Los Angeles Does Have Writers

It was a literary smorgasbord attending Lit Fest in Pasadena, California this past weekend. Above, pictures of a panel discussion between Olga García, Daniel A. Olivas, Michael Sedano, Melinda Palacio, and René Colato Lainez, all of La Bloga, or what Michael Sedano refers to as “the world’s longest-established Chicana Chicano Latina Latino literary blog.”

Sedano kicked things off with a discussion of La Bloga’s origins, telling of how the blog first came onto the scene in the early 2000s when the web was still a nebulous space for just a handful of “bloggers,” or literary enthusiasts with webpages.

Imagine that.

What followed were engaging reflections by each author about the extent of their writings on La Bloga, and how their work on the website has also branched out into several books, publishing titles, workshops, and more throughout Los Angeles, California, and around the world.

The writers also told of travails with the written word, the continual learning or ‘updating’ process of marketing their work, and even about how Facebook has actually banned La Bloga citing its security systems, which the whole world knows are obviously impenetrable.

In other words, the discussion was a home-run for the city of Pasadena, and by extension, for Los Angeles. The event was also certainly this Chicano literary geek’s homecoming wish come true, and after gaining the panel’s permission to snap a few photos of their lively conversation, I shivered just so slightly as I told them about JIMBO TIMES: a website dedicated to Los Angeles, the pueblo, by yours truly, where the photos would be featured.

The panelists nodded and smiled with their approval, and right then and there a part of me knew that Los Angeles had again just grown by leaps and bounds before the stars.

J.T.

Los Angeles, so you know

It is quite possible, maybe even nearly guaranteed, that I will not be there on your final day. That is, in the final moment that defines that day. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but if I did it would just be untrue.

I wish it didn’t have to be so simple. I wish I didn’t have to be so wrapped up in myself just like everyone else, and I wish that I could summon the superpowers I always dreamt of one day having, so that I could be in two places at once after all; so that I could be as much the magic to you, as you’ve been to me over the course of so many days.

I am only human, however. A being bound by two hands and two feet, with just one heart and one mind connecting each of these extensions to the body. Even if in my mind I can fly, the rest of the time I’m pulled to the earth by gravity like every other one of the planet’s organisms.

What’s more, even if I could actually fly through time and space, the truth is that I would still have to leave one part of myself to get to you on the other side. This I could not do.

Last night, at the peak of dawn there was a tremor through the earth. I could not fly and get away. Nor could you. Instead we both had no choice but to bear the weight and worry of the tumble that marked the earth’s transformation, a transformation all but guaranteed to continue indefinitely, or at least, long past either one of us.

We had to be somewhat brave, Los Angeles. For a moment each of us faced the specter of being taken from one another and the impending doom thereof. Yet there we were. We made it through the strenuous trek. Now, we continue with our own transformation through the times. We are living, breathing organisms too, after all, each of us with whole worlds to fill out through these things.

That said, there will also be a time when one of us cannot make it. On that day, even with all the bravery in the universe coursing through our veins, we will still be broken through. Separated both from one another and within ourselves, the sky will be blotted out by an endless sense of abandon. We’ll then be left to course through the dark of the night as new, less certain selves. Broken selves.

That brokenness is also likely to extend through the course of more than just one night. It may even take a lifetime to adapt to a world without one another, but we will once again transform through this. It is our destiny to expand into the universe through each of the events that happen to us, and through those we happen to. Indeed, without this indefinite transformation, I could not write this note to you today, nor any of the notes we’ve shared. And even if the notes one day vanish, I’ve got a feeling they could only disappear to take time and space in another form, too.

Of course, there will only be one Los Angeles through the course of time and space, just as there will be only one JIMBO TIMES to express so uncompromisingly such a fervent dedication to Los Angeles.

But in the meantime, with what time and space is still left, I want to express my gratitude for everything we’ve been able to form together.

You have made me, Los Angeles, and I can only hope in some way I’ve made you too.

When the time comes to remake ourselves even beyond one another, then, even if I can’t be there to say goodbye, I trust each of us will still remake ourselves well, just as we have for so long.

Bravely, uncompromisingly, and indefinitely, you have my best in this journey.

And remember that we have to keep going, Los Angeles.

Indeed, the rest of the pueblos out there depend on us doing just so.

J.T.

Waiting Again, Los Angeles

We wait and we wait and we wait. Patiently. Lovingly. Anguished.

We wait for our schools to be safe,

For our streets to be cleaned,
For our vecindades to have jobs,
And for our kids to walk through these spaces without being criminalized.

We wait for our neighbors to stop leering at us,

For their dogs to stop barking at us,
For them to stop calling the police on our tios,
And for them to stop acting as if we entered their havens.

We wait for our landlords to answer our calls,

For our faucets to have clean water,
For our rent to be stabilized,
And for our roofs to stop caving in on us every time it rains.

We wait for our clinics to admit us without discriminating us,

For our doctors to work with us instead of just getting rid of us,
For our ‘coverage’ to stay put without our having to reapply,
And for healthcare that isn’t based on our (in)ability to pay.

We wait for our jobs to pay livable wages,

For our coworkers to stop bullying us,
For our interviewers to stop merely using our names,
And to work for our communities rather than just for the owners in our communities.

We also wait for these billionaires to stop bloating our veins,

For our ‘checks and balances’ to check and balance the ‘foundations’,
For our greatest pollutants, the GMs and the Exxon Mobiles, to be reined in,
And we for ‘officials’ who don’t call for these things only when it’s election season.

Finally, we wait for the courts to stop feeding on our vulnerability as these other waits manifest,

For any assistance in our resistance through these struggles to view us as partners rather than helpless,

For another way of life to finally arrive,

And for it to get here before it’s too late for another one of our babies.

We wait patiently. Lovingly. Anguished.

But the past has yet to die.

When is it time, Los Angeles.

J.T.