Posts Tagged: Los Angeles California

The hope at the end of the year

I wish I could say
the end of the year
will erase all your pain,
make disgraces and crimes disappear,
kill the hatred on sale two-for-one at Safeway,

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flood the streets with winning lotto tickets,
give us the heart to be ourselves,
let us forego religion in favor of reason,
and install a second faucet
on everyone’s kitchen sink

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from which flows on demand
the finest Belgian chocolate sauce.
But that’s not going to happen.
America won’t get fixed,
won’t be America,

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won’t be great or even passable,
until people like these,
good people,
sweet people,
American people,

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are no longer sleeping on
concrete pillows on the streets,
seeing bullets and unicorns in their soup,
and eating manic-depressive tacos
from the labyrinths inside flaming dumpsters.

(Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, December 2017. See my other work here and here.)

25 Days in Tokyo—Zero day at LAX

In late October, 2015, I was in Tokyo, Japan for 25 days. I shot many photographs. This series presents the most interesting, compelling, or touching person or scene I saw each day I was there. Click here to see the previous entries.

It’s been a year to the day since I last traveled to Tokyo, and I should mention the rabbi. While waiting at LAX to board my Delta flight to Haneda I saw this beautifully-frumpy old man wearing a yarmulke. I was pretty sure what he was, so I left my place in the boarding queue to approach him.

I said “Are you a rabbi?”

“Yes,” he said.

“May I photograph you?”

He said nothing, but lifted his arms up wide in a gesture of acceptance and agreement.


I shot a couple of pictures of him. When he saw I was finished he asked me if I was Jewish.

“No, rabbi, but I respect your faith.”

“Respect is enough,” he said, then added “I am eighty-one years old.”

I didn’t respond, but his words made me wish my own father had lived that long.

By then the Delta staff were about to close the departure gate, so I left the rabbi sitting where he was and hoped he realized I wasn’t rude but just late. But rabbis that old probably have more patience than the god they worship.

(Terminal 5, Los Angeles International Airport 2015)

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