Below This City Are the Bones of My Ancestors, Above Are the Names of Conquerors

Below This City Are the Bones of My Ancestors, Above Are the Names of Conquerors

[photo credit: David Martínez]

As I rounded the corner of the Asian Art Museum, I was struck by what I saw in the middle of Fulton Street, in front of the San Francisco Public Library. Despite how multicultural and cosmopolitan the City by the Bay has become over the generations, there are instances like this one that hearken back to a bygone era in which men raised monuments to their self-proclaimed destiny as pillagers and conquerors. For me, California is a snake biting its own tail. It is the alpha and omega of a civilization built on the ashes of others, including those who were Indigenous to places like the peninsula that is now home to San Francisco, not to mention those who sought their fortune here, only to be eaten up by poverty, fire, and earthquakes. As I’m looking at this picture now, I’m listening to a song by Erika M Anderson, a singer-songwriter better known as EMA, whose song ‘California’ keeps playing through my mind:

“You never seen the ocean,
You never been on a plane,
Schizophrenia rules the brain,
Aliens coming to take you away,
You’re still my favorite Past Life Martyred Saint.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s