1050 Rock Springs East, Apartment 119

Poetry, Thoughts on Living

El paletero with his ring-ring
his arrival, getting notice
from dirt kids outside
waiting to get sandy
hands on a Bolis.

Sitting in a 4ft by 8ft porch,
bad kids with good lives
holla, “Yo, pass the dutch”
checkin’ out shorties, asking,
“Can I get your number?
What’s your frequency?
and (quoting Andre 3000)
can I cum there frequently?”

The neighbor’s porch, a few people
remember motherlands smiling
with their eyes. Things seem better
now with one hand holding Tecate
the other holding humble hopes
and a Better Homes magazine.

Strictly for the pictures…

Ideas for a clients backyard, you know?

A window few doors down
speaks in the language of 45s
and LPs of Pérez Prado, Sonora Dinamita,
Pedro Infante and Cuco Sánchez.

Across the terrace, where kids play
on rusted swings and decorative boulders,
a couple fights
about who takes out the trash more.
¿El viejo, o la vieja?

From a door down the way,
Marco Antonio Solís sings
about the beauty of Michoacán
and Rigo Tovar sings
of his Matamoros Querido.

Better Homes becomes a coaster,
Tecate feeling fresh to the taste.

Chocolates, Both Dark and White

Poetry, Thoughts on Living, Unorthodox Poetry

You ever wonder what it all really means?

You ever wonder if you’ll ever find your dreams?

You ever wonder why chocolates don’t freak people out even though they look like shit?

I do, sometimes. Especially when I’m walking along the sidewalk and there’s a discarded chocolate, victim of the broken grocery bag from Vons, laying in the baking sun, melting to the point that all moisture is gone from the milk chocolate, shriveled and folded upon itself, looking like a 70 year old black man in Mississippi who has been worn down by the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow’s unspoken legacy.

Dreams are made of what you believe.

Like that time when Honey went to the liquor store to buy some Hot Cheetos and knew that one more bag would be the way to Kyle’s heart. A weekend later, Kyle gave up drinking purple Kool-Aid because Honey said it gave her childhood diabetes.

Her 10 year old heart knew the value of white lies early in her trailer park infancy.

Not since Camp Pendleton caught fire has a dream existed in this mind. Except for those disembodied voices I’ve heard lately. Saying, “Hey” and soothing my ear with a seductive “Start” the following night.

She sounded a bit like your voice, you know. Sweet siren of my seas, scintillating my sonic sensors, stimulating my seeded needs. I thank you for the validation. I commit to make my dreams a reality for you. A reality where we dream on the beach as we make love to the gods’ ideas of commonality.

That’s what it all means. It means that we are the only things that are capable of creating and finding a bit of ourselves under our creation’s sleeves.

El poeta es dios, don’t you see?

Pharoahe Monch Speaking on Process

Hip-Hop and Rap, Thoughts on Living

I love listening to other artists talk about how they go about creating art. In this case, we get to hear how one of the illest MCs in hip-hop, Pharoahe Monch, goes about finding inspiration for his lyrically masterful compositions.

My favorite little detail is the fact that Monch draws a sketch before getting started, and then uses the alphabet to help him find his rhymes.

As a writer and artist, my mind is just like…blown. So simple, so effective. Word.

Fact is, everyone has their own approach to writing and creating. I have a friend whose process involves crafting poetry from lines she’s saved over a course of months. She takes these bits of poetry and constructs a new stanza, allowing it to sit again for some time, and then revisiting that piece with an editor’s eye. I can’t work like that.

My process involves creating a fragment, a line, simple combination of words or strokes (in the case of drawing), and move on to what the page seems to pull out from me. It’s a subconscious thing. I create what in my eye demands to be on the page. Occasionally it’s not what I planned it to be. If I approach my writing with a preconceived notion of what I’m hoping to accomplish, the end result may be a permutation of it, but it will rarely be the original outcome I sought to express.

I’m getting better at planning and executing my ideas. It’s all in the practice. But to see how other artists, musicians, rappers, etc. go about creating is inspiring, and if anything, helps me feel like I need to elevate my game.

Step it up, yo. I gotta step it up.


Hip-Hop and Fatherless Families

Hip-Hop and Rap, Thoughts on Living

For those who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Hip-Hop. I was essentially raised and mentored by my favorite rap artists when I was growing up, mostly because I, like most kids in the ’80s and ’90s, grew up in a broken home.

Those formative years between 12 and 18, when you’re still a child, not quite a man, are hard for a young non-white man. We deal with myriad things, like identity formation, ethnocentricity, racism, sexual curiosity, and frustration…

That’s not to say that we should all be pitied. We are survivors. At least those of us who channel our insecurities and anger into positive, or even semi-positive things are. We are survivors.

For me it was Hip-Hop, and yes, while it may be cliched to say: Hip-Hop indeed saved my life. The anxieties that most rap artists express in underground Hip-Hop are real for kids like me; kids who grow up to be men like me. And while I’ve been away from the game in recent years, the little bit I do catch here and there tends to make me sad.

I’ve asked myself a few times if Hip-Hop is, in fact, dying. There’s been controversy about that since the early 2000s. Nas even released an album called Hip-Hop is Dead, for all them young cats out there. (I wonder how many teens are even aware of Nas and his contributions to the culture.)

Not since I heard Lupe Fiasco’s track “He Say, She Say” off of his album Food and Liquor, have I heard a song about broken families that moved me. But today, I got put up on to Earl Sweatshirt and his song “Chum.” This track is on his latest album called Doris, and I gotta say, it’s a banga.

Big Ghost, one of my favorite reviewers (mostly cuz he’s funny), gave the overall album an average review of 3.5 Zeus Slaps, which is alright. It means it may be worth me messing with. But if “Chum” is any indication of talent and creative energy, then I’ve got to endorse Earl Sweatshirt.

Here’s the video for “Chum.” I’ma let y’all make your own choice, but in the meantime, I’m gonna give this kid my own Poet of Promise award.

–Luis Antonio Pichardo, aka Stimey Luv 1


Poetry, Thoughts on Living

Bella pieza de maquinaria
trabajando conscientemente con un reto en mente
Lo que tu eliges hacer con el será lo tuyo

Instrumento de muerte, instrumento de vida
consumiendo los hechos de Dios
tragando sol, tierra, y mar
devorando males y contribuyendo deshechos de hierro y oro
al fertilizante de voz y alma

Yo no se cuales son tus intenciones, pero los míos
no los quieres saber
Mi maquinaria rechina con partes oxidadas
Manchas oxidadas en el pavimento me recuerdan de aquellos días
cuando lluvia en el base de éste
aparato ilustro, de fuerza y calculación

Hoy me imagino como se va a unir tu aparato con el mío
Revigorizando mi CPU
Recargando pilas viejas que casi no llegan
ni al fin del día sin cristales
ácidicos, peligrosos al tocar

Actualiza tu masa gris porque algún día
te importará
Pero no te arrepientas el haber formado un tren
de datos entrelazados con huellas de errores anónimos
y humanos
Aveces se ve más belleza en estudios de beta
que lo que parece existir