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R-Space always tries to bring new and exciting entertainment to Radford’s campus, and on Tuesday, October 10, they did just that. Carlos Andrés Gómez, an award-winning poet, actor, speaker, and author performed many of his original poems.
Gómez opened his act by trying to make the audience get involved with him. He asked questions such as, “who likes to sing or dance” and “what types of music do you prefer”? These questions had a purpose; they were his Segway into his first poem. Gómez made the audience laugh when he talked about how when salsa music comes on at a club you are either a professional, or you go sit down. The audience laughter began to die down as Gómez began his first poem, “Hector Lavoe is God.” It was a poem about beautiful and awkward dancing with a stranger.
The second poem was simply titled, “Everything.” In the poem, Gómez talked about love and how there are many different types, platonic, familial, and romantic, etc. The poem was meant to make the audience think about whom they love and remind that life is short. In the poem, Gómez said, “When people mean something to you, tell them every day.”
After poems about the awkwardness of dancing with strangers and the beauty of love, the next piece was much more severe. Gómez talked about his two-year-old daughter, Grace, and how he could not imagine losing her. He talked about how he felt afraid when she was born because the world is a dark and scary place. He went on to mention how he has been lucky with her health and well-being, but sometimes, other parents are not so fortunate. His next poem, titled “Song for Mike Brown” was about the murder of a young boy and how he was targeted for his skin color.
Continuing with the hard-hitting and controversial theme, the next poem Gómez performed was titled, “What are you.” This poem was meant to speak to everyone who has ever felt like they did not fit into the confines of a box that society had made for them. Gómez said that he wrote the poem because “as a Hispanic with light skin and green eyes, I am always asked what I am as if I couldn’t possibly be a Latino.” The poem’s primary focus was centered on Gómez and his identity struggle, but many others could relate to it as well.
The next poem was about yet another controversial topic. Before performing his next piece, Gómez asked the audience to clap if they believe in marriage equality; a vast majority, if not all, of the audience members, clapped. Gómez went on to tell a story about how a few years ago he was asked to be a keynote speaker at a first amendment rally in Eastern Kentucky. When he got to this part of his performance, and he asked the question, “clap if you believe in marriage equality,” not a single person clapped. Gómez went on to tell the audience how we, the younger generation, need to pave the way for acceptance. The poem, “Hand Stitch” was a retelling of his experience holding his best male friends hand, out in public, for an hour one day and how judged he felt.
Gómez closed out the performance with a final poem titled, “Where are you really from”? He stated how being a part of the Latinx community can be very tiring. People constantly come up to him and ask the question, “where are you really from” referring to his heritage and not the geographical location where he grew up.
The event was entertaining and a new experience for many members of the audience. Samantha Alman, a freshman here at Radford, said, “I came here with my friend who likes poetry. I have never read poetry before, but this was cool. I enjoyed it”. However, there were some fans in the audience. Dustin Williams, a junior, said that he saw Gómez performing one of his poems on YouTube a few years ago and enjoyed it. I strongly recommend looking into the events that R-Space plans for the Radford campus and community. Many events cater to all different types of people and are very enjoyable.