Day 163 – resting at the water; like weeds; Gloria

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Day 163
12:25 pm – 12:38 pm; 4:00 pm – 5:23 pm

resting at the water

at any
given moment

my mind
is often
sitting, sifting through
two years ago

or it is anxious
each taxing
of a story
a nightmare
a fantasy
that has yet
to occur
and likely
never will

if i can float
at the surface
for a minute
to nothing
but my breathing
as the water laps
against my ears

then i can hear

hard breaths

lightly twisting
my wrists
and ankles
stay afloat

in the moment

like weeds

Let us speak of peace like weeds
springing up through the sidewalks
on every street, so ardent and profound
it becomes impossible to kill


Several years ago
when money became
so tight I awoke one
night to a panic attack,
I tried unsuccessfully
to file for unemployment

I hadn’t lied correctly.

The man handling my
phone interview
said the work I was
focused on getting
as an artist
didn’t count since
the very last employer
to cut me a check me was
in the field of social service,
not art

But that is the hustle of
the artist,
I reasoned

We work everything, from
Fee to Free,
I explained

We work full-time,
All the time,
In addition
to purposely random
Day gigs,
for things like
Passion and Daily Bread,
I said

Didn’t matter.

Didn’t make enough sense.

Didn’t match what kind of work I was supposed to be
looking for.

Last year got tough again,
so I applied.

But this time it went through – phew!

Then came the phone interview.

But it was alright – phew!

But these days they require a check-up, an
appointment to make sure you’re on their track,
staying up with the correct CalJobs searches,
and again,
Came my waking to the stress this morning

What will they say today?

Grants I’ll attempt
to write, speaking
in classes, short
performances, bits
and pieces lined up
here and there
down the line,
Will it not count?
Is it not enough?
Well okay, I’m teaching a session of workshops now!
But hey, I’ll still need checks for a while!

For whatever
unfathomable reason,
I could completely
imagine them
cutting off my checks.

A plump face
With a mother’s voice
Called my name.

I sat down
At her big, clean desk
With a very large monitor,
Gave her my
Appointment papers.

I didn’t lie.

Said what I needed to say.

The truth and such
Showed her what I
have lined up, what
proposals are coming
down the pipe
And how I’m basically
working my ass off.

I took a big breath.

She leaned forward,
Looked at me
Right in the eye,

Told me,
Her only
Son is a young music

Sometimes he has
Sometimes he has

He borrows my car,
Had to have his
Motorcycle towed,

He never asks me
For money,
Tells me he’s fine,

I like to tell him,
Son, I’m your sponsor.
You take this $20
It will make me happy.

you go.

And good luck.
And when you get
Your big job, come back
And tell me.

My name is Gloria.

She never even turned
on her computer.

Sweet. Justice.



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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