Gold Rush
By Emma Rosenthal
(stations in italics)

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

PHOTOGRAPH: “Metro Goldline, Boyle Heights” (6/14/12) from the series: L.A. Paradise Chimera: Gold Rush by Emma Rosenthal.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ PHOTOGRAPHER: Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, urban farmer, human rights activist, and award winning emerging photographer living in Southern California. Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability, she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large.¶ Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. And is impassioned, sensual, political, life-affirming, and powerful. She explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection, and human transformation.¶ She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Noble, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine, Pasadena City College, and Hyperpoets. ¶ Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild, and Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College (Light Among Shadows: Human Rights Heroes) and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, California. Find more of her work at