I don’t know how to start this poem
I guess from the beginning?
Like an old dear friend
You’ve always been there,
With your sweetest scent
You filled me with joy….
Oh, what am I saying,
I’m not a poet!
Only thing I know
Is that it’s you, Elvira,
make my days brighter
Each day of the week
I see you having a bitchen morning
Tell me about your day
How you’ve walked your dogs this morning
How wonderful your hike was
Up in Griffith Park and Fern Dale
How many different birds have you spotted
along your way up to Dante’s Peak?
How many hundreds of pictures did you snap
of that butterfly
Or that hummingbird
Or that woodpecker
Or that seagull
Or that cute guy at the park…
Wait, what! Where! When! Who!
Look what Elvira is up to today
Having a bitchen day
And wishing us enough.
I wish you enough!
Cuz you deserve it,
Cuz you’re there for me as I’m there for you
Cuz we both know the power of our words
Cuz we know how strong our friendship is
So have a bitchen birthday,
a bitchen year,
a bitchen life
Cuz… Well… You ARE bitchen!
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
Tonight I came home to some stressful news. My grandma has been on her kick that she wants to go back to Peru. It’s her dying wish to go back to visit her homeland, the place where she feels that she belongs. She’s not dying by the way, that’s just the way she says things as if it was her last day in Planet Earth.
It’s not the first time she’s said it either. She’s done this to my mom a few times until she throws the towel and gives in to her demand. Not this time. My mom told me that my grandma was ready to ask me to book her trip even though we all oppose to this. There I go again, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Why does it always have to be me? Why must my mom and I always play good cop, bad cop?
It’s so hard for me to deny my grandmother anything, she’s always been so nice to me and lately I have grown closer than ever before. And she knows she can manipulate me if she really wanted to. So I prayed when I walked in the door. I prayed that I would have the strength to say no. I had all the arguments ready in my head: your health will be in jeopardy, you will need a nurse to be with you at all times, my aunts have so many issues of her own and frankly don’t have space for you to stay, you’ve been there before and you didn’t even see your grandchildren much while you were there… You’re never happy anywhere, grandma, when you’re here you wanna be there and when you’re there you’re dying to come back? Why must we always go through this? I say this to you from my heart, from a place of love and we don’t want you to leave when it’s not in your best interest…
Yes, I had those and more arguments ready but the question never came. It’s as if she were scared to face me? Weird that only hours earlier she was so determined to pack her things and go but now she was a quiet dove, una santa paloma.
I didn’t want to ruin my night so I will let her sleep on it, hopefully when she finally asks me I will be ready to answer carefully and tactfully. I love her to death but sometimes love means having to say no.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
I’ve been here, reading from my previous posts and trying to get inspiration. Just a few days ago I longed for a chance to finally sit down and write something away, I had so many things I wanted to write about, so many things that I wanted to share. Yet today I struggle with having one subject to write about. What should I write about?
Today I will be attending an event where there will be poets, musicians, authors, music and the like. It’s a big day for Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center and Bookstore, they celebrate their 13th anniversary of service to the East San Fernando Valley. I only discovered them over a year ago and they’ve pushed me to become a better writer, dare I even say a poet, pushed me to write from the heart and a place of truth.
It’s not always easy to write. There are good and bad days. I hope (and I know that I will) get inspiration from watching the performances from today. I need to exercise my writer muscle and get busy and write all these wonderful stories lingering in my head. Stay tuned…
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
Time is of the essence. Writing cannot or should not be rushed. It must come naturally. I know I set myself for failure when I push myself harder than I should. Somehow I set myself a daily goal of writing that couldn’t be accomplished along with everything else that I have going on. Between work, spending quality time with mom, syncing my iPhone with new music (which is still taking forever!), to finding a good rhythm going, to fixing myself tomorrow’s lunch, getting enough sleep as I intend to get up early tomorrow to go for a morning brisk walk (I quit calling it jogging since I hardly even jog for a minute, sometimes less than that), talk to my honey for about an hour, check my Facebook… What time do I have left for myself? What am I writing for? What am I trying to prove? I know I have set myself goals to write every day, and I have been doing wonderful so far.
I’m feeling wonderful, invincible, unbreakable. At work I have finally found a rhythm, getting used to the workload and my peeps. I have learned to get used to my mood swings which are little in between now. I have finally been able to balance myself between weekends where I don’t dread the thought of going in to work. Life is grand, everything’s balanced and I am alright. There. How many words was that?
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
I went to see Vanessa perform last night with a group of actors that performed theatre games where they would speak gibberish while another person translated (obviously it was unscripted and improvised), another game where each actor would portray an animal appointed by the audience who slowly turns from being the animal to where they stood up straight and became human but maintaining their animal characteristics. Every performer had to be alert as to what are the rules of the game were: don’t speak unless you’re spoken to, or maintain eye contact with all the other performers, or any other game rule that either the teacher or the audience provided.
The performances were all incredible and made me realize what professionalism is needed to maintain one’s cool without losing it to laughter or embarrassment, to come up with the most outrageous scenarios, or to keep the audience engaged for the hour or so that the performances went on for.
It was a friends and family event and it showed in the warmth of the group, the laughter and ease with which audience members would express out loud in order for their performers to hear that they were doing great. And they were!
Kudos to Vanessa for having the guts of following her long dream of acting, so inspiring to see people with regular jobs that merely pay the bills that want to become better people through art, it’s so encouraging and inspiring to see that anything is possible if you commit to it, when you put your heart and soul to it anything is possible.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
I got a message on Facebook while I was at Barnes & Noble picking up a book. It was from my cousin Julio. He wanted to know if he could call me. Funny thing about having a cell phone is that sometimes I forget that you can simply dial somebody, anybody you wish to talk to, and simply talk to them. Like visualization. So Julio was calling me from Peru, wanting to talk one on one. At first I thought about not answering but then I changed my mind and I’m so glad that I did.
After the initial chatting, asking each other how we are doing, what we are up to, where are we and who is around, we started jumping right over my poetry. He mentioned that he’d always been happy that I pursued my passion for writing and that he’s always followed my every step on Facebook. He too is a writer, like me, and has had a heck of a journey himself. My dad and him have gone through drug addiction, through losing everything and everyone to substance abuse and for the longest time Julio was synonymous to trouble, stay away from cousin Julio for he’s always trying to trick you into lending him money for drugs. Not this time.
Julio began to explain that it wasn’t until recently that he’s found God. He said he was driving one day when suddenly he stumbled across a Psalms little book in the glove compartment, picked it up and started reading it out loud to his friends, jokingly. At first it was fun and games but suddenly something in his brain clicked and he started digging what he was reading. Ever since then he quit smoking and drinking alcohol and has been clean for two years now. He had an epiphany that he has beautiful things in his life, people that cared for him through everything he’s been through: his mom Consuelo. I know for a fact that his mom has helped him through everything that he’s been through in his life, she’s been criticized for helping Julio through thick or thin, regardless of whether he was under the influence or not. She’s always been there for him. Now she’s 85 and needs a cane to walk and it has taken Julio this long to realize that the only person that had been there for him unconditionally is her. He also talks about his three children and his grandson and how much they mean to him. He also mentioned me and how much he loved me as a brother and I felt his real love over the iPhone. I was overwhelmed with happiness when he said that and when I would have otherwise stopped him and change the subject before, I allowed him to pay me those nice compliments. I have learned recently to take every compliment, every eulogy and accept it, own it and acknowledge that the statement is true, to be gracious about the compliment and just enjoy it, I deserved the compliment.
He called me brother and I understood precisely what he meant. Mind you, I am the only child so I don’t know what it’s like to have brothers and sisters of my own. Julio is the youngest of five. However, Julio and I grew up as brothers. Even though we were cousins, we love each other as brothers and all through our life journey we have looked after each other. I will admit that I had given up on him, I knew of his drug addiction and, just like my dad, I had to learn to say no. So for him to say that he’s been clean and that he’s gotten his shit together and calling me to tell me how much he loves me as a brother was a call for celebration. My spirit was lifted even higher.
We said our goodbyes and, upon hanging up, I realized how blessed I was to have a brother. And to know and hear him saying: I love you, brother… It just doesn’t get any better than that.
I love you, brother.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
Yesterday was a very nice day. Dean and I headed out to Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade, one of our favorite spots to go and just spend a few hours of our weekend, enjoy ourselves away from the valley heat and all, yesterday was a very nice hot day and it deserved a stroll down the promenade where vendors, street performers, locals, tourists and homeless all hang out, everybody has an unspoken joy of being there, just being away from home, away from work and the boredom of the week is reason enough to celebrate.
I told Dean how I had envisioned myself being in Santa Monica while I was at work. I was chatting with Elsie when all of a sudden I pictured myself on the beach with my bare feet sinking on wet sand and allowing the cold sea water to cover my feet, my ankles, I literally saw and felt the ocean beneath my feet… While I was in my cubicle in Chatsworth, miles away from the beach. I smiled of joy knowing that I could be there if I wanted too. Picturing myself at the beach brought a peace of mind that I had never experience before, a sense that, no matter how stressed or busy or overwhelmed with work I was, I could always close my eyes, take in the ocean breeze and transport myself there. I needed not to be high on drugs or tripping or in deep sleep to be somewhere far, far away. Everything is abstract. You can be anywhere you want: on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or on a gondola ride in Venice, or admiring the beautiful Holy Family Church in Barcelona, or up on Macchu Picchu admiring an Inca’s summer paradise getaway in Peru… I could be anywhere I wanted to but I chose to be in Santa Monica, just soaking my feet on the cold, Pacific Ocean water. And now I was literally there.
“I’m so happy that I’m finally here” I remember saying to Dean and then I had to explain that I had be looking forward to this moment when we were finally together after a long work week, after struggling with our coworkers and their negativity and the pressure that is work. I look forward to our weekends together, I just feel so good to simply walk up and down Third Street, people watching or getting an iced coffee or walking into the stores… Yesterday there was a guy with a guitar playing at the Santa Monica open mall and we sat to listen to the man give us some acoustic pieces that sounded so nice, I pictured myself watching Jesse Cook, such nice and peaceful music that soothes the mind and the soul, it was just nice to simply sit on the couch nearby and listen to the music, observing a crazy guy doing an interpretation of the music in dance until he was told he couldn’t by a security guard. Everybody was having a great time, well almost everybody (there was an old man next to us on the coach that didn’t seem very happy) other than that it was a perfect moment in time, and I can always put a guitar on my iPhone, close my eyes again and picture myself there… In fact, I’m doing it right now.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor
ME: I just realized EVERYTHING is abstract… Wow, crazy
ELVIRA: It really is, it is just matter of spirit
ME: money, workload, stress, sadness, joy
ELVIRA: yes, all of it
ME: I just think that’s soooo crazy
ELVIRA: we have no control over it
ME: God, spirit, soul, emotions
it’s not visible yet it exists!
ELVIRA: we r just here to enjoy and live life freely and to its fullest
ELVIRA: It’s crazy man
ME: It’s like a journey of the spirit, our bodies just borrowed… time is abstract too
ELVIRA: Journey of mind and spirit
ME: Space and time are abstract, too
ELVIRA: we r all just
ME: Dust in the wind
that’s all we r
and that’s OK.
I’m loving life right now
Like a Led Zeppelin song, Kashmir:
“I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been … They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed”
totally bitchen song
i gotta listen to it now
ME: love is abstract too
ELVIRA: on the highest level
ME: can’t quite prove it
but we know it’s there
all our emotions
everything we feel is abstract
ELVIRA: i think that is how or why i close my eyes when listening to music…i see colors as i hear the music
ELVIRA: it is spirit to me
so i want to see it
ME: I feel the emotions captured in songs
ELVIRA: it is so cool
ME: or melodies
our memories imbedded
I wish I could be at the beach right now
wait a minute I can!!
u r in ur mind
u can hear the waves and smell the salt
ME: I close my eyes and I’m there!
plus added bonus no sand in ur clothes
ME:I like sand!
i tend to think about the sky and vastness as when i am out walking
i can pic it
ME: I have tears of joy right now
feel the sun on my face
and hold my arms open wide and tell the universe i am open to the changes and i am safe
ME: that was beautiful
I could see the water beneath my barefeet
Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars fill my dreams
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
I felt so good
I still feel great
Oh, pilot of the storm that leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Like the dust that lufts high in June, when moving through Kashmir.
I just had too many epiphanies at once
it was unbelievable!!!!
©2014 Victor Sotomayor