Open Mic Saturday at Cahuenga Library: A Community’s Achievement

 

After a momentous two-hour event with everyone for the first ever Open Mic hour at the Cahuenga branch library this past Saturday, April 14th, 2018, I realized something: each of us who participated, from the Open Mic hour poets, to our Featured Languages trio, and from the Friends of Cahuenga team, to the team of volunteers the day of and the locals who came by: we were not just participants in the event, but partners in it.

In seeing one another, we completed one another, and for this reason it’s my pleasure to share these photos from the event with the site. Pictures include ‘build-up’ photos of Cahuenga’s surrounding area, as well as a few shots of the volunteers who helped organize the space. Also included are a couple of pictures of the Open Mic performances, and a final group photo. Hashtags I’ve used for these pictures include:

#Multilingual, #Tongvalands, #RanchoCahuenga, #OpenMicCahuenga, #Immigrant, #Black, #Queer, #Resilience, and #LAPL #Stories. I’ve applied these terms in an effort to have more of the ‘identities’ implied by them reflected at our local libraries. If any of you are so inclined, it’d be great to have you all grow these and any additionally inclusive tags with me.

The final photo in this column is a picture of the beautiful mural painted at the corner of Virgil Avenue and Burns Street in memory of Jesse, the late ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned of in one of the proudest and most important moments of our gathering: when a long-time member of la vecindad took the courageous step of making a stand for her loved one before everyone in attendance.

Thank you, M, once again. The strength of your heart, like the power of your voice, is what keeps this vecindad and others like it going all across Los Angeles. Moving forward, please consider our Open Mic and other events like it your events and that of all of our pueblo’s: mamaspapas, and abuelitas included.

I would also like to say thank you to those who couldn’t make it to the event but who expressed interest or support for its success, as well as those peers and friends who we hope to see at the next one, which will have to happen; after so much unity in the community for the Open Mic, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more events like it at the library. But, one step at a time.

To be sure, following Saturday what’s clear is that of course our communities need more events like these. It’s going to take some work though, which is to say more organizing, and that can only be accomplished with more unity in the community, which is to say, your voices.

To that end, for those interested, I will be sure to follow up regarding the next Friends of Cahuenga board meeting. In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of National Poetry month, and for anyone who needs the pictures through another medium, just let me know and I’ll be happy to reach out accordingly.

Yours L.A.,

J.T.

For the Record, Los Angeles

I am very proud of what we’ve already done.

“PLEASE NOTE: Cahuenga’s Open Mic Saturday event is open to all, but as the event is a celebration of our local cultures we are prioritizing their participation in the event. In other words, though anyone can come by and support Saturday, the event is CENTERED on members of the Cahuenga community, specifically women, youth, Senior citizens, and those with special needs; they’re the ones who make Cahuenga and the neighborhood the special place we know it to be, and we do not forget! As such, please expect to hear their voices and participation being prioritized on Saturday.”

J.T.

Poem in Hand, I Would Like to Welcome You With the Following

I heard the sneers of discrimination at my schools before I heard the sonnets of poetry through their halls.

But the first time I faced discrimination based on the color of my skin, the language I spoke at home, or some other characterization of me, I didn’t quite know the definition of the word: discrimination.

Similarly, the first time I heard my first poem, I didn’t quite know that it was poetry, either. But in each case my feelings told me what these things were. Today, they still do.

Now, I deploy words to work for me as I’ve worked for them over the course of a lifetime in education, in the same way my mother has worn every bone in her body to work shifts her whole life: to survive any rancorous winds which would seek to tame us.

My mother’s feet are waning into the ages now, yet with each new day she makes one thing clear:

We will not go gently into the night. Every moment we get, is another moment to rise.

J.T.

In a Box, Hidden from My View, Lies a Record

People, slain,
History books, vanished
Pictures, stolen
Mi abuelito’s pictures.

Flowers, fettered
Names, redacted
Bullet with my name on it.
Warrant for my citizenship, overdue.

Every day, sirens
Us, bleeding,
Suffocating, silenced.
Never, White.

Us, “want rest,”
Trump, “Law and Order.”
Sun, sets,
We pray.

Borders, bellies
Jailing, rapists.
America, bloodthirsty,
Me, ashamed.

Mothers, baby boys,
Mijas, todos
Endless, Wings,
Fluttering into dirt.

Run, hide,
Try, might,
But, surprise.

Bullet with my face on it.

God, bless.
Bless, “hypocrites.”

And then my
Teacher, said:

“SUCK IT UP.”

But me,

I said,

“I
don’t
think
so.”

J.T.

The First Ever Open Mic Saturday at Cahuenga Branch Library is Now Scheduled

IMG_1570

April 14th, 2018; 12:15 – 2:00 PM

It’s happening. After 27 years of marking so many ‘footprints’ in a little pueblo now branded by so many real estate agents as East Hollywood–but which to me for so long has just been the place I call Home–I finally get to announce a major event in the neighborhood at which my dirty chucks and I can stand at the fore alongside fellow Angelenos and L.A. enthusiasts alike. Mark your calendars!

Poetry Day for Poetry Month is taking place on Saturday, April 14th, 2018, at the Cahuenga Branch Public Library from 12:15 PM to 2:00 PM.

It is a major event. In the downstairs section of the library, and in conjunction with the library’s book sale that day as well as with support from the congruent Friends of Cahuenga chapter, I will be serving as emcee for an Open Mic celebration of April’s Poetry Month theme. The event will feature poets from Los Angeles, refreshments from the Friends, and of course, many of the library’s delicious books for sale.

If he were still with us, I’m confident that Roger King, the chess coach, would be proud. Roger passed on last year after a brief battle with cancer, and although his games have been missed, this afternoon I could feel Roger’s local friendly spirit stamping through the classroom where the planning meeting for the event was held, just like when he oversaw the handful of chess battles on the boards there.

Naturally, as the event organizer, I’ve got my eyes on other locals in the neighborhood for the big day, but every reader and supporter or friend of a friend of JT is officially invited to come out. There are also more details of the event to come, but for now consider yourself informed:

We are going to make you proud Los Angeles.

J.T.

We Are Updating Los Angeles

cropped-jt_3705.jpg

JIMBO TIMES is getting better.

This is not hyperbole. Check out the makeover for previous posts, to be sure.

In MacArthur Park is Critical to Los Angeles, what was originally just a few pictures of photo-walking through the park is now a three-hundred word personal history of the location. As such, the affinity for MacArthur which the photographs alone merely indicate becomes punctuated by intimate memories of just how the park contains L.A. Stories.

In From One Small Business to the Next, the writing is simply revised in the manner that most writing needs to have done eventually. With the writing of JT, as with any other challenge in my life, the more time and space I have from it, the better I’m able to reflect on just how I can approach it to make the necessary improvements.

Finally, In Los Angeles Is Better for Its Graffiti, I make another overdue statement regarding the content. I originally took the photographs of the post when I was not only just getting started with my Canon 5D camera and its 50 MM 1.4 lens, but at the same time that I was just getting to know Photoshop too. Therefore, the pictures are a little goofy, if you will, but I take no loss in admitting the fact of it. On the contrary, what I find most important about the photographs is that even years after first taking them, I’m still able to recount in them the ideas I wanted to convey to viewers with them.

In the days ahead, I am revising more and more of the site in this fashion in order to polish each dedication to L.A. and the people who make it go. I hope readers enjoy the process. I know I’m certainly doing so.

There is also more POC Today on the way,

J.T.