Day 76 – promise?

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Day 76
3:11 pm – 4:25 pm


Have you ever looked right in to the eyes of a young man
who knew not felt but knew he had no other option
than to enter the military like his uncles had when they
were his age just as soon as he graduated high school?

He knew he fucked up he had not studied well and hard
enough and the good grades he was making now were
all of too late and the appointment went well with the
recruiter and he could enter the military, he could

We were sitting in the counseling room of the after school
program and I was to advise him on some level of what
he could think about if he could get in to a Cal State since
that’ s where I came from but i had no point to offer really

We both knew he could not get in and his family needed him
to bring in money through a better job than the one he had or
join the army if he was to get an education at some point later
on when the government could pay, that’s what they promise

My suggestions were based on what I hoped were sound
political arguments that I hoped would plant a seed without
dismissing the reality of his family’s situation that I hoped
would somehow change but we both knew it would not

I had no idea that years later I would meet military reserves
who had still been waiting to receive credit for actual time
served so they could get on with their life and the college
education that had anticipated being able to engage in

He told me he did not really want to go but no one was hiring
for anything that would make much difference to his family
he would end up being another mouth to cover and I was not
armed with more pragmatic information to serve as warnings

What kind of promises are made to kids in desperate situations
that lead to a college kid helplessly trying to advise a high
school kid who gets no answers except for ones based on hope
which we both really wanted to have that day but we did not

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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