Day 71 – Los Angeles – 1

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Day 71
1:55 am – 3:11 am

Los Angeles – 1


This city is not obvious
It is not pretty, either

You may not parachute here
and land in amiable loveliness

For that, you will have to be
dropped off elsewhere

Pick a different metropolis
in the states

San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle,
New York, of course New York

Pick anywhere else
if you want easy or logical or sensible

If you desire accessible strolls or subways
from one neighborhood to the next

Ones where you don’t constantly feel
like the lone asshole crossing the street

You can, I believe,
at just about any time of day or day of the week

Go anywhere else and walk alone in the glory
of that particularly architecturally beautiful city

I experience splendor there in those places
my eyes dancing up and down with wonder

Full of people watching, never having to actually
speak to a one, just look and walk among them

It is, some say, all they could ever want and need
and if you agree, I say

Go there
Remain there if it is most comfortable for you

Or if you must
Or if you really want to try

You can come here
You can stay a while with our lady

You can not just visit
You must actually stay for a time

You will need wheels
You will need a map

You will need an intrepid spirit
You will need patience and time

And most of all
And, trust me, thank goodness for this part,

You will need

Los Angeles is not a stand-alone city

It is not in itself a jewel
It stands on the shoulders of its gems

The ones who know this city well enough
to explain the difference to starry-eyed tourists

The ones who can traverse a hipster scene and spot
the few raised in L.A. and the thousands who are not

The ones who know this city is a place that gnaws at
souls until they crack, just to see if they can take it

The ones who fight with the jaded for all they perpetuate
to fit this city and themselves into small silver screens

The ones you need to seek out and identify
if you are to survive past two days without traps

Those who are looking out for you as you are searching
for them, but you have to really mean it

The searching, that is
And once you are willing to work that hard

Then suddenly you find the gems who love you back
and loving this city becomes easy

Trust me

traci kato-kiriyama
{Los Angeles – 1 can be found in traci’s new collection of poetry, signaling
check out her website for details, links to other pieces from the book, performance and workshop dates}


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

2 responses to “Day 71 – Los Angeles – 1

  • bLcKtRsH

    ah yes. the porcupine bouqet parade on streets slick from intersections traced in lip stick.

    i tried to live there once over a five year span juggling the many me’s in a broken hand.

    reaching out to touch someone became a conundrum after being plastered just to socialize with kindness rejected on some kharmic credit card denial.

    and it was until I left that I had any regrets for not retracing the outline to the “$” on my chest.

    see you in san francisco.

  • fivethirty

    In 1951, Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make was published. It was a hundred-plus page love poem to his city. I think you would enjoy it.

    “Yet once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.” – Nelson Algren

    By and large, I think such qualities of Chicago Past have come to drape Los Angeles Present. And I think you have begun to capture it here. And I think the breadth of your arms can embrace it all. I trust you to say it, and I trust you.

    Wonderful piece, Day 71. Cheers.

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