Houston poet and performer Marlon “Marley” Lizama discovered his love of the spoken word through hip hop. His group Havikoro is made up of dancers, poets and authors, and they have traveled the world sharing their culture with international audiences.
Lizama was a “B-Boy,” a break dancer, and he said the world of hip hop reaches kids who might not realize that hip hop artists and dancers are poets with a story to tell.
“When (kids) hear what I’m talking about, they’re like ‘oh, snap, I did not expect that.’ ... It is a movement. It is our protest. It is social justice. It is entrepreneurship. I honestly didn’t realize what I was creating until years and years later,” he said. “I want to aim at a student who needs inspiration or maybe a young immigrant (who) needs to understand that his story matters, too.”
Lizama’s latest collection of poems and short stories is called “Cue the Writer: Cheers to the Notion of Love, Hate, God and Revolution.” In gathering material for the book, he recalled something his mother told him. “My mom told me, ‘You’re going to meet God a few times in your life.’ I’m like, ‘ok, Mom.’”
Lizama thought the conversation ended there, until he went to India and met God.
“I went to this café. I saw this little girl who was by herself. She must’ve been like 6 years old,” he said. “It blew my mind that she was by herself, panhandling for money. ...The closer I got to this little girl, I realized she was humming. … All these things are going through my head. I can’t keep my mom’s words out of my head. ‘This is God, yo, this is God, I know this is God.’ I go up to her and give her rupees. ... I’m looking at her, like ‘poverty in India’s not my fault, I gotta go. We’re good!.’ ”
When Lizama returned home from India, he told his mother he had met God. “She said, ‘Did you talk to her?’ I was like, ‘No, she ignored me the whole time.’ She’s like ‘Oh. What did you do?’ ‘I gave her money.’ She said, ‘Geez, you don’t pay attention.’ ”
WATCH | A 2015 interview with Lizama in by Creative Mornings in Houston