Greetings and welcome! In case you were unable to join us for A Star is Born Round VIII: Imitation of Life, below are the performances that garnered the rank of #1 and moved me forward onto the final round and grand finale of the show.
My sister, Chio Smith was asked to join the stage and share who she was in relation to myself, the nominee for Best Performance of the Year. She, as did I, chose to submit an autobiographical essay for her performance in The Undercard at thepublicblogger.com
Thank you all for your unwavering support and playing a grand part in securing this Sibling Victory!.
Who I Am in Relation to my Brother
by Chio Smith
In my search for love and happiness I have come up short many times. Often giving more than what I got in return. The trust I placed on men was boundless until I married a man who would hold me prisoner within my own mind and heart. I became the stereotypical woman in an abusive relationship. I learned to hide the abuse from family and friends and even myself.
I found the mask I wore sufficient to disguise the emotional and psychological abuse. But once the physical abuse began, I realized the love he professed was all part of his need to control. Still somehow, with two young children, I rationalized that we needed to stay together as a family.
Growing up in a nuclear family of eight had its amazing lessons in love. Though being the fifth born out of six siblings came with it’s challenges in feeling secure. A true bond and kinship was born between my brother, Oscar and I at a very early age and continued through our grade school years. Despite the eccentric and androgynous fashions of the mid-eighties, we were still seen as the twin black sheep of the family. An unspoken oath and alliance was forged to ensure against internal or external prejudices.
Throughout my many mistakes in life and love, I knew that Oscar was someone I could turn to in confidence, someone who would not judge, a man I could trust. And time and time again, he proved to be the rock of support that I came to depend on. When a violent bout of physical abuse jeopardized my children’s safety, I phoned him before dialing 911. He took me and my children into his home with open arms.
The indefinite stay under his roof was short lived as I chose to return and try to work things out with my husband, for the sake of love. Oscar’s persuasive words of reason were no match for the shackles on my mind and heart. Perhaps it was in desperation, but I could hear the anger in his tone as he switched into tough-love mode to state, “If you leave now, know that it’s the last time you walk through that threshold.” It took all the courage I had to not wipe away my tears and hold fast to my children’s hands as I led them out the door.
I couldn’t explain it then, and I’m finding it difficult to adequately express now, but I needed to test my own strengths. I wanted to be my own rock. Instead I walked right back into a life on pause eagerly awaiting to start right where it had turbulently left off.
Despite his admonition, my children and I were welcomed back into his home again. I filed for a divorce and with the love and support of my brother, I gradually learned to be the strong, independent woman I am today valuing above all self-love, honor and respect.
My Family, Friends, Co-Workers & Poetry Fans via eCard Greetings
Voicing a Wordsmith
by Oscar Alejandro Plascencia
Words fail me; they’re too limited in their ability to convey. I watch the world unfold around me in silence. Futile attempts at expressing myself result in stammering utterance. I stutter, they mock. I play the Mute. My childhood is spent walking around in silent wonder. A sense of resentment permeates my heart as I covet the ease and fluidity with which all those around me impart their feelings. I condition myself to believe that meekness is my weakness and fearfully accept it as my lot. I am compliant and tractable.
English as a second language is a breeze for my siblings to master, but I struggle in grade school and fail to comprehend why Spanish is not allowed. I naturally gravitate and bond with the girls in my class. Boys are crass and call me “queer”, yes I’m always the last one picked by default in any team activities. I bury my face in a book to express disinterest. The written words sway, swirl and march about the page like an army of ants, rearranging themselves, taunting and teasing: Run spot run. Read Oscar read!
I find solace in the arts and learn to express myself through dance, theatre, drawing and writing. But none of these completely eradicate my innate sense of not belonging. I push myself to excel creatively, but then demurely brush off all compliments. My speech is much improved, thanks to theatre, but often described as old-world, too serious and dramatic. I want to live and I want to love, but I’m afraid that I’ll be made fun of. I hurt, I bleed, I cry just like everyone else, why is it all lost in translation?
The distance from Heart to Head is long and feelings frequently loose their way. Those that survive the voyage arrive haggard and misconstrued only to be sputtered in my inadequacy. I chose the Pen as mediator and discovered a platform for Heart, Mind and Soul to speak as one. A lyrical form dominates my writing and a passion for poetry is born. Silverlake cafes and bookstores’ open mic awaken my mind to alternative means of expression. Love burrows itself into my heart and spawns twins named Hope and Faith. I court the trio for the next twenty years.
Fickle at best, Love, Hope and Faith have been in and out of my life shaping every stanza from day one. I have lived, I have loved, but no one can make fun of the pain, and tears I pen in translation for my stuttering heart. Once an observer of life watching it unfold with or without me, now a dedicated wordsmith interceding to preserve and honor Love in it’s myriad forms. It’s not a question of who I am, for I am a great many things, but rather a question of who I have become.
A meek and queer boy humiliated into insecurity finds his voice and pride in poetry. Words fail me; they’re too limited in their ability to convey.
A world of gratitude to all of you who took the time to submit a video clip for this project. Especially two of our WordPress family members, Scottie Miller and Vonita Buirski. My apologies to all of you, including my sister Sandra, that did not appear in the final version as my limit was two minutes total. Please know that I greatly value your continued support.