to the airwaves,

i wish i could broadcast into the world.  i used to record myself while I drove back and forth from San Diego to Gardena, spilling my guts into my little voice recorder.  I would sing, rant, cry, laugh, tell stories of my childhood, words of advice that i’ve heard over and over again.  the best thing about that was that i imagined that my stories would affect someone other than myself.  the hope that i wasn’t alone.  that i was connected with others that felt my same pain, isolation, feelings, thoughts.  i just wanted to feel apart of something bigger than myself, attached to a network of those who were passionate about similar things.

hi, this is ann “a’misa” chiu, and its almost my bedtime, except we drank coffee with dessert tonight and therefore will be up for the next couple of hours, maybe getting high, or fooling around the house, or surfing facebook waiting for more people to update their statuses at 3am.  i’ve been listening to the radio a lot lately because of my new commute to west LA.  I believe that westwood and santa monica is the asshole of Los Angeles, dirty, mean, and nasty.  The traffic is the worst and my road rage isn’t as intense because i’m beginning to not care about anyone.  I mean, I was in stop and go traffic, mean you, I drive stick, so my left leg is getting quite ‘buff’, and this man is exposing himself on westwood.  Like straight up, pants down, poop butt mooning all the people in traffic.  He seemed a bit crazy–not at least not quite there.  But still, butt naked at 4pm.  It made my drive all that more interesting and I didn’t mind that everyone was cutting me off, right and left, honking and cussing and texting with both hands.  This doesn’t make me feel confident about those driving around me. I sense an accident everyday and pray that it isn’t my car they are careeming into.  Speaking of outrageous accidents, did you hear about the death of the poor baby at the last LA artwalk?  Alex and I were 2 blocks down from the accident, and I guess LA is taking more precaution for traffic safety and crowd control.  It gets pretty crazy for the artwalk, like everyone suddenly becomes a bit maniac and tries to absorb as much art and culture as possible in a span of 2 hours.  People elbowing and throwing jabs to get through the thick swarm of people.  Back to the airwaves, maybe its just rambling that I would do, but I hope to inspire those who would bother to listen. Play some old folk music and read aloud from a random book.  Recite a poem or two, learn to beat box. Maybe its the rebellion and revolution that attracts me. In the last 2 days, I’ve watched two inspiring movies.  The first is Machete, and the second is Pump Up the Volume.  Both deal with the masses standing up and fighting for what they believe in.  Both deal with characters that are a bit legendary in their own rights, that they represent symbols of hope and justice for their respective communities.  I wish to be apart of that hope and justice.  I wish to be a play in this revolution.  I know that my role is intrinsic to the resistance.  That there is too much that wishes to push us down, devalue our time and energy into creating art, tell us that it isn’t worth it, that we need to get a better job, that we shouldn’t waste our lives.  I say, fuck that attitude. Without the makers and players of art, where would the state of your imagination be?  Where would innovation be?  Where would invention come into play?

Audre Lorde says that poetry is a necessity, that is the agency that it takes to write that gives women autonomy.  And with that, god bless.

peace and power to the people, a’misa


Dear My Dear

Oops, you dropped your hanky on the floor, and pardon, we almost bumped heads.  And as I scurried away from you, embarrassed of my foibles and quite clumsy nature, I forgot to hand back your hanky.  I was holding it, feeling the lace and cotton on my fingertips.  It smelled of dried yellow flower muddled with a faint hint of chamomile and lavender.  It smelled of a sunny day on a wide open meadow, of running around and getting nettles and grass blades stuck in your braids.  The breeze rushed through you like a spirit gliding across the water, straight into you, inhabiting you, feeling and being you.  Did it leave, or did it find its home in you, the breeze, I mean.

I should have called out your name, that you forgot something.  Oh dear, my dear, you forgot your… But no sound came forth. I muttered, h..h…h…e..llo.  Sounding like a king’s speech, my honest pauper’s prayer.  You walked away and I was left holding something of yours.  I followed you across the courtyard, since unabled with speech.  My legs moved and I kept my eye on your flittering and thrashing fabric of the blue dress you wore that day.  The town was busy and bustling, like any mid-morning mid-week ever was, and I tailed you for the duration of your walk.  You disappeared suddenly, you must have dodged into a building and gone up into your living quarters.  I took to get a cofffee and write you this note, while I look for a door to place it upon, so I can give you back your hanky and buy you some coffee.


Dear Tiff,

I’ve been writing to you for years.  Our giggles wrapped inside of a teatowel, blown into a great big conch shell, tucked into the torned pile of napkin that settles into a comfortable mound on the table of a local denny’s diner.  We had pulled all of our teeth out that night, we needed money the next day.  Was it Disneyland, or camp? Dental floss and a doorknob, just like in the movies. We ripped out about six teeth that night, and were rolling in dollar bills by the weekend.  Our mouths took the sacrifice, as we ached and spoke softly for days to come.  Our remaining molars reveled in the glorious melting sugar crystals of cotton candy and funnel cake at some amusement park somewhere in orange county.

Question:  Do you like roller coasters?  I forget, if I even like roller coasters.  I use to love them.  Screaming, and on the brink of that point where your stomach flip flops.  We once did cherry bombs off the jungle gym.   One girl slammed her face into the sand, I just saw her tonight, this time as a Nisei Week princess.  Royalty as politicians is interesting.

I am praying for you my sister.  Praying that you are safe from harm, and that you are happy.  The air is gettting thicker out here.  I inhale the smoke daily, and smoke in myself.  We might move soon, to be closer to those like you.  Be amongst that which speaks truth.  It’s hard sometimes out here, dark and lonely.  The crows have talons and hop around near my front door.  Write back soon.  [love, a]

Dear Fate,

There you were dressed in soft brown, a cloak charged with destiny, chanting unrelentlessly, so that one cannot challenge nor dictate the future events of self, but merely listen to the all-encompassing sound of your voice, echoing through the caves of the present.  You did not whispher, you did not shout.  You spoke.  You said the facts of life, you told me that time stands and teeters on the edge of one’s own reality.  That if one does not take hold, take agency of now, then off jumps time, leaving the now devoid of anything other than nothingness.  There you stood, speaking the simple truths of yesterday and tomorrow.  I’d like to think that you are waiting for me to do something with my life, to take control, to change the world, to take a stand.  I’d like to think that you are hoping to see the potential in me.  You stand, and speak, you are as you are.  And I guess, I was listening.  [trying to be hopeful with an unhopeful attitude, just not wanting to give up, a’misa]

Dear Nina Revoyr,

You are just as much a mystery as the characters that you spin.  I am only reading the second book written by you, and already you have weaved a character that I relate to so much, and yet she is so different than myself.  You mention all the places of my past, of my own history, and yet have tapped into a connection with the people of Los Angeles that I so greatly cannot tear myself away from, though I have dreamt of leaving this place since high school days.  As you write a story where Leuzinger High School and Inglewood High are the backdrops to two girls lives, I remember driving home on 135th street, near Rosecrans, right across a street from Leuzinger.  Nina, did you live in Gardena?  You must have done your research, because lady, you seem to know more about the history of a people, than I, who am from the people that live and breath this small city.  There is something wonderfully honest about revealing the community of the local African Americans and the Japanese Americans.  Both of your stories, so far have been about this multi-racial relationships, about these two communities coming together and developing identities from these experiences.  If only someday I can craft a story that may depict such beautiful mosaic of friendship and love, of the local store owners and those who live nearby.  Of gentrification of cities, the incline and decline of wealth, and those stuck in the middle, just watching as communities consistly change and the people are replaced and displaced.  Thank you for your stories, for they are much more than that to me.  You have crafted a history that I can relate to, and feel, and be moved by.  [gratefully yours, a’misa]

To the upcoming week,

Last week left me feeling exhausted by Saturday, and today was the attempt of a productive day, which ended up in a stomachache and a post-nap drowsiness that will lead in the eventual procrastination of things I must carry through.  Lately the fire to do things hasn’t been there, and I keep feeling a lack of progression, as if the art suffers when my body gives to give into the ever-heavy weight of an on-going momentum.  I question daily what is the meaning of calling, whatever if I am sweating and working after something that can never satisfy, and either I nor anyone is truely transformed or affected.  This is one’s greatest fear, that all the effort will spill vainly into drains that drip the time and money and effort back into the sea.  I watch as everything has it floats by me, and wonder why I am so disattached from the debris that drifts by.  My thoughts do not linger on the stream of litter, but upon all that I have disappointed in the end.  I see myself disappointed.  I wonder why I am so sad, why I feel that I had failed, and what were my original idealisms?  I see people smiling, laughing and talking carefreely in the park.  I want this feelings of vacation, of relaxing, of enjoying the moment.  I lie by head upon a pillow of fears, and let each fear disappear, float away by the wind, leaving me feeling strong and ready to wake up tomorrow and face another week.  [crawling, a’misa]

Dear Grandmother’s Bureau,

You beckoned me when I was blurry-eyed and dreaming.  I was lying down on my back, trying hard to sleep, trying hard to shut off that that doesn’t like to sleep for the night, trying to focus on the breathing, focus on the darkness, focus on rest.  But out of the night, the cupboard made of deep maple, carved with intricate design and laced with my parents love to my grandmother’s happiness: it called out to me.  One drawer in particular hummed in the darkness, as if a soul was kept inside, as if something was loved and cherished so much that it retained parts of her, parts of her that got lost when her memory slowly slipped away.  It called out to me, hummed through the night, pierced through the steady buzz of the ceiling fan and the rhymatic breathing of my husband dozing besides me.  I opened my eyes, and there you were, just standing still in the midnight light.  I moved old painting, a 3 burner crockpot we receieved as a wedding gift and a box of cds.  i opened the drawer, and smelled her immediately.  Like Arpage.  Like my mother and her mother and her mother, i wonder.  will i smell like this as a memory?  The paper that lined the drawer smelled of dust and memories, of Bach putting on lipstick before latching on her heels to go dancing.   She was a busy lady, always spending Friday and Saturdays flirting with all the men at the Nisei socials, and mesmerizing them with her fluidity on the dancefloor.  They swooned as she leaned in to whispher hello.  They remember the smell of her perfume as she pranced away.  The smell that lingered for days in their minds for days. [memories of you, a’misa]