Day 49 – among mentors

Monday, October 19, 2009
Day 49
12:49 am – 2:19 am

among mentors

Going through memories in conversation tonight among long missed peers,
I recalled a few beloved mentors and our journey together

Those whom we sought out and who looked after us with powerful suggestion,
gentle nudging, tough love, and guidance, endless guidance

We asked, and they often obliged us with war stories, tales of romance,
and the triumph and lessons of trial, so many trials

Just when I thought I knew everything, there they were to remind me of my time lived,
the difference of time, doing…the difference of time, lived

They taught us the power of asking questions and learning to recognize all those
times we were definitely forgetting ourselves

I think the year was 1993

(where were you then, my friend?)

That was about when we met Mr. To
He insisted that we call him James,
and although we did, he remained
in some ways, Mr. To in our heads

He was older than us
Not old-enough-to-be-my-father older
But older nonetheless, with a carriage of years
in life outside of our special collegiate bubble

He offered a valid friendship, no doubt
But his role as a mentor to us
garnered nothing less than our respect
and a healthy degree of reverence

He let us ask many questions,
encouraged us to take hold of reigns,
make mistakes, make action of talk,
and have courage to make decisions

(think very hard, now,
of the last time you posed a question)

He would have been perplexed
by the likes of you,
perhaps representative
of a new generation?

One that studies meticulously,
has doubtless technological advancement
and finely-read maturity, speaks well and often,
and almost never asks questions?

(if i am right, what a shame)

i wonder if i am right to suspect
that for all intents and little purpose
you will deny much difference
from one younger to one older

and I can’t help but ponder
if it is possible that you
simply don’t remember the
year you were actually born

or if, when you meet someone
who offers you their first name,
you take it without thinking,
without question

i could never introduce you to Mr. To
it might be too much for me
to hand you an opportunity
and watch you talk all over it

traci kato-kiriyama


About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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