Monday, September 28, 2009

A Poem For Autumn

At dawn, Autumn came

Her toes dipped in the Central Park reservoir, breaking surface
concentric circles of red, amber, and purple waves
massaging themselves into soil
to soak the roots of Kwanzan cherry trees

A song was sung this morning about her lament in perennial limbo
that will be lost between corporate-sponsored Summer Jams and Christmas Musical reruns.

Feet buried in earth, she stands nude in the city parks floodlights
A defiant & immortal middle child acting out
against everything in her view

Mist sprays off of her body
made of souls both hot from Hades
and cooled under Utopian rains
tongues throbbing on the outside of their lips

With her mystifying spell the emerald crowns on the tops of our trees
become the hats of Fools

PaPo Santiago

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Capicu Poetry Presents: Latino Heritage Show w/ Ivan Sanchez & Jani Rosado!

Vaya mi gente!

After our citywide Capicu Subway Series in the Spring,
The Peoples Open Mic returns to our home in Brooklyn with some powerful new allies from the Bronx!

Wanna know who's coming through? Book signing by author Ivan Sanchez (Next Stop: Growing up Wild Style in the Bronx; It's Just Begun: The Epic Journey of Dj Disco Wiz, Hip Hop's First Latino Dj) & Featured Poet: Jani Rosado of ImageCULTURA (visual arts boutique)

Music by DJ Sambarella, and of course, YOU! We cannot do this without your support.

So spread the amor, and spread the palabra!

Capicu Poetry Open Mic @
Notice Lounge & Cafe
198 Union Avenue (Between B'way and Montrose)
Williamsburg Brooklyn NYC

We're located directly across from the 90th Precinct

18 to Party, 21 to Drink
Casual But Neat- no hats after 11 PM

By subway:
J train to Lorimer
G train To Broadway

PaPo Swiggity Santiago
Cofounder; Capicu Poetry & Cultural Showcase

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

PaPos 5 Steps To The Stage! An Intro For Open Mic Newbies

As a host and performer at both poetry and comedy events, I get asked all the time how a new person breaks into the open mic scene. At first, I only had one answer..
"Hello! Just get up on the stage and the rest will happen if you're nice with yours!"...
but I realize that some of us need some more convincing than that. LOL so I thought I'd throw together a few points on the subject.. let me know if it helps you and feel free to show it to your friends that are (or want to be) hittin' up open mics.

PaPo Swiggity


Step 1. We're all Scaredy cats. Especially you!

Yes, you are going to be nervous, and guess what? That is perfectly okay. I know entertainers that perform for years and still each time right before they get called up, they feel like they want to vomit.

This goes for all kind of performers. Poets, comedians, musical artists, even visual artists presenting their work. for many of us, it isn't easy to share these creative outbursts of ourselves to the world. We subject our life's work to the risk of rejection and embarrassment, open to unfiltered public scrutiny. I'm surprised more people don't straight-out faint! So to be bold enough to share yourself openly deserves credit.. and your well executed piece will get the props it deserves.

This anxiety itself is a form of fear, our primal survival instinct that's meant to energize us for fight or flight in the face of doom and danger. In the case of the stage, your "fighting" is you taking the mic! That's the hard part, working through the emotion. If you "flight" and leave the venue to avoid performing, you might never get called up again. So grow a pair.

Step 2: Dont get stranded cuz ya ran out of Paper!

It's okay to take your poem on paper (or by phone text-or whatever you young bucks are doin' nowadays) to the stage! Yes, even if (better yet- ESPECIALLY if) you're going on after some super feature-level performer.

Why? Because you'd look worse trying to go up there and do what that very experienced person just did, then you can't remember past the first few lines and you choke on stage. It would have saved your performance if you had the poem to sneak a peek at right in your hands at that brain-fart moment, huh?

For me personally, I do not feel a piece is embedded in my memory until I perform it at least once in front of an audience. What alot of performers do is they have a place- a kind of "home base" where they practice their new material, then once they feel they've worked out the kinks, the piece makes polished appearances at other venues around the city!

Step 3: Teddy Beer or Grizzly Beer?

It's okay to calm your nerves with a beer or two before you hit the stage. It really does help for some of us to get our bravery from the bottle. But remember- moderation is key! Let me say that again because it warrants repeating- MODERATION IS KEY! It's all too common that a performer hits the stage and has had too much to drink (or smoke) and everybody knows it. Then it actually may become painful to watch them slur and stumble their way through their piece, and afterwards nobody was paying attention to the words anyway.

Step 4: Respect the Clock or U'll Be Its Cuckoo

When you're on stage- take a moment to soak it all in and prepare to let it all out. Don't rush your piece.

Take your time and don't let your nerves make you sound like a telemarketer squeezing out a sales pitch before you hang up on 'em. Might be a good time to just say hello to the crowd, thank the venue or the host.. if the person performing before you was really good you might ask the crowd to clap for them again as you prepare yourself to read/perform.
Then respect the time limit.. it's not going to be your last time up, like, EVER.. right?

Step 5: U Need Eyes On the Back Of Yo' Head!

If you're serious about performing for the long run.. bring someone with you that can support and be really (and i mean brutally) honest about how they see you on stage and how you sound. You need to be able to measure your performance quality. If the venue allows it, you can have someone record you on video so that you can see yourself and become aware of how you are delivering your piece. alot of times, we have habits and mannerisms that we're not consciously aware of, and only seeing ourselves can correct the behaviors.

Have a conversation with your friends about your strength and weakness on stage. This will help you come up with a solid style by allowing you to analyze and control your stage presence. Ultimately, it's up to you to keep working toward being the best performer you can be. That's why it's a Lifes work.

Feel free to share this with your friends, I'll be writing more tips as they come to me.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The ShadowCount Project. Help the Homeless And Make 75 Bucks

Hey friends and family,

Some of you may know that I'm employed at the Hunter College School of Social Work.  This project from Department of Homeless Services came to me, and I thought about what a good paid opportunity this may be for some of you.

The positions are to dress up and stay in the subway system for 4 hours as what we call "decoys".
We want to see how accurate our volunteers are at counting the homeless.

Why would this be good for you? Creative souls, we've had former participants come to us and say that after this experience, they have a whole new understanding of how the average New Yorker interacts with the homeless and/or temporarily experience the feelings they are subject to. This has changed worldviews.

 Midnight, Monday January 26th may be a rare opportunity. Plus, we are offering you  $75 straight up, tax free.

CONTACT ME if this sounds like something you'd want to get in on.

Juan PaPo Santiago
Cofounder; Capicu Poetry & Cultural Showcase
Editorial Assistant & Recruitment; Hunter College School of Social Work


Is seeking "decoys" for the NYC homeless count.

On the night of January 26, the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will send hundreds of volunteers all across the city to count the homeless. On that same night, decoys will be sent to designated locations throughout the city to see how many of them get counted. Information on the number of decoys that are counted will be used to adjust the official NYC homeless count figures.

ShadowCount is funded by DHS but conducted independently by Hunter College School of Social Work researchers.

Date: Night of January 26 - 27, 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am
(Check-in time 2 hours earlier)

To sign up to participate as a paid decoy, request a registration packet by emailing me!

 If you do not have access to the internet you can call me at (212) 452-7096 to request a packet.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yeah, I Dated The Girls From Sex And the City!

I can't front, as a social urbanite in the NYC nightlife scene that grew up in a family made up predominantly of women, I found entertainment value in the characters of Sex In The City. I know- not many men would say- or at least admit to-that. lol

And No- I'm not going to line up tonight to see the movie--- I'll catch the bootleg on Jamaica Ave soon enough and watch it while I'm in the comfort of my own home with wifey, blazed up.
But I got to thinking about the characters these women play in this series, and I asked myself--- have I dated them??

Peep it:

Carrie Bradshaw-
Oh yes, I've dated many Carries in my life. Succesful and susceptible to day dreaming.. she has a skeleton in her closet in the form of an ex boyfriend that never really goes away. Therefore any future plans you try to make with this chick are nothing more than houses built on quicksand. In the Latino twist of the Carrie character, he's usually a Baby Daddy! Have I ever been a "Mister Big'? yes! Poor souls have gone chasing. But I believe once something is dead, there's no bringing it back..
at least for me!
**side note** I always hated how long..or strange.. or SOMETHING Carries face is in the series! lol

Miranda Hobbes-
I usually just call her "rubia" cuz I never remember her real name.. as it is in real life, because it's always been hard for me to maintain a relation with this kind of cold straight faced chick. LOL seriously, because of my carefree nature I'm usually too nonchalant for this career woman. Creativity is a hobby to her, unless it's being creative about how to fatten up the bank. In a relationship, she's somewhat detached from her usually see her dude playing the bar by himself for half the night, looking like a sad puppy waiting for her to turn her attention to him. Gotta respect her hustle though! Griiiindinggg!

Charlotte York-
Her kind of character was the object of my adoration in my early twenties. I'm sure a lot of guys would agree with that. Though it was not my reality! In my experience, this woman doesn't believe in personal space, once the relationship machine gets rollin'.
She's proper, rarely curses, comes off as "too nice", romantic wifey type but can surprise you from time to time with a spontaneous act of passion.
She's educated, but grew up sheltered so can come off as a pendeja! LoL therefore needy.. and one thing I don't like is a pendeja, the women in my life have been strong.
Which brings me to:

Samantha Jones-
the most prevalent type of woman in my life, most of the women in my circle identify most with her! She cannot be told what to do! She's self empowered, outspoken, sharp, articulate and has a set of priorities that go against the norm and that are, for some, difficult to comprehend. Sometimes seen as a cat in heat, she is fiercely loyal to her friends and knows where lines should be drawn, though she walks dangerously close to those borders. When she gets faced with really hard shyt to deal with, she learns and grows even stronger from the experience. This girl is a survivor, and in my opinion enjoys the positives in her life fully.
Afterthought: I guess she's the "chica mala" they singin' about in that merengue joint!

Well- that's my little character analysis. LOL hope you enjoyed it. For my homegirls that will be out tonight in their fancy shoes, peepin' the movie and then trying to score a night of Sex In The City in manhattan… make sure it's SAFE SEX! LoL

PaPo Swiggity

Friday, October 07, 2005

Water Water Everywhere
Well well well... here we are in the era of ( By the way... look me up there, folks..same s/n), the Second Coming of the latino boom thanks to the mindless bootyshaking success of reggaeton, and teensy weensy lil credit-card shaped Ipods.
and who the fuck told us we could be so absorbed in On-Demand cable television?

We're constantly swept up in mass hysteria, whether man-made through the broad diffusion of media filters into our psyche, or natural calamities like these torrential alluvions that remind us of shyt straight out of the Book of Revelations.

That being said, I have been inspired to pick up the pen and spearchuck my antagonists in their throats... so watch out now, bitches!

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Unbeknownst to most folks, my personal life is fuckin' chaotic.
Wow I haven't written in a few months.. what can I say? Life get's in the way... the summary would be that I am recently single again, living out of a suitcase and on my brothers couch in the border of Brooklyn/Queens..
grandma is in the hospital que Dios lo bendiga...
I have 2-hour commutes three times a week to go to college in the Bronx..
and I'm still partying hard, bytches!!!
I'll write back soon....