And David had his poem entitled 'Are You Ready Black People,' Gylan Kain had his poem entitled 'Niggers Are Untogether People' and I had poem entitled 'What Is Your Thing Brother' [Abiodun Oyewole]. And that was, those were the first three poems that graced the stage as The Last Poets. And, and we didn't have the name then, the name was something that was sought out by David, David did the research for the name. He read Sterling Brown's poem 'Strong Men Keep On Coming' [sic. 'Strong Men'] he read Margaret Walker's 'For My People' I know he read poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. But the poem that really captivated our name finally gave us the name was poem called 'Towards a Walk in the Sun' by a South African poet named Keroapetse Kgositsile. And Ko, Ko, Kgositsile, he has I think he does that in his name, he's Zulu. He's a great brother, good friend of mine, we were in South Africa two summers ago and we had a big party and also when we did our thing on the stage, he came out first. And the people gave him a standing ovation and we started doing the part of the poem that gave us our name, the entire audience was doing it. So it's like a creed, it was like when you hear is the birth of memory. When the moment hatches and times womb, there will be no art talk. The only sound you will he, the only poem you'll hear will be the spear, the only sound you will hear will be the spear point pivoted to the punctured marrow. The only poem you'll hear will be the timeless native son dancing like crazy to retrieved rhythms of desire fading into memory. Therefore, David added we are The Last Poets of the world. So it's like what all, whatever you know like the negotiations are over. And the marching's are over, the parade, the banners the shouting, yelling and screaming and throwing bricks and rocks are over you know. And this statement that we as poets represent is that final statement before it really hits the fan you know so.