shoreline under blue sky

Eagle Owls

Each of us will watch the world unfurl into the greatest and most arduous of journeys

Facing the heaviest of winds and the steepest of earths

We will do this, and we will be challenged by this

And we will have to learn from this

Even when we feel entirely alone

Alone and away from home
No extra lifeline over-the-phone

Just one heart
And two lungs

Beating over a fractal of tired bones

We will grow tired, and we will grow impatient,

We will grow angry, and we will grow to feel unrecognizable to ourselves

We will be pushed by this journey, cornered and exhausted by its unimaginable lengths

But when we are—-

When we are,

Just remember who you are

And how you are

Remember that you’re formed by the nexus of a community;

That you come from the same earths and the same winds that seem to push you;

Remember that you come from a million stars, and one;

And that you are here to rise, fall, and re-emerge

Only stronger;

Like our bodies in the ocean

Setting free our minds over the crashing, thunderous waves;

This is who you are, and how you are.

J.T.

CirculatinG

While young, we stood tall against each other
Without knowing we were mountains.

Now grown, we stand alone, though
Betraying surfaces like fountains.

Mounting finite time and space,
We turn into the earth again,

The way knowledge turns to wisdom,
Only to become unknown again.

J.T.

This poem is dedicated to every brother, friend and neighbor gone too soon from our communities.

blossoming branch of tree against blue sky

Tunisia Nelson: Standing in Remembrance of Mary Lee

Standing in remembrance of Mary Lee
I TIP her hat with pride
Red as Bold & Courageous
Strong as she Identified

The true definition of what it means to be…
A Woman after God’s own heart
The pillar of this family
Proverbs 31 in human form

To know her was to love her, if not to envy her kind, subtle ways
She owned SWAG before it was even a thing
She created the Formation, you hope & dream
To be anything like Mary Lee
A conqueror of much

She is a survivor of more than you will ever know
Her faith made it seem as if she towered, despite her petite frame
Cancer couldn’t take her and the devil couldn’t break her

She made a mean peach cobbler!
The kind you are willing to sneak in the kitchen, eat up,
And get a whooping for.

A sacrificer of much
In a pinch she knew just what to do
Head High, Speaking Her mind,

For ALL that, and more, Grandma,
I tip YOUR hat to YOU!

TN

Tunisia Nelson is a writer, born in Los Angeles but raised in Bakersfield, CA and currently residing in Moreno Valley, CA. She is a VONA Alum and has published poems in the Eunoia Review, Iō Literary Journal, and Refractions, an online literary journal. She received a BA in Psychology from Cal Poly Pomona, and an MSW from Cal State Long Beach. Tunisia dedicates this poem to her grandmother, one of the most faithful and prayerful women she was blessed to have known, who also made the best peach cobbler, hands down, and who loved her family with every fiber in her. Her memory deserves to live on and this poem is paying her homage, letting her know she is so very missed.

A pigeon sits atop a lamp post in East Hollywood, Los Angeles

99 Problems but a Blog is not one; a Bookmark for J.T.’s Pandemic in Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 99)

The following is an arrangement of headlines on J.T. celebrating 99 consecutive days of blogging for Los Angeles since the start of the pandemic here. Each line represents a blog, a meditation on the city, an ode, a love letter. Feel free to type any line into the “search” bar on the site to delve into more for our communities:

Schoool (For the students of Los Angeles)
J.T. The L.A. Storyteller is now on Spotify
Exhaling
Super Pan Bakery of the Virgil Village is being displaced from our community
Get your first ever Los Snapbacks by Jimbo Times
Two Sides of Wonder (An 8th grade student’s poem on being)
Get your first ever Los Hoodies by Jimbo Times
West Hollywood makes way: All Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles
Three months after shut-down, L.A. “reopens” while both COVID-19 and LAPD budget remain uncontained, posing the greatest risk to Black, Latino, and AAPI communities
LAPD will receive nearly 1.9 billion dollars next year while housing & community investment will lose millions
Today, put your sunscreen on and get ready for another walk, Los Angeles
Nahshon D. Anderson: Don’t just Black out now; support queer & trans writers of color
America’s greatness has always been measured by the scale of white violence
Victor Avila: Hope Amid Stones both Tall and Gray
Better late than never: Educating one young hyena in Los Angeles, Part I
Five times David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest FAILS
On Metro’s Gold Line in Los Angeles
Home by the 101 Freeway
Dealing with our news cycle
Tap Cards Out: How L.A. Metro Normalizes Policing, Jailing, Penalizing People of Color
Submit your writing
Bethanee Epifani: Looks Can Kill a Whole Vibe: An Excerpt from Don’t Fall Prey!
Jeremy Tong: A Remembrance for Demetrio Zuniga Farias, Mayor of Breed Street
Meg Rakos: Supay & New York City: Two Adventures, One Destiny
With Demons in the Room
Thelma T. Reyna: Old Habits
Beverly M. Collins: The Mist
Julieta Galan: Memories of our reality
A Strand of Humanity (An 8th grade student’s poem on this COVID-19 season)
Nery Edwin Monroy: Loving Father, Tío to Many
Waiting Again, Los Angeles
Why all 15 L.A. City Council Members should now resign
I Knew (A 7th grade student’s poem on Doubt)
Coronavirus lands in East Hollywood, Silver Lake
In a Box, Hidden from My View, Lies a Record
East Hollywood Can Do Better by its Kids
Episode 16 – Japanese Americans on the East Side of L.A.
Home Again
CONTACT
It’s going to be another trailblazing summer in East Hollywood
How to beat Summer 2019: Part I
How to beat Summer 2019: Part II
How to beat Summer 2019: Part III
Don’t Be One Who You Are Not (A 7th grade student’s poem on Identity)
Rap Heat Coming from a Latino: Music in L.A. with Sal Roses
BONUS: How to Outline Your Summer 2019
5 Tips for when 4th of July Sucks
5 NOs to remember with your fams this Summer
Twenty (-Six) Years After the L.A. Riots: How Things Have Changed
We Meet Again Los Angeles
Making Face, Making Soul (1990)
10 Ways Not to Beat Summer 2019
Secret Agent: How to Discover your Neighborhood in Los Angeles
When I Rest My Temple
Asi Somos Los Angeles
10 Things We Learned from an Incredible Time at Our Back to School Party this August 25th, 2018
The Fight for Los Angeles continues: Meet Diana Mabel Cruz
Los Angeles is in Fashion: Meet Mauricio Zelada
“Homelessness” in Los Angeles Today is the Result of Decades of American Discrimination
This year: Thank you Los Angeles
How LAUSD’s Teacher Problem is a Moment of Truth for Progressive Future of California
Motivating Vibes: Music in L.A. with Jon Quest
Virgil Village Loses Anthony ‘Lil Sleepy’ Ruiz
A 7th Grade Student’s Poem for Black Lives in Los Angeles
We Will Not be Erased: How Open Mics in Our Community Uplift our Cultural History
BEE STING (A 7th Grade Student’s Poem on Doubt)
Black and Brown in Los Angeles: Beyond Conflict and Coalition (2013)
Tony Bao Tang: Song Unsilenced
By Escalating the Police State, Mayor Garcetti is Officially L.A.’s First White Supremacist Mayor of the 21st Century
What a Ride, Los Angeles; Our Final Flyer for BTS 2 is Now Live
Redlining in Los Angeles
The Soft Graze and the Pitch (An 8th grade student’s poem on Doubt)
Top 5 DON’Ts with your friends this Summer
A reflection on Father’s Day for every working-class father, and all the mothers who also play the role in Los Angeles
Our 2nd Annual Back to School Party is about fulfilling a need, lunging forward
José Ocampo: I Wanted School to Be Over
Top 5 NOs to Remember with Relationships this Summer
The Path of Togetherness (An 8th grade student’s poem on Growth)
Food Justice in East Hollywood is growing fruits & veggies at Madison Ave Community Garden
You are allowed to press reset, Los Angeles
Episode 17 – Rick’s Produce Uplifts Families with Free Fruits & Veggies
Kevin Walton King: During Trauma, Crisis, and Times of Transition, Love is Essential
About
In Pictures: Marching for Justice Along Compton boulevard for Andrés Guardado
Please sign your name to the petition calling for justice for Andrés Guardado, an 18 year old fatally shot by the L.A. County sheriff’s department
This Juneteenth: Emancipate History to Make Way for a New Future in Los Angeles
Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997)
Los Angeles is not represented by its elected officials. It is trembling on the knees of the dying men and women of its sidewalks
Helena Maria Viramontes: Their Dogs Came with Them (2006)
Summer has arrived in Los Angeles, and J.T. is going to Publishing School with LARB
Madison Block Loses a Little Brother for the Ages, Fernie “Belok” Puga
Donate to Our 2nd Annual Back to School Party this Summer 2019
Jose Huizar Proves How L.A. City Hall Serves Foreign Millionaires While Jailing and Displacing its Poorest Residents
Subscribe to J.T. The L.A. Storyteller
We Raise It: A Poem for Los Youngs During These Times
Sign Your Name to Support Police-Free Libraries in Los Angeles
El Cipitío (2016), the new Cipitío
The LACC community must now reclaim its campus from the L.A. County sheriff’s department
Home page/Archives

J.T.

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A Poem Born in L.A.

Like a true son

Of Los

It keeps rising

Like a true heir

Of Los

It keeps lifting

Ocean grains,
Earth rains,
Desert range

Stars changed


When they renamed
Los,

Los Cuentos.

Es tiempo.
Lo Siento
Los Angeles

It’s

Cuentos’

Time.

J.T.

School Us

School of hard knocks, they say
But name one that be soft, in L.A.

All these cops trying to press with your day,
In our city it’s the price that you pay,

But you’ll learn how to make it, okay
Yeah, you’ll learn how make your own way

To be true in this city so blue,
And still be you during,
Each of its hues.

J.T.

Gold Line, Chinatown; Winter 2019

Look up from the deep, the static

All you see is what was,

what is
apparently,
enough.

Lungs inhaling, people slipping
past a line.

Space collapsing on itself;
time churning, slipping, sulking.

Light pulsing,
passing,
placing,

itself

on a face it’s seen before, or a billion of them

Only to leave them,
fading endlessly
into darkness.

Or what’s called darkness,
death, or a dead end. The abyss.

A dark point; or a point within itself.

A point not going anywhere, lying still in the middle of space.

A point trapped within itself, frozen,
suspended, sucked of all its time.

A point alive only when it’s named, but at no other point in time.

No other–
What’s the point

Getting larger and larger into emptiness.

Universe unfurling into a big empty nothing.

All forms of life fading, disintegrating from light, proceeding into darkness

Fragmenting into space

outer,
empty,
space.

Just space, taking space, creating space,
transforming

gone.

space.

A point lying amid a billion other empty spaces just like it.

A point nearly breathless, though still heaving.

A point nearly obliterated, but still funneling

A point; a consciousness

still percolating information

transmitting noise into

this.

Pointless roads. Until now.

Breaking ground until BROKEN

A howl throttling from eons away

A vision spiraling from the blood of these open veins,

A dream:

HOW tomorrow we rise again.

Look up from the deep, the static

All of time and space,

The stars.

They are still OURS.

J.T.