Gold/Rush - Emma Rosenthal Photography


Gold/ Rush

 By Emma Rosenthal

(station names in quotations)

The Gold Line is a smooth ride
Of light rail above and below the city
A narrative of twists and turns
Through back yards and cityscapes

From the bright colored storefronts
Stucco walls
 And murals
Of East Los

West to downtown artists lofts
High rise concrete dispossessions
Of hipster cooooooool

East again through northeast
To manicured exclusive enclaves of
South Pasadena and the Sierra Madre foothills

Mechanical voice calls out each station
Some names
 Vestiges of momentum
We a migratory species
Our wild diversity
Land here in this zone of human destiny

"Mariachi Plaza"
"Little Tokyo"

Sip a civilized saffron broth at
 Traxx restaurant in Union Station
Cathedral personae
Whispers and catechistic announcements from above
Marking time

In the thirties
The departure point
These silent halls of reunion and dispersal
Of thousands 
 Destination: Mexico
 No vacation departure
No day trip
 No commute to school or work
Just long lines of familias forced to the other side of a line that crossed them over

Vaulted ceilings
Saltillo tiled floors
Civilized conversations
We know how to behave
What is expected of us in public places
Appropriate decorum
Scurrying from here to there
Not here not there
Do we know of the bones on which we tread?
Under the boot of colonization
This mastadon of Spanish architecture in the center of the
Cuidad de Los Angeles

We bump and bustle
Do we care about the lives we press up against?
As we hurry the city through plates of glass and rail?

"Memorial Park"
"Highland Park"

Not Chumash not Nahuatl
Only the language of conquest
Monuments to the conquista
(Save for a few glyphs in Cypress Park
a token memory)

Do we know?
Where we go?
Where we are from?

The SouthWest Museum once told the story
 But the cowboy Autry Center took away
The bones
Tools spun over thousands of years

The Arroyo Seco
 Disregarded like gum wrappers and soda cans
The lullaby of the rails and the rush of the city
We are here to forget
To get to work

Ni de aqui ni de alla
The tale does not tell the truth
At Lake there is no lago
There is no sea at Del Mar