What’s Going on Around Here?

The day after Super Tuesday plenty of people are talking but no one actually knows anything definitive about much of anything, and to be honest I wasn’t clear, going into Super Tuesday about the hard facts behind the issues I was supposed to be voting on. That sentence was really long, almost as long as the tales politicians tell when they cast their hooks and wait for unsuspecting fish to get hooked on their bait.

Here in downtown Vallejo as I survey the scene from HQ (my office window, where I see feet and car tires go by at the level of the street) and surmise that none of the hoopla has changed anything around here today, I am more concerned with beating the drum, sending smoke signals, giving life to words that create change beyond the mundane.

Here’s how we do it: We decide to get together and then we do. We have a mission for our getting together and we accomplish it. We leave with something we could not have found without creating it ourselves. Here at Listen & Be Heard we get together to listen and be heard every Friday night. All kinds of feet pass by my office window on their way to be welcomed inside the cafe. Big feet, small feet, pretty feet, ugly feet, we don’t really care, (as long as they’re not smelly feet.) 🙂

Gail MitchellSome people come to be heard, and sign the list as soon as they arrive to be sure that they will get their five minutes to be spotlighted in the second round. Other people come just to listen. This Friday they will get a special treat. In addition to the very live set at the beginning of the night with CarlTrent on percussion and Paul Neal on upright bass, we will be featuring Gail Mitchell for the first time.

Black History Night at Listen & Be Heard Poetry CafeComing up on February 29 we’ll have an extra-special program with comedian Dairius James our co-host with Tony of Sh*t Talking Tuesdays giving a comic perspective on Black History, and The Talons calling up the spirit of the African Drum all the way through to the last minute of Black History month at midnight.
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Our mission is to listen and be heard. Maybe that is deceptively simple. A television commercial lasts about thirty seconds, whether you’re buying votes to get to the white house, or selling chips soaked in hydrogenated oil. Now that’s really deceptively simple, designed to pull in the fishing line as efficiently as possible. We gather together in real space and real time to go through a process that can not be simply defined. The language of poetry reaches beyond definitions where it resides in your soul, my soul, his soul, her soul. When we speak soul language, one to another, each to the other, then we leave with something undefinable, that we can use to grow and build on what we have within us to do. What we have within us can not be changed by any politician or bottle of snake oil.

So I ask myself ‘what have I got going on around here?’ and the answer is ‘all of the above and more.’ There’s the Saturday morning jam session with Dave Tilton and Dennis Ocampo, a Women’s History night in March and of course our 6th Annual Poetry Marathon coming up on April 26. The first step to getting things going is to follow your attractions and get involved. Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe is a place designed for you to listen and be heard, create and re-create, the dress code is to bring your Soul with you. See you when you get here.


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