Brothers

Used to be inseparable. Just two kids from two cities along campus ground together.

Used to philosophize and riddle and debate as if no issue in our midst couldn’t diffuse.

Used to reflect on our classes together. Mutual friends. Romances. Foreign policy. No end.

Broke down habits. Responses to each other. Prism of our minds. That’s what homies were.

What being alive was.

Remember our deliberations on these grounds together:

Maximum profit by maximum strain,

Watching it unfurl across the world around us in lanes.

Student debt. Police. Prison policy.

Fast food. Oldies. Air in our pockets.

Worn out rooms another night. But, the unity.

Except never would have expected walls to build around us as they did,

Somewhere along the way the strain got the best of us.

Perhaps the best of me,

Perhaps the best of you.

Now memory flutters wailing past Los Angeles,

Slave patrol still hovering.

People still coughing up on the sidewalk

While still more profits margin.

Turning the corner,

A brother hobbling along the street asks if I know

Where he can find a pookie,

Nah’.”

It’s been ten summers since we first spoke the rage.

Before another ten go by, I hope to find you again

If only to break free from this rift with you.

One between two

J.T.

Did you hear? Our first meeting for the first ever Los Cuentos Summer Book Club was Awesome

Our first meeting for the Los Cuentos Book Club this past Wednesday was a success, with 9 attendants, predominantly muxeres, from places like East & South Los Angeles, and even San Bernardino. Our discussion for LA SIGUANABA and The Magical Loroco was over an hour long, serving as an “online venue” for community engagement with literature made just for them.

Our club now just needs a small push or ‘jale’ to cover the cost of our books, which we’ve handed free of charge to each of our participants in an effort to be inclusive, and which we’ve purchased directly from the author in order to continue shopping from & supporting local artists in Los Angeles. As always, any donation or sharing the campaign with a friend will be of great support, and we can assure you to make it go a long, long way!

Our Book Club will hold its second meeting next Wednesday, July 22nd, and did you hear? Every supporter of our club is more than welcome to attend. To donate, you can find our fundraiser HERE.

J.T.

The Power of Poetry: Pictures from Our 2nd Annual Open Mic Night at Cahuenga Public Library in Los Angeles

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We had a tremendous time at the 2nd Annual Open Mic Night at Cahuenga Public Library this past Thursday, April 25th, 2019, enjoying ourselves so much that we actually went over time. THIS is the power of poetry in our communities!

Photo courtesy of “JRG” & JIMBO TIMES.

J.T.

Get Literary, Los Angeles


Following another lightning round of work at the shop for the day, it should have been just another chill bike ride home. But a force came over me as I decided it was time to give something else a try.

Just as I was about to make the swerve onto the ole block, I decided to keep going in a stroll through la vecindad. I’d gotten an idea. When I came across intersections through the neighborhood where I could find an outpost for the free literature, I stopped, took off my backpack, searched through the folder inside which contained a couple of prints, then grabbed the prints, took them out and dropped them into the boxes. I did this at nine (9) intersections throughout the neighborhood, and the results led to printed copies of JIMBO TIMES’s Los Angeles Students at the following cross-streets:

Virgil and Normal (1 Post: 2 copies)
Virgil and Monroe (1 Post: 2 copies)
Virgil and Clinton (1 Post: 2 copies)
Vermont and Clinton (1 Post: 2 copies)

Melrose and Vermont (3 Posts: 6 copies)
Vermont and Normal (2 Posts: 6 copies)
Vermont and Santa Monica (3 Posts: 6 copies)
Virgil and Santa Monica (1 Post: 2 copies)

Virgil and Lockwood – (1 Post & The Mini-Library: 2 & 2 -3 copies)

Halfway into making these ’rounds,’ I realized something. It was a job. A job that used to exist in days before I came onto the scene, when the world was a slightly more literary place. Or at least before all of it became digitized, relinquishing the power of the print into the depths of the past.

Rather than dropping off copies of the New York or L.A. Times, however, I dropped off copies of these JIMBO TIMES. That’s when something else hit me: I want to make more of these rounds for The L.A. Storyteller, one day, with my very own newspaper for the block!

I imagine the path towards such a dream is probably quite long, but then, how could I not give it a shot? During all these years blogging, the power of the written word has only grown on me, convincing me once and for all that reading and writing are mediums by which a people or pueblo can become aware of their environment in ways that are invaluable to them.

And even if Los Angeles never quite had much of a literary Intellegentsia, as Mike Davis has noted, the past doesn’t represent a world we’re confined to forever, but a possibility incumbent on those of us present to uplift for different worlds in the future.

We’ve got to do it, then, don’t we, Los Angeles? As with all things, one step at a time. We’re not afraid of a challenge when we know it’s in our veins to take it on. Indeed, that’s why we’re here.

Let’s make it happen, Los Angeles. Let’s get literary.

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 hallways.

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 my mother has worn every bone in her body to work for shifts over a lifetime, pushing back against 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 we rise.

J.T.

LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas (2015)

I’ve been reading voraciously over the last few weeks! Ever since I got back from Chicago, one thing has been clear: there’s only so much time to research my passion for what makes up a great city, and I absolutely do want to take advantage of every minute of it. For August’s book review, I’m excited to feature LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas, edited by Patricia Wakida, in which L.A. aficionados can find one another through a stream of pages dedicated to uncovering the roots of this place we call home.

With over nineteen different authors from all across the L.A. spectrum, the writing in LAtitudes is highly aware of the multiplicity which makes up The City. As Luis Alfaro notes at the outset, there is no ‘one L.A.,’ but over 18 million of them.

And as Anthea Hartig and Josh Sides point out, L.A. is not just in downtown or Hollywood, or in the east or south sides, but it’s in the pedestrian friendliness of Burbank, and the vastness of Sunland-Tujunga, and in sun-baked Sylmar. It’s also in the historic city of Inglewood, as well as in lesser known Hawthorne, and the laid back South Bay. Los Angeles is also in San Pedro, as well as in Long Beach, and Norwalk and Cerritos! The list goes on, as 60% of The City is actually outside of The City.

Of course, anyone browsing through the web can tell you that L.A.’s made up of 88 different “communities,” but what’s special about LAtitudes is that it won’t just take you through the hard facts of the land, but also through the stories attached to it.

For example, did you know that L.A. was once little more than a string of cattle ranches across a couple of dozen prairies? I sure didn’t, but Teddy Varno’s essay makes it a live experience.

And did you know that L.A. was attacked one early February morning during World War 2, though not by the Axis powers, but by a UFO?! Yes, it sounds like the stuff of movies, but Jason Brown’s essay places readers right in the middle of the incredible sequence for an unforgettable ride.

LAtitudes goes beyond the wild and quirky, however, and features truly historical work. Cindi Alvitre’s Coyote Tour describes the Tongva and Yaangna tribes who trailed through the land before the Spanish crown decimated or acculturated their people, while Nathan Masters’s Gridding the City identifies the true genius of the grid masters who gave The City its ‘sprawling’ form.

Laura Pulido’s Landscapes of Racial Violence moved me so much that I’ll have a separate review for it later, and David Ulin’s Freeway Jam left me with a vivid image of the beautiful if broken promise of L.A.’s freeways.

From there, it continues! Angelenos will get a taste of life in the L.A. River from Andrew Wilcox’s Stalking Carp, while historians will be unable to deny the power of the legendary Luis Rodriguez’s How Xican@s Are the Makeweight of Los Angeles’s Past, Present, and Future.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to have some fun with L.A. in the comfort of home on the couch or underneath the breeze and shade of its palm trees, LAtitudes will not let you down.

In true L.A. fashion, the book will refresh the reader’s imagination of the metropolis, one fantastic intersection at a time. For this, it gets The L.A. Storyteller’s full approval.

J.T.

Los Angeles: Origins

Question: tell me again, what a city is?

From The Free Dictionary:

cit•y

(ˈsɪt i)

n., pl. cit•ies.

1. a large or important town.
2. (in the U.S.) an incorporated municipality, usu. governed by a mayor and council.
3. the inhabitants of a city collectively: The entire city is celebrating.

A follow-up question: What is the point of a city? I mean, what is its mission or objective?

From City of Quartz:

“The mission literature [of Los Angeles] depicted the history of race relations as a pastoral ritual of obedience and paternalism: ‘graceful Indians, happy as peasants in an Italian opera, knelt dutifully before the Franciscans to receive the baptism of a superior culture, while in the background the angelus tolled from a swallow-guarded campanile, and a choir of friars intoned the Te Deum‘.”

In other words, the early players of ‘L.A.’ cast the city as a place where history just failed to take place as it did in the rest of the ‘free world’, or as a place where fairy tales proved the rule rather than the exception of the land? Certainly the image of graceful Indians ready to serve their Franciscan masters invokes the sense of an idyllic place to be. That is, if you’re in the position of the Franciscan master.

Why did the early players in L.A. do this, however? Or, with what objective?

Again, from Professor Davis:

“With sunshine and the open shop as their main assets, and allied with the great transcontinental railroads (the region’s largest landowners), a syndicate of developers, bankers and transport magnates led by Otis [Chandler, of The L.A. Times] and his son-in-law, Harry Chandler, set out to sell Los Angeles – as no city had ever been sold – to the restless but affluent babbitry of the Middle West.”

So what’s Mr. Davis saying about The City, then, that its only purpose was to be sold?!

So many questions, and so little time. But we’ll find a way.

With more soon,

J.T.