how long will this go on
hold my taco
i have to call my mother
she was expecting me for dinner
but i got on this bus
and we're just lingering on this street
that is on fire
did we go to hell?
”People in L.A. are now very aware that there’s another part of town than the West Side or the Hollywood Hills, even if it’s a part they don’t understand or are afraid of,” said Joel Kotkin, a fellow at the Pepperdine Institute for Public Policy in Malibu. ”If there’s a positive to come out of the riots, it’s that we understand there’s a problem.”
”Now, it’s O.K.,” said Seung Choi, owner of the Korean Soup restaurant in the mall, who recalls the ”terrible, really scary” days of April 1992. ”But business never came back up.”
”When that day happened, it made it much worse for us,” said Pam Gray, who is now the first assistant manager of a new Parts USA auto parts store built by the Pep Boys chain at Florence and Normandie as part of the recovery effort; five years ago she was nursing a newborn baby. ”You had to drive a million miles to get to a grocery store.”
”On a collective basis, I’m not sure our city has heeded the lessons very well,” said John Mack, the head of the Los Angeles branch of the Urban League. ”There are some individual, spectacular examples of progress. But there’s been too much of a tendency to make it a spectator sport.
”L.A. can become America’s Bosnia, or it can become America’s example in democracy. We’ve all got to extend ourselves a little.”
–excerpted from the NY Times article, “Legacy of Los Angeles Riots: Divisions Amid the Renewal” by Todd S. Purdum, April 27, 1997.
I’ve been submitting my work to Rigorous, “a journal edited and written by people of color” for a little over a year. It’s an online magazine with the flexibility and expansiveness to accept not only written work, but visual, audio and video arts. So smart.
Current issue of Rigorous
I’d not really considered submitting my work to a journal dedicated to writers of color and I wonder why. Because it’s important this community we are creating through the simple act of creating and sharing our art. As writing poetry is such a solitary craft, as much of art is, I find a sense of gratitude for this cohesive network of writers. Sure it’s through the Internet, but it’s there.
In the January 2017 inaugural issue, one of the editors, Kenyatta JP Garcia, wrote of his affinity “towards the experimental, speculative and slipstream” in art, but that he’s mostly seen it done by “white folks”:
We rarely see the brown and black alternative approaches to art but it’s not for lack of trying. Most of us have been taught to ‘work twice as hard’ and many of us took it to heart…While not every piece is overtly political, every time we as the marginalized create something we are being political. Our arts speak of our experiences and worldviews. It speaks from a perspective that has been minimized and silenced. The act of creation is a push back against a system that has historically ignored us.
The act of creation is a push back against a system that has historically ignored us.
He continues to say that we need community and a support system in this “new era of American policy.” This policy of Trump that we must resist and help dismantle.
St. Eugene of the Color Blind
What ever happened
to that that light-skinned girl
your brother was dating?
The one your father used to call
“the Mulatto” and we were too dumb to be
embarrassed for him, for us
because that was the eighties and we
were in high school and doped up
on wine coolers. Your mom liked to
comment on her good manners, not like
your Canarsie floozies who hogged the chairs
in the kitchen and mooched all her Shasta.
You liked to say Eugene was color blind
like you were bragging about it
like he was the only one in the clan who
could be that way
but he broke up with her
after all that
when it was clear it was going to be
a hassle every time
to get through checkpoint Charlie
down by Breezy.
For some seasons now, I’ve been saving zinnia seeds to sow the next year. I can’t believe how a tiny seed can hold this wealth of beauty and grace.
Always looking ahead
Though I am a just one gardener growing on a very small scale, I claim my right to collect and save seeds so that I can play a part in crop biodiversity, and to keep the seed free. I don’t mean “free” in terms of I’m giving them away, but free from corporate control, free from copyrighting and patenting like how Monsanto does.
Mother of zinnias
And the question of seed sovereignty and control is one that we urban gardeners can answer. The practice of seed collecting has been around ever since humans could identify what a seed was, and for the agribusiness goliaths to make it a crime for small farmers to keep their own seed is criminal.
The life force of the seed is the life force of the people, and when big companies take that away from us, they are essentially killing us.
In 1995, Indian Agriculture was reoriented from being focused on National Food Security, which rests on the livelihood and ecological security of our small farmers, to being focussed on corporate control and corporate profits, which are made possible by the corporate written rules of “free” trade, trade liberalization, and globalization. Enabled by these rules, agrichemical giants entered India and started to control the seed sector. Where once farmers grew, saved, and replanted seeds, they were now forced to buy seed-chemical packages that allowed companies to extract super-profits from farmers through royalty collection.
–Dr. Vandana Shiva, April, 24, 1995
And since 1995, almost 300,000 farmers in India have committed suicide.