The Ringmaster

Ladies and gentlemen,
Children of all ages,
Welcome
to the circus!
Step inside and behold
The freakiest spectacle of all!

I am the ringmaster
and I am in charge of this traveling circus,
I will send them inside the tarp
in sequence:
contortionists,
sword swallowers,
flame throwers
and you must not miss the monkeys
in their matching uniforms
riding on galloping horses.

High on the trapeze
At the highest point
under the giant tent
acrobats walk,
they even somersault!
Meanwhile seven stories below
the gasping audience
dare not whisper
dare not talk…

“Higher, higher
Lift them higher
than ever before!”

The acrobats
defy death at every turn,
no safety net to catch their fall.

Lions, tigers, bears, oh my!
Shake, rattle and roll
inside their cages the beasts await,
longing to be freed,
Oooooh my!
This ringmaster, once a buffoon,
Is now the cruelest of tyrants.
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
I hold the keys to their cages,
as they observe and do nothing…
More like cowardly lions,
submissive tigers
and fat ass bears, oh my!

I have a traveling circus
that follows me on my quest.
I am the ringmaster
and decide what act goes next,

“Send in the daredevils
take away their nets!”

The clown, the clown!
Everyone loves a clown
even when he owns a frown,
Sadness behind his make up…
Keep that smile on, stupid clown,
despite your ups and downs!

Get on that tricycle and smile,
honk that horn, ride a mile
make them laugh so hard
that they’ll cough a bile;
make them forget their worries
if only for a while.

I am the ringmaster.
I own a traveling circus.
Bring them out
and let the audience
go delirious!

Calling on the freaks,
tattooed man,
bearded chicks,
strongest man,
howling beasts…
Circus of a thousand thrills.

The lights now fade and go dark
and the marching band, the Seahawks
silence their clarinets and trombones
Their banjos and their saxophones…
Another crowd
awaits in another town.
Never twice in the same place,
this traveling circus
keeps on moving ’round,
Like a carousel
circles ’round, ’round and ’round…

The ringmaster decides
if the circus is a success,
when it becomes a pest,
When the timing perfectly goes,
or it plays far too long,
if the curtain comes down to a close…
or whether the show must go on!

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS

Ah, Las Vegas, Las Vegas,
city that never sleeps…
Neither can I…

Oasis in the middle of the desert,
Skyscrapers and European landmarks,
Beautiful green
and lush gardens inside casinos.

Bells ringing everywhere
No wonder nobody ever sleeps!

Ah, Las Vegas, Las Vegas
City that never sleeps
It’s calling my name,
begging me spare a quarter,
more like a quarter of my salary.

Ah, Las Vegas, Las Vegas
City that never sleeps,
Oasis that feeds on lust and greed, flashing me with neon lights, volcanoes, showgirls and acrobats.

Call girls and bums at every corner, hide them up behind a curtain.
Fill my eyes with luxurious palaces, extravagant fountains, white tigers and tiger sharks, excitement all around.

Las Vegas Strip is where is at,
don’t look elsewhere
or you’ll be disenchanted.
Ah, Las Vegas, Las Vegas
City that never sleeps,
It’s alright, cover my eyes and blindfold me. I will allow you to.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Little Brother

Hi, there! This is awkward. I never had to write you a letter and now that I am I don’t know what I should say to you. First of all, what’s your name? I always wanted to have a brother but never thought about naming you. Peter? Jerry? Italo? If I were you, I’d go with Italo, it means Italian like your mother’s mom who came fro Geneva. That’s an awesome name. So that’s gonna be your name from now on, okay Italo?
I wonder how old you’d be today. My mom said that she never quite thought about having another kid after me until I was five years old so… That means you would have been 35… Hmmm, I wonder if you would have had kids by now. I wonder if you’d still be alive. I wonder many things if you’d been born but you weren’t so I can suppose many things.
I suppose you would have been a brother instead of a sister. I always wanted a little brother, someone I could play with, someone I could share my toys with, someone I could talk to at night when things became too unbearable at home. I wished you had been there but then I don’t. You would have been traumatized by the whole thing, you would have needed therapy, God knows I did! Then again I would have been there for you, I would have consoled you, I would have told you that it was going to be okay…
Where did our toys go? Where is father? Why are people looking for father in the middle of the night? Who’s he running from? Why is Dad so mad at Mom? Why is mom crying? Why are we hiding? Brother, why are you crying?
I would have to protect you from dad. Then again you might have been born with some kind of defect, who knows what my father was putting into his body at that time. Right after his time in prison, he’d become a different person. He was never home and the few times that he was there we had to hide the pots and pans from him because he wanted to sell them off for drugs.
You would have hated him for taking away your bike or your radio or your roller skates never to be seen again. You’d have known to stay away from him when he came back after his getaways. He was a stranger to me, a pest, a despicable parent whose sole purpose in life was to get high at all costs.
I wonder if he would have loved you as much as he loved me. I was the first son, his pride and joy. His male son. Not a faggot. His son was to be the best man that he never was. I was to get married and have his grandchildren. I was his pride and joy up until I was old enough to not be afraid of him anymore, I was old enough to tell him that he would never be a grandfather. I was old enough to let him know about my boyfriend. There isn’t enough words to describe his expression when I told him about my sexual orientation. It was as if he had lost his only son. I wasn’t going to carry the family name so I wasn’t the son he thought he would have had. He had made fun of gay people all of his life and now I was his punishment. I was a lesson that he had to learn.
So if you had given him grandchildren, if you had followed his code of conduct and get married with kids then you would have become his favorite. No doubt about it. He would have been all over those grandchildren. He is a fun father after all. He loves the beach, in fact he still does. He might have taught your children to swim, he might have taught them to fish, scuba dive, run marathons, surf, soccer… Everything he couldn’t teach me he would have taught your children. That might have made him happier than his gay son. Perhaps…
You would have loved mom. She’s the sweetest person you’d ever meet and she would have protected you from dad. She’s a warrior. She is not perfect but she is the perfect mother. She worked all her life to make sure we had a roof over our heads. Whether we lived in a nice apartment, or a castle, or a garage she always made sure we had food to eat, books to read, clothes to wear. She would have loved you just like she loved me. And you would have been her second chance at happiness. I became sensitive like her, she affected me in a way that she would not have affected you. She wouldn’t have given you the responsibilities that he gave me. She wouldn’t have trusted you to be the man of the house at 12 years old. She wouldn’t have put you through the lies and deceits that I had to create in order to defend her honor. She wouldn’t have loved you as much as she loved me. Then again, we’d never know, would we?
I wonder what you’d look like? Would you have followed my father’s charming looks? Or would you have inherited my mom’s skin color and blond hair? Would you have looked like me? I would imagine that you’d like the same music as I do, right? The Beatles? The Cure? Tears For Fears? Or would you have been like my cousins and like Iron Maiden, or Metallica, or Linkin Park? Or Guns n Roses? I would have appreciated them more if you did. What would you be? A politician? A pilot like our grandfather? A cable operator like me? A bum?

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Rebel With a Cause

A revolutionary. A visionary. A rebel with a cause. He was a poet, a deep thinker and a storyteller. One look into his eyes and you could see the Universe, the stars in His pupils.

He was ahead of his time. Misunderstood by many, hated by Pharisees, priests and “wise” men. Questioned by the Kings, looked upon for being different, extravagant, charismatic and enigmatic. He spoke the Truth, and the Truth was very hard for them to swallow. He was all alone in a time of confusion and uncertainty. Much like today.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Heaven Is For Real

Humankind has changed for the better. At least that’s what we think, right? During the last hundred years, humans have given an extreme leap in technology, transportation, communication, science but have lost touch with its spirituality, its core essence, its reason for existence. You and I are both guilty of this. We always say that we believe in Jesus, or the Bible, or God and his Holy Ghost but… Do we really?

Yesterday I watched a movie called Heaven is For Real. Just the title alone sounds preachy and religious but I decided to give it a try. It stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly as the Burpos. They are the epiphany of a perfect marriage: Todd Burpo (Kinnear) is a firefighter, has a business delivering and installing carpet, he’s the local coach, a pastor of his Christian church, a model husband AND a perfect father to Cassie and four year old Colton (Connor Corum). He’s also a very handsome man, a charismatic leader of his community in Nebraska and someone who everyone looks up to. A man of faith, conviction and moral values. A little bit too perfect, if you ask me…

We see a glimpse of the Burpos’ financial struggle and what they need to do in order to survive. Todd is very optimistic and positive. Sonja is more realistic and has her feet on the ground. She wants to help her husband every way she can as a housewife and a homemaker but realizes that her husband wants to carry the weight of the world over his shoulders and doesn’t want her to work, he thinks he can manage on his own.

Colton is the sweetest boy you’d ever meet: big blue eyes, golden blond hair and a smile that would melt your heart. He loves his parents, his big sister and he’s such a lovable kid that my paternal instinct started kicking in. As the story goes, the kids get sick after a road trip that they made to Colorado Springs. Everybody makes it out OK except for Colton whose health deteriorates to the point when his fever is above normal and doesn’t seem to get better.

While he’s on the emergency room and his parents are left in the waiting room, his father retreats to a chapel in the hospital while his wife calls her church friends and asks them to pray for her son’s well-being. I don’t know why but upon seeing the actors praying, the families, the teachers and students, the firefighters, the whole community gathering to pray was very touching. I pictured myself praying for Colton’s health, holding hands with strangers and praying that this four year old angel would make it out alive. Luckily, our prayers are answered and Colton makes it out just fine after he had an emergency surgery on his appendix.

Everything goes back to normal. Todd begins working and preaching on Sundays. Colton’s health is seen as a miracle of prayer and the whole community feels responsible to this miracle recovery. The only difference now is that Colton claims that he was in Heaven and that he saw angels and Jesus himself. His father dismisses this as something a four year old would say just to make his pastor father happy. That’s until he begins revealing how he knows certain things about his parents that he could possibly not know about: the fact that Todd was praying, quite angrily I might add, for his son’s health while his mother waited in the waiting room of the hospital and made phone calls to have churchgoers pray for his health.
Later other facts are revealed that confirm that Colton is not making this up, he describes people and events that took place long time before he was born, the fact that he spoke to his deceased grandfather and unborn sister. Up until then Colton had me believe that he was telling the truth and nothing but the truth. That’s until he mentioned Jesus coming down to him in a white rope from behind the white clouds. I just have a problem believing that. And trust me the whole community has a hard time believing this as well, including his parents. What is a man of faith left to believe when his own son claims that he’s seen Jesus. I guess it’s sort of having crazy people talk about Napoleon. It’s crazy talk, right?
Well, it turns out that there is a whole movement of children that have had similar visions with the man himself and have claimed to have witnessed he man in the rope himself, holding their hands and speaking softly to them. As I remember correctly, Jesus was a big fan of children and says “Let the children come to me” so it makes perfect sense that he talks to them. Besides their hearts and minds are more open to the extraordinary than adults so I can see why he picked Colton. The more tormented one here is Todd who doesn’t know how to quite handle the situation and gets fire from his wife, his friends, the church committee and practically everyone. As if seeing Heaven and Jesus is such a crime.
Kind of ironic how church people can be so blinded by their egos that they cannot accept that miracles do happen everyday, that God works in mysterious ways and shows His face unexpectedly to those that are willing to open their eyes and see. Frankly, I have my doubts about the whole thing: why couldn’t Colton have seen Buddha, or Mohammed instead of Jesus? What was his message? Jesus owns a technicolor unicorn in heaven? Isn’t that a little bit of a stretch? And then I realize: wait a minute! Didn’t I believe in Jesus at some point in my life? Didn’t I believe in the power of prayer? Didn’t I know that there is a spirit inside our shells? All we are is shells, vessels and our spirits live on.
Besides I strongly believe that our lives are abstract and that our spirits can travel freely out of our body without having died physically. The spirit knows no notion of time and space, it can spend an eternity in a few seconds and that’s why Colton, without leaving his body, experiences all these different things while he’s apparently sleeping. If someone works hard at it and meditate, it’s quite possible to leave your body temporarily and roam to a different time and space without actually dying.
In conclusion, Heaven is for Real has a beautiful message that we should stop and smell the flowers once in a while and stop living life with blinders around our eyes, blocking out the side view and missing many chances of seeing how blessed we are, how beautiful life is, how everybody and everything is full of love, we are all connected by an invisible field of energy, field of light that can only be felt when we become spiritual, when we know ourselves and how our souls inhabit these vessels temporarily until we have no use for the vessels and we must move on. The planet is full of cosmic, positive energy that we can call upon ourselves. It’s our birthright. Heaven on Earth is attainable and very real.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Guess What Today Is…

It’s past 2 in the morning and I haven’t even bat a lash since yesterday so I have decided to declare it: my unofficial ferris Bueller’s Day Off #3. I’ll make up a lie to tell the boss, it’s not like she cares anyway, she won’t even care. And, well, I don’t care if she cares either!
Here’s my plan for the day: starting with a vigorating walk up around Griffith Park Observatory where I can catch an awesome and yes, bitchen view of my city, this beautiful city of Angels!
Then, if weather permits, I will take a notepad out and begin writing like there’s no tomorrow… Wait, it is tomorrow! Hahahaha this is gonna be a fun day already.
After that it’s open to whoever hits me up first and seeing that it’s a week day there may not be that many options. Hmmmm, I may go see my dad, I haven’t seen him in a while, yeah I may just do that. But first time for moi, I love me some “me” time once in a while cuz I fucking deserve it, that’s why!
Feeling as I am right at this moment and seeing that I’m hosting open mic tonight I really need to be in a great mood. Listening to Lorde, Jem, Lana del Rey and whoever I’m starting to listening to lately, maybe I can take my girl (that would be my Chocolate Mini) for a fun joyride along Mulholland drive, anywhere my heart desires. Stop for a car wash, read those magazines I’ve been putting off for like forever. I never have time to read a friggin magazine? This is absurd, I need time for myself, some needed “me” time is overdue…

Some hours later…

Well, the day went like this: it’s now been more than 48 hours since I started jotting down what my plans were for the day but, as luck would have it, it was drizzling in the morning and so that ruined my plans to go to Griffith Park (which I got to do today anyhow) and decided to have some alone time at the Americana. Before that I met Elvira for a quick breakfast at Norms which was great, we needed a Soul Sister 2 Sister real talk that we haven’t had in a while and then after that my Ferris Bueller’s Day Off really kicked off.
My energy level was still pretty high and I was very talkative so I decided that I would use my cell phone minutes up, I got so many rolled over minutes that I could be talking 24/7 for days… Well, maybe not but you catch my drift. I called my boyfriend before Barnes & Noble or any of the stores opened. There’s this peaceful moment when everything is still closed, people are still not getting to work just yet, gardeners and other people that are sweeping, watering the beautiful gardens, getting ready for their day.
Some days are easier than others and I have noticed that I get really excited and euphoric during the morning hours and so I thrive on that positive energy and try to carry that all throughout the day. It’s not easy though and I am aware of what triggers the negativity: coworkers, rude drivers, even my mom or grandma can be really negative and set me in a bad mood. Sometimes it’s myself that puts me down. God knows I’m my worst critic.
However when I feel euphoria like that morning when nothing can bring me down, when I feel as if I’m on top of the world then I feel entitled to having my little getaway from the routine, my very own holiday of sorts and I am do blessed that I can actually call out via text and not get scrutinized for what I’ve done, although I do space out these occurrences to avoid looking suspicious or abusive of the system. However, my company gives me a certain amount of sick time and I never bank it, I know I’m supposed to use them in case of an emergency but when it’s over 300+ hours of sick time I wonder if I’ll ever get to use them at all.
Back to that morning, I decided to leave the Americana after seeing how crowded it was getting and I decided to go to Forest Lawn cemetery. Now before you call me crazy you must know that I never see this as a creepy cemetery but more of a memorial park where bodies happen to be buried under the soil. I’m not quite afraid of the dead, I am terrified for the living if you ask me. The day had already cleared by then and the sun started to sneak out from behind the wet clouds and it was a beautiful view from the hills. I laid on the grass, on top of a grave under the shade of a pine tree and decided to take a nap. No luck, I was still very euphoric and had no desire to sleep quite yet.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

Follow Your Dreams

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything personal until today. Every time that I want to write about a good movie or show or whatever I don’t hesitate one bit in writing about it, I even think about my blog while watching the show, waiting to have the words and paragraphs come to me when I turn my computer on either that night although mostly I prefer to wait a couple of days later when the movie’s subject has finally settled in my head and I can think clearly of what I liked or disliked about it.

When it comes to writing a personal entry in my blog I always turn to Sam’s blog, a person who knows how to address a certain issue, personal struggle or her love life in a personal level that makes it interesting and impossible to skip, almost addicting. That’s just one quality that I don’t possess but I really try once in a while to come clean about certain issues or ideas. Maybe it’s paranoia but I feel as if by telling it all I become a little vulnerable and prone to being hurt but when I recall how good it makes me feel after hitting that PUBLISH button and I long for those moments when my heart and mind take over and I let my hands be their instrument. Sometimes I don’t even notice how much I carry inside and blogging certainly opens a new area in my brain that I never thought I would be able to exploit again.

I recall back in high school that I always had my dream of becoming a novelist. I even started writing all different kind of short stories in Spanish, stories that I’d share with some friends and classmates, even teachers who always told me that I should pursue my dream. My biggest wish was to one day publish my own book, having my name printed on a hardcover novel, it was an impossible dream but I’d spend hours of my day daydreaming what it would be like to write and entertain people by pouring in my all in these stories together and see them materialized in print.

One of my first items that I wanted to purchase was a typewriter. No, it wasn’t a PSP or a flat screen TV or a car, I just longed for a typewriter, that’s all I wanted. I know it sounds weird but it was something that I kept thinking about owning until I finally did, only when I did my life in the States had just begun and a million things were going through my head at the time. There was something else more important to do, more things for me to figure out than simply writing. It just seemed like a waste of time, something unimportant, something that could take second place to anything I was doing at the time. I did the college thing, I did the job thing, I did the purchasing of a home, getting into several relationships and trying to find my ground, sometimes disappearing in the shadow of my partners and going with whatever it was they needed me to do. Basically I lost myself and I was nowhere to be found. How boring would have been to write anything when I had a million and one things stuck in my head, half of them unfinished and never fully accomplished.

Somebody taught me how to love myself and how to respect myself and, although it took me quite a while to learn this, how to start writing again. Not only to write about anything specific but something that would soothe my mind and put together many loose thoughts that I never got to say, I never got to express my feelings about my daily life and how much I longed to say this or that but never found a channel to express it. So I started my blog thanks to her and I never stopped ever since. I’d like to thank Sam for opening this wonderful side of me I thought I never would recover and to Dean for supporting me in every way possible by reading my blog and giving me his feedback. I was finally able to express my emotions, my joys, my disappointment and frustrations along with my dreams and aspirations. It opened a door that was once opened but I had shut close along with a side of me that enjoyed to write just for the fun of it, to entertain, to create, to inspire anything at all. It kind of became an obsession and I finally felt as if I’d found my long lost ability to reach people in a way I hadn’t done before, to touch people in ways I could never do with spoken words. I realized that this is my destiny, this is what I always wanted to do.

Now that 2011 is almost over and people start asking me about New Year’s resolutions and everyone speaks about losing weight, start working out, or give up smoking (all of which I plan to accomplish, too, except for smoking) yet all I can think about is that I must go back to writing, not only as an outlet to critique movies, plays, TV or entertainment in general but I also like to explore different stories that have been lingering in my head over the years, stories that I wanted to materialize but never gave them a chance to. Suddenly it became clear to me: this is what I really wanted to do all my life. If I didn’t tell these stories then who would? Nobody will get into my head and steal these stories and write them for me and, who knows? Maybe I got something going on that may be interesting and may suddenly become a New York Best-seller… or not, but I would never know this unless I tried, right?

So my New Year resolution is here, clear as day: Follow your dreams. Somebody somewhere once wrote: “You must do what you love to do and everything else will fall into place, if you write from your own heart and soul you cannot go wrong” (or was this me talking to myself there?). Anyway, what can I possibly lose if I didn’t at least try?

©2011 Victor Sotomayor

Posted 29th December 2011 on my blog: http://italosmoviecorner.blogspot.com/2011/12/follow-your-dreams.html

The Day After

I’ve decided to follow my gut. I decided that nobody should push me to do things that I don’t want to do and make me feel inferior than they are. I always fall for that trick, I get vulnerable and give in to whatever other people think that I should or should not do. I need to start believing in my own strength, start believing my own worth. Thank you, God, for giving me the right people to lean onto, for giving me a support group and the courage to ask for help when needed. God knows I needed it yesterday to fend off those demons.

Devil on my Shoulder

Devil on my shoulder
Telling me I should jump off a cliff
Jump, she says, jump!
You can fly, she says
Jump! Jump! Jump!”

Doubting myself again
Not sure which way I should go,
Should I listen to the devil on my shoulder?
She making a lot of sense and turning me over.

Then the angel on the other shoulder whispers, softly:
“Be cautious
Don’t listen to her
She’s a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing
Can’t believe a word coming out of her mouth
Listen to that voice inside of you
Take your time and decide for YOURSELF

“Jump! Jump! Jump!”
I still hear the Devil say
yelling stronger and stronger
by every ticking hour
Her head spinning faster.

“Listen to your inner voice
Believe in yourself
Make a sensible decision
Be cautious…” said the Angel voice of reasoning.

“Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!”
The Devil’s yell becomes a whisper,
I cannot let her control me. I don’t want to jump.

“Silence! Silence I said!
I will make my own decisions
and I will not jump till I’m ready.”

I turn around and she’s not there anymore. My frown disappears and I regain my pulse. The storm vanishes behind the hills.

If I could just silence the echoes left by the Devil’s chant, it’s like she’s playing with the drums in my inner ear, she’s gaining momentum to attack once more. Hear that? Can you hear her saying: “Jump, Jump, Jump…”?

©2014 Victor Sotomayor