“I’m that cat by the bar toasting to the good life”

Monday– After a week off it was good to see 13 fill up quick and

early. Mondays are all about momentum and even the one week lay off could

severely fuck with attendance. My internet usage is down and that meant

that I couldn’t get the loudNOTES out as fast as aI wanted too and I

was afraid that might fuck things up as well. Good Open Mic with a ton

of new voices. Bonafide had a really tight and well thought set which

only means good things for his feature this Tuesday at Acentos.

The 1-2-3 Slam was aight with most people trying to cram a two minute

poem into a minute (a mistake I did last year) and time penalties

galore. The best part of the whole thing was seeing Jai & Rich Villar

getting a chance to shine. Jai has been a rising star for the last few

months at 13 and with his musical and singing talents coming out at the

recent synonymUS jams, Rich came in second in his very first Slam at 13, a

feat that took me almost 18 months to achieve, and he had quite a few

folks pulling for him to pull out the victory. Best part is that Rich

is really happy with his finish and will probably use it as a great

stepping stone once the Slam season officially kicks in.

Tuesday– My muthafuckin’ brithday! A day I generally let go by

without great fanfare though last year I made a bit of a production about it

and invited everyone to come to 13 for the 1-2-3 Slam, my how the

coincidences line up. Everybody that showed up had a good time and it was

cool introducing my new louder friends to the rest of my homies. Made

it to the second round of that Slam which marked the first time I ever

survived a first round in any Slam but then e(g) asked me to be the

in-between poet for the next round and that marked the first time I ever

felt any extra special love from the louder crew. Back to this year,

after a lazy day off I went with Fish to check out the Open House for the

new Bronx Academy of Letters. Then proceeded to get into a

disagreement with Fish over my lack of speaking time. Fish is hysterical in that

whatever goes wrong is never a big deal, that’s great when things are

small annoyance but frustrating when they are persistent lapses in

judgment. Of course, I think everything is a big deal so we can see mucho

clash developing.

After that we check out DEMOcrazzzy, a VIA production that includes

Lynne & Rog. The show was pretty dope and a great blueprint for what

synonymUS could be one day. I was taking notes like a muthafucka (a habit

I’ve picked up from Lynne & Marty) A good number of NYC poets sent me

some good wishes and a bunch showed up at DEMO couple that with a

cupcake & candle (courtesy of Maria) and mah friends and the VIA folks

singing me ‘Happy Birthday’ and I was one happy mofo.

Wednesday– Unable to secure a new space in time led to the

cancellation of synonymUS’ June show. A real let down but at least it let some

of the crew head to the Blue Ox for Ray’s feature with the BCA. John

Rodriguez was the other featured poet and his set was damn good. Then

the louderCREW was on… Elana doing ‘My Lover’ to CD perfection, GK

with ‘Burst’, Marty reprising ‘Homeland’ (Elana on backup) and then I hit

‘Mery on the Battelfield’ complete with Ray on the 505. The place

freaked the fuck out for all our shit and ‘MotB’ had the crowd already to

start dancing as Ray dropped his set. When he first showed me his list

of poems I was sure it was way too many but Ray went with his instincts

and was right.

Leslie of BCA was extremely happy and plans on continuing the shows

even without funding through the summer. The biggest thing was watching

the louder folks in the corner as Ray’s set was going on. Everybody was

just so damn supportive and it made me real happy to be a part of the

crew and knowing that I have that kinda support as well.

Thursday– Fish says ‘We’re hanging out… just me & you… no

poetry… no distractions’ That shoulda been my first clue in that there are no

more conversations without poetry anymore but I didn’t. He picks me up

after work and as we head towards the Triborough I guess that we are

hitting Salinas, home of the ‘Ceviche’ poem. Hittin the on-ramp to the

BQE I start thinking that this would be a great chance for a surprise

party with all the peeps there but I don’t say anything. We pull up and

there is Guy’s car and I know I’m right as five seconds later…

“Surprise!” Salinas has never been as full as that night with Guy, Salome,

India, Isaac, e(g), Cheryl Boyce, Youlanda, Rich, Maria, Jayme, D-Roy,

Elana, Marty, Seve, Rog, GK, Mara, Lynne, Bonafide, Helen, Ed, Jeannie,

Rachelle, Taylor, Dawn and my Vision crew of Jay, Keith, Miguel and his

new bride Angela all at a big ass table that I have to bust out the

cell for to call Fish. There was ceviche, churasco, Tropical, Manzana,

Inca, platanos, menestra y pescado all over the place and then Eric shows

up. Man, I almost cried right there. A poem by Ray and Gk helped

liven up the event and then the most amazing cake ever (dos besos Maria)

appeared complete with some of my poems written on it!

I have been on a Star Trek type mood with only even number years being

good birthdays and the odd number ones being kinda flat. This year

looked to follow the same pattern but that shit went out the window with

this jam. Maria tells me that at one point she looked around the table

and said ‘Damn, there is so much talent here. It’s just amazing…’ I

agreed, of course ‘… and all here for you.’

I am officially the luckiest leafblower on the planet.

Friday– Back to Rikers but this time with the louder crew. I know, it

seems I cant do shit without them. After losing Ray in Queensboro

Plaza (long story) it boils down to me, Fish, GK, Helen, Lynne, Ed and

Bonafide giving the guys a special showcase. We gave them a great show and

they left there utterly fascinated with the diversity of all our work

and style of performance and also with the ‘perfect poem’ myth

shattered. Poetry is what you make it was the morale of the story and they

fully accepted that lesson. Throw in the two chapbooks that each guy got

and the free books we gave a C.O. who also expressed a ton of interest

and it was mission accomplished for the louderARTS. “We saved some

lives today,” is what I tell Rog later and it’s true… as corny as it

sounds, it’s true. If we pointed just one of them towards writing then we

did a ton of good and that’s what its all about.

A great convo with Bonafide followed as we basically had the louderEDGE

interview he was looking forward to having Monday as we discussed his

work and motivations. I was comfortable enough to share with him what

I did NOT like about his poems and some of my trepidation as a writer

who is much younger in literary experience. The resulting answers and

introspection got us to agree to do it Tuesday for Acentos, which is

really the crowd that should be hearing how a 25 year old Boricua from the

Bronx gets his own book and lands spots on two national slam teams.

What a fuckin week! Mind you, I aint tellin ya about last week’s

synonymUS jam with Mara, Elana, Jai, Ray, Bonafide, Michele, Pete, Matt,

Youlanda & Seve or this week’s jam wich had Lynne rockin out to the


Love ya like I baked ya mahself with fresh raspberries, canoli cream,

yellow sponge, homemade buttercream and a marzipan pen on top!

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.