Felix Quintana

El Puente de Ayer

El Puente de Ayer | Digital Photograph | 24" x 30" | 2019

on space, rhythm, violence, and the blues

By Felix F. Quintana

Where on earth, in which soils and under what conditions will we bloom brilliantly and violently? – EJ Hill

I’ve been writing soliloquies in blue for tha ‘lil homies, flattening the distance between rhythm and concrete, like Mexican blankets that protect our fleeting, electric bodies from displacement. Before our souls get deleted, and as a necessary act of love, I choose to redeem this mystery of violence, in exchange for ancestral insight, through these drawings of light. Under what circumstances, will I be able to give meaning to these moments captured, and allow them to heal my city, my homies, and all of them? Must we go through this process – since the riots in ‘65 -- in order to appreciate this life lived? We never got a chance to lead. It’s facts -- we are still here, and there, like Lauren said.

Our soul still fight from being caught in this fat rat race. We take the bus endlessly back and forth from the Eastside to the West side, cleaning the houses of the bourgeois, raking leaves for the mainstream. A pain still sits, as the fact that the city took Nipsey with a bullet in his block. We were robbed by this, by ICE -- every black and brown body in plain sight. On Crenshaw Boulevard, we’re recognized to stay ready.

I flex these forms like Simon Rodia, from one diaspora to another -- in hopes of something deeply focused -- or even simply more than just below. A blueprint brought me here, like a light at the end of the Arroyo Seco tunnel -- whispering and often, howling from a distant depth. Also, we mourn the Compton Fashion Center, where ‘Pac once stood, full of that California buzz. Off Long Beach Boulevard, a site filled with triple extra-large and tall Pro Club white t-shirts, mixtapes of Chicano and black music, and vintage forms of Nike Cortez sneakers. We mourn that swoosh of last time, carrying these shadows from Compton and back to Boyle Heights.