tomorrows acentos show will be the last one i will regularly host and my final bow as curator. let it be stated very clearly– this is all amicable. in fact, i hate using the word amicable. it is what is– its time for me to move on.
also for the record, this process actually started almost a year ago. right after the acentos 2nd anniversary jam, a hectic night where i tried going in a different direction and almost drove myself crazy doing it. in the end, the night was a success, everybody had a good time and we all were looking forward to version 3.0 but i was imagining an acentos without me around.
for the last three years i have been draconian with my vision regarding the series. through many debates i stayed true to that vision and made it come to pass but it wasnt all chocolate & marzipan.* along the way i have made a ton of mistakes and a (well earned) reputation as a poetic snob. this rep has resulted in one full fledged enemy and one artist who i would never endorse under any circumstances. all in all, not a bad record.
back to an oscar-less acentos, i was starting to ponder a vision other than mine at the helm, which new voices would come through, what would the new aesthetic be and you know what– i had no clue. a thought that really excited me, that and the idea that acentos was not just a poetry reading but an actual movement. a movement that viewed the nuyoricans as predecessors but not so entrenched in their history as to repeat their mistakes which was not leaving a real legacy. the cafe is not the mecca of latino poetry and there are very few poets from that era that put themselves out as mentors. instead they just throw the title of “new nuyorican poet” to anyone who will kowtow to their past accomplishments. all this led to a dearth of latino poetry when i got into the scene in 2001 and led to my formation of acentos.
after running through it in my own head for a minute, i reached out to a few friends both in and out of the poetry world and told them about my desire to step aside. of course they were wondering if i was burnt out or pissed or something dramatic but when i explained to them that it was none of the above, that i felt it was best to step away and refresh myself rather than get stuck in a groove, they began to understand. more than anything, i was running these ideas by them because i needed other ways to look at this decision and more and more i was liking it.
it all came to a head when we came back from the national poetry slam and had a kick ass show with minimal turnout. the night was a recipe for disaster but ended with me feeling really good about everything in my life. with the four of us casually hanging around a table, i decided to let jess, rich & fish know that come the end of the year i was done with hosting & curating. some good dialogue followed and they convinced me to stay till the anniversary show which was fine with me.
a common question was “so whats next?” at the time i didnt have an answer. all i knew was that the time felt right to make a change for both acentos and me. three days after telling the acentos crew my decision, barb came to the cornelia street feature and the rest is history.
tomorrow is going to be my last time announcing the open mic. a mic which has brought some wonderful poetry and amazing friends into my life and thats what im gonna miss most, the excitement in seeing a new name on that list and getting ready to listen for something in the work. its not always a full blown poem, sometimes its just a single line or sometimes its just the desire to find a good line but every once in a while there will be something good to listen to and ima miss that. ima miss being a jackass on stage. ima miss cursin up a storm. ima miss quoting epic movie lines. ima miss sayin dumb shit in an effort to keep the night hoppin. ima miss subtelty dissing some trite, insipid, overwrought verse. ima miss makin a private joke with someone in the back and then repeating it in front of everyone. ima miss the blue ox/the bruckner pool room/the bruckner theater. ima miss acentos. and i hope that all of you who have supported it these last three years keep coming through and making it an event so that i can get the occasional email or read through the acentos announcements (plug it babee!) and say… “damn, im sorry i missed that”
In the world I left behind
Wipe their eyes, and then let go
To the world I left behind
Shed a tear, and then let go
– U2’s “A Day Without Me“