While I should be writing my dissertation, which, I’m learning & realizing, just as I’ve read all over the place & have been told countless times by peers & mentors, is mostly a psychological struggle, I am instead feeling terribly nostalgic & melancholic. I would like to write an essay about this at some point but if I did that now, I’d feel guilty for not working on the dissertation. So, some quick notes:
1. I confess: Kobe’s last game, Mamba Day, had me thinking about familia, lolas, lolos, friends. I thought much about Filipina/o elders who would proudly rock their Lakers jerseys at family parties. I thought much about my uncles who would rock Lakers hats, the bill bent like mad, & the yellow a little dirty with car grease &/or marks from the asphalt.
2. A few days ago, I discovered that the Starbucks on Mira Mesa Blvd., across the street from Target, where all of the elderly Filipino men would play chess & talk about the Philippines all day long, shut down. A friend of mine & I had talked about doing a photo documentary project on this group of men. They have been gathering here for as long as I can remember. For at least a decade. I would ride with some of them on the bus. They’d be carrying plastic bags full of bottlers of water & other belongings. They’d have sweaters in hand just in case it got a little chilly. They’d get off at Camino Ruiz & walk straight to the Starbucks tables. Driving down Mira Mesa Blvd., I noticed that a new Starbucks, one with a drive-thru, was about to open. Today, I drove by that newly opened Starbucks & was pleased & relieved that the same Filipino elders were playing chess outside of that Starbucks. There has to be something profoundly complex to say here about spatial politics, refuge, & imperial Starbucks. What I’ll say now is that I miss my elders.
3. A few hours ago, driving down University Ave. in North Park, I saw that Claire de Lune’s is closed, gone, gone for good. Claire de Lune’s use to host one of the hottest poetry open mics in San Diego over a decade & a half a ago: Poetic Brew. I featured there both with the Freedom Writers & by my lonesome. That place would be packed with folks wanting hear some poetry. This was the reading series at which the wonderfully talented Benny Heron of the Taco Shop Poets was shoved/semi-punched by a transient dude who didn’t quite know what was going on. Poetic Brew ended some time ago. But I always made it a point to grab a coffee or work for a little bit at Claire de Lune’s, even as their hours of operation started getting shorter. I noticed across the street that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is playing tonight at the Observatory, formerly known as North Park Theater. Wow: North Park hipsters & Bone. Yeezus Christ.
I should just write dissertation about nostalgia & melancholy.