The Inner Child

Italo's (Other) Corner

I was at Cariso Park the other day, admiring the new playgrounds, new football field, the new zero landscape gardens and so on while I was listening to Just Because on SoundCloud. Somehow the lyrics of his song, Story of My Life, hit me hard and I began to cry thinking how a young, eighteen year old kid must now face parenthood and must grow up to raise his son who came unexpectedly and untimely.
I began to think about my own childhood and how I had to grow up and be mature due to my parents separating and now my life had changed at age 10, not counting the reality of leaving the “security” of my home and moving around from place to place, never knowing where I would end up next and how long before my mom and I had to move again.
Everything was confusing for me…

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Diary of an Open Mic Whore

Yes, I’m an Open Mic whore. I will admit it. I get high every time that I come out of an open mic, energized and ready to get inspired or inspire someone in the audience. Open Mic is my new obsession, my new drug when I get high just watching great performers, poets or musicians touch me in ways that I would have never imagined.
I found myself in an Open Mic. I was lost, desperate, lonely. I thought that I was all alone in the Universe. I really thought that poetry was dead. I thought that philosophers, writers, artists were extinct and, unless my name was Stephen King or Maya Angelou, there was no writer or poet within a ten mile radius. And I’m glad I was wrong.

If you’d like to know my dirty little secret, here it is: there is probably an open mic going on around you NOW that you didn’t even know about within a 10 mile radius of where you live right now.
Would you like to know another secret? I found an open mic for EVERY single night of the week!!! That’s right!

Open Mic Whore recommends:

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley near City of San Fernando) where there is Open Mic every 2nd, 4th and 5th Friday of each month is hosted by Jeffery Martin while Noches de Canto y Poesía (with Alejandro Molina) is done every first and third Friday as well. This was my first and still favorite open mic of all.

Mental Mondays at House of Brews which has been hosted by yours truly, but is best conducted by Evy Spiritluvchild, happens only once a month though so mark your calendars for the last Monday of every month at the House of Brews in City of San Fernando.

Writer Wednesdays with Jessica Wilson located at the former Bob’s Espresso Bar on Lankershim Blvd at the heart of the NoHo Arts District. Perfect for writers, poets, musicians, stand up comedy and even magic.

Soapbox Sessions over at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Encino hosted by Jason Brain. A little intimidating since it’s outdoors and there’s a lot of action going around the area so I only go there when I feel the force is with me. Every Thursday starting at 7. Check it out!

Tuesday Night Project, currently on hiatus but it’s near Little Tokyo and some of the best performers I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. After Tia Chucha‘s, of course (wink, wink)

Holy Grounds is another cool spot with a very nice patio area (currently being remodeled) and has the Zzyxz Writers open mic there (check out their website for details).

Eastside Café located over in El Sereno happens once a month and is hosted by spiritus and sister poet Iris de Anda, only third Thursday of every month starting at 8ish…

La Palabra Series at Avenue 50 Studio. This one is usually on the last Sunday of the month and hosted by big hooped earring wearing Karinneh Mahdessian. Cool art exhibit plus great features and even time for open mic for y’all. Love the circle of love there and the sound of the train is always cool.

Beyond Baroque in Venice is beyond amazing!!! Also hosted by the Los Angeles Poets Society founder and president (she’s a member, too) Jessica Wilson does this once or twice a month on Sundays. Check their website, too! If you ever feel like an actor on a real theatre stage with stadium seating and cool lighting and awesome people then you MUST check it out!

Corazón del Pueblo. Only been there once and I’m definitely coming back. Wednesday nights.

The Last Bookstore. This is a very, very, very laaarge, humongous, bigger than life open mic. Not sure if that’s your thing but definitely great poetry and talent.

And last, but not least, another secret: there’s so many more open mics, all you gotta do is check out openmikes.org
I could have saved you all that trouble from the beginning, right? Sometimes I can be an Open Mic Whore!!! That’s right, I am a whore!!! Deal with it!!!

©2014 Open Mic Whore

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Why No Se Habla Español?

Hola! Welcome to the No Se Habla Español anthology website created especially with you in mind. How do I begin? I guess I should start with the concept behind No Se Habla Español, that’s a good way to start…
So the idea came about after thinking of writing prompts to help me begin writing up my next piece. I wasn’t sure why I started thinking of the statement: “No se habla Español” and why it resonated with me, I must have read or heard it before and, for some reason, I began writing all these different stories with that prompt in mind. I was quite surprised that several stories and pieces started to develop and pretty soon I had three stories written down while others started to formulate in my head.
Then I thought: why not expand this writing prompt to my literary community of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and beyond? I saw the potential that that prompt can generate, how many stories can be told from a real experience or based on real events. So many people have so many stories to tell.
And so that’s how this collaboration started with the help of activist, poet and writer Michael Ray De Los Angeles as well as poet, writer, theater actor Alejandro Molina in developing an anthology that speaks about our Hispano community, our struggles, our obstacles as well as our triumphs, our successes and our powerful stories of how we overcome this stigma that we are not allowed to express our cultura and native tongue that is so rich and complex, ever growing and ever changing.
Let your voices be heard, loud and clear! Here we are allowed to speak out however we want to, whether it’s English, Spanish or Spanglish… As long as we are heard!
Deadline is December 6th 2014!

For more info and submission please visit: https://aquihablamos.wordpress.com

Born From a Kiss

I was born from a kiss
Soft lips,
Moist,
Lingering lipstick that refused to smear
I was born from a kiss
And I live to smell your sweet perfume
To be your love fool
To be the grass you walk on
To be the ginger in your tea
I was born from a kiss
Effervescent
Passionate
Blue
Wild red
And flawed
And there I shall live

©2014 VS

Santa Cruz el Trabajo

Por la señal de la Santa Cruz, mantén a mis amigos cerca y de nuestros enemigos líbrame, Dios mío Dios…

Santa Teresa, ya me entró una pereza
Santo Toribio, un alivio de este martirio!
Santa Rosa, quien dijo que la vida sería color rosa?
San Marcos, librame de tantos recados
Santa Marta, este trabajo me mata!
San Juan, hasta cuando tanto afán?
Santa Inés, esta rutina no tiene sentido, ni al derecho ni al reves
San José, estos sueños a la cama llevaré

En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espiritu Santo. Amén.

©2014 VS!

Fingers on Ice

Fingers on ice
my heart turns to stone
Ages ago
I swam in this lake
now covered by the ice
Along with memories
My childhood
Lies under a thick sheet of ice…
These fingers on ice
Pretty soon
Fuse with the ice
As I await for the wolves
I can hear them howling
They’re not very far…

The Inner Child

I was at Cariso Park the other day, admiring the new playgrounds, new football field, the new zero landscape gardens and so on while I was listening to Just Because on SoundCloud. Somehow the lyrics of his song, Story of My Life, hit me hard and I began to cry thinking how a young, eighteen year old kid must now face parenthood and must grow up to raise his son who came unexpectedly and untimely.
I began to think about my own childhood and how I had to grow up and be mature due to my parents separating and now my life had changed at age 10, not counting the reality of leaving the “security” of my home and moving around from place to place, never knowing where I would end up next and how long before my mom and I had to move again.
Everything was confusing for me as a kid. I remember thinking that everything was somehow fixable, thinking that things might go back to normal but they never did. I felt hopeless at times, thinking how can I fix my life, as if it was up to me.
I always needed to hide from my dad since mom didn’t want anyone to know where we now lived and my cousins kept harassing me trying to find out where we were now living. It was a very confusing time for me, I felt as if I had to lie to everyone and I did. Somehow this child learned how to deceive people, how to cheat, how to lie. This child was no longer a child but a lying adult.
Now I was back at the present time at this park, contemplating how my childhood went so quickly, I miss playing games in the park, I miss letting go and worry about nothing as I once did, I miss feeling security (I don’t recall when I did). I miss my childhood.
As I walked through the maze of the garden, through the newest playground full with slides, ramps, cubes I found my inner child. I found that five year old that was hidden there within myself. I felt him smiling at the different cool stationary toys that he could be playing with, I felt him coming out and his eyes widened when I allowed him to play, I allowed him to slide down, climb back up, skip along the ramps, get lost in the maze, sit and play with colorful cubes… I found myself sitting side by side with my inner child, telling him that we can stay and play a little longer, telling him how much I loved him, telling him that he was always welcome to come out and play. It was safe to come out and play, nobody would harm him, I had his back.
For about ten minutes the inner child had his play time until he vanished into thin air, until he was satisfied and filled with happiness. I had filled that void that was always there, I had fulfilled a long lost dream of one day being that innocent kid again, being that pure kid that I once knew, being that honest and vulnerable again. It may be a while before I see my five year old again but I will be ready when he comes out to play.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor