Los Angeles speaks to us in symbols cultivated by a collective soul. Today only variations of a few whispers in primary colors are heard by a select few. Tomorrow English will be heard in Spanish, storefront signs along Sunset Blvd will be written in Hangul and apologies will be painted on walls that only this cities culture can translate. This city, in absence of voicelessness, is where the universe can begin... and end.
Winter is when we learn how to hold our breath, and listen to silence. As the snow slowly melts, 'Patience is a Virtue' is found written on the petals of Spring. But Summer; this is when we soak our souls under the shades of history hidden in trees. And Autumn is a time for anthologies, pages slowly falling from heavens not so far from reach. With the help of gentle winds we can glance and read the stories in the clouds above and ask for nothing in return, realizing that everything has already been given.
Top photo - Laminated copy of the first ever issue of Gidra. What is Gidra?
"In April 1969 a group of students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) founded a newspaper dubbed Gidra, a monthly publication that took a radically progressive political position. These five students—Mike Murase, Dinora Gil, Laura Ho, Colin Watanabe, and Tracy Okida—desired a visual media that would bring to light issues not featured in the mainstream media. Dubbed by the authors as the “Voice of the Asian American Movement” Gidra ran from 1969 until its final issue was published in April 1974. " (More on Gidra Here)
Bottom photo - to the right of Traci Akemi Kato-Kiryama are several of the founding staff members of Gidra; Mike Murase, Evelyn Yoshimura, Doug Aihara, and unfortunately I didn’t get the name of the woman in the red coat.
These photos were taken last night at the 1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Cafe in Little Tokyo. As part of the programming of the Tuesday Night Project, the Tuesday Night Cafe is on it’s 15th year…woohoo! Last nights reading was standing room only, making it obvious that TNP’s mission and the communities needs are aligned just right. The amount of creativity and caliber of talent was just a tiny bit of proof of how much this city has to offer.
But what I wasn’t aware of was Gidra. Another layer of Los Angeles, proof yet again that there’s more to Los Angeles than just creativity and talent. The people of Los Angeles have a history of using creativity to build a foundation of strength, a voice for political advocacy.
And these guys are still active in the community. Last night they were asked how they avoided “burn-out,” something I’ve personally been researching a lot lately, and Mike Murase’s response was -
"We never became cynical, we still have hope, and we still believe in what we do."
i usually take the same road, to the same house, knowing that i'll find the same door. it's the door that my key doesn't open. over the weekend i took a different road, one i didn't know. i slammed my soul into a dark wall. my soul crumbled, with the wall. the key was useless. i discovered that the house i live in is open, with walls made of delicate but fierce love that catches fire when my heart pines for what my soul needs.
It's simple to lose Yesterday
when we have faith that there might be a break in the clouds.
And instead of waiting, we run
where we have never walked before.
Its simple to imagine a Tomorrow, when all dreams come true and boredom becomes a way out; unsettled and longing for desire.
If heaven is lost in Today, Today should be desired. Building a heaven held up by pillars of faith and dreams is a challenge worthy of losing time to.
Some call it peace, some call it heaven. It's that space between the moments of collapse. Found between our ancestors wisdom that we choose to never follow, and those arms we only go to when we shouldn't. It's that place we learn from, but only realize its importance once we choose to forget it ever existed. Some call it peace, some call it heaven. I call it Los Angeles.
(photo San Pasqual Stables / Lower Arroyo hiking trail)
I want to sink myself deeper, deeper into the deepest
of the muddy waters,
where your footprints float
and drift away from a recognizable you.
the waters where your handprints stain
the deepest of the even deeper muddy waters
that still touch a sinking me.
handprints that save a sinking me