Listen & Be Heard has been a presence in Vallejo for more than five years now. First just as an open mic that took place weekly at the now defunct Rafael’s, then in our own spot at Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe at 818 Marin Street in downtown Vallejo. During that time we have had many people come to our open mic event. Some only come once. Some come back again and again, to express themselves with poetry. Some of our “old timers” got their start reciting poetry at Listen & Be Heard and go on to other stages, coming back to us from time to time. For others it isn’t about being a “professional poet” but just about fulfilling a need for naked expression.
My husband Tony and I have always known that the Listen & Be Heard atmosphere has been a real life-saver for some people, a bright spot in their life where they know they can come and not be judged or ridiculed. Many have testified to that fact while taking their turn on the stage. These aren’t therapy sessions; they are truth sessions, reality sessions, speaking-from-the-soul sessions that remind people that their inner life is not alien.
Along the way there have been people who we have gotten to know and consider part of our Listen & Be Heard family. One of those people was Lisa Pastor. She was one of our old timers, a young woman who also drove teenagers without a drivers license to the open mic, so that they could all share and grow with the experience. We got to know her as a passionate young woman with a lot to say about the state of society, the state of womanhood and love.
Yesterday a friend of Lisa’s came to the cafe and told Tony that she was the one in recent news stories who was killed by a former boyfriend. Unfortunately I can not find a trace of that story on the web to refer you to. Her death seems to have barely made a blip on the screen. But here at Listen & Be Heard Lisa Pastor will not be forgotten. We both feel deeply the loss of such a bright and enthusiastic young woman who had so much to offer to the people who knew her and the community she was a part of. We hadn’t seen her for awhile, but her friend told us that she always spoke of Listen & Be Heard as something positive in her troubled life, and was planning to return and attend the open mic this very Friday. I wish that that could have happened instead of me writing this column today.
Perhaps this Friday those of you who remember Lisa and want to say something about her or write a poem for her can come to the open mic that she planned to attend. If you can not attend, please do send in a Speakout or a Poem of the Day, and pay your personal tribute to a fiery and passionate spirit, a fellow poet, who left us way too soon.