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April 25, 2023

60 Towards Artesia Station

Jean-Pierre Rueda
60 Towards Artesia Station

The sun eats away

chunks of gray clouds

for the first time in weeks

revealing bright teal skies

when La Nostalgia touches my shoulder

asking if she may take the bus; window seat 

as I travel back home from Los Angeles

I oblige and recognize her face in the sunny rain

which started chipping away the blue clouds

after the bus makes its serpentine way

leaving several stops and blocks behind us

I listen attentively as she unravels the mundane

describing me memories from years ago

while we travel across downtown LA's

never-ending metropolitan facelift

of streets cracking, skyscrapers rising

businesses closing, windows boarding

graffiti scraping, new apartments stacking

traffic's hiccupping and inevitable halting

Nostalgia erases the cities around us

showing me recuerdos

I haven't seen outside of dreams

hometown neighborhoods

with Spanish names and rainy sundays

wrinkled streets where I scraped my knees

pretending I was scoring goles

in a barrio world cup,

whistling Los Enanitos Verdes;

Luz de Día as the golden hour

infuses yellow-red picotee begonias

to the skyline's blooming sunset

and gives hazel eyes to my late afternoon

reminding my words

how they turned to red diamonds

ruffling stars, roses and allegories

the first night I lost sleep writing love poems

She tells me to write these moments down 

or they'll be lost to the loose grip of El Olvido

A bell chimed announcement

tells me we've arrived at Compton

Before leaving, Nostalgia opens her hands

and shows me my childhood's heart

saying that I must have dropped it

somewhere between California

and where I am from

She whispers as she hands it back to me

"Si lo escribimos, nunca lo perdemos

si lo escuchamos, siempre lo encontraremos"

If we write it, we'll never lose it

if we listen to it, we'll always find it

As I walk home

I notice a trail of jacarandas 

like spring’s harbinger 

growing from the cracks

between February and March

I say it aloud as my heart starts writing

Jean-Pierre Rueda is a Costa Rican poet and writer based in Compton, California. Jean-Pierre released his first Spanish poetry collection Herencias through Alegría Publishing in 2021. His book discusses love, family, heritage and celebrates historical Latinx figures as monuments of artistic and cultural success. Jean-Pierre Rueda writes poetry to build bridges between his experiences as a Costa Rican immigrant growing up in California and the importance of art in the Latinx community to maintain their heritage alive. Jean-Pierre Rueda has performed his poetry at East LA Film Festival, Panamanian International Film Festival in LA, DA Center for the Arts, Chevalier’s Books, Village Well Bookstore, The Last Bookstore, RE/Arte Centro Literario, Café Con Libros and Sims Library of Poetry.

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