A Rose Grows in Richmond

A Rose Grows in Richmond

Blossoms and thorns through a writer’s lens.

Blossoming writers from Richmond’s public schools and adult literacy project—190 wordsmiths in all—recently turned their pens to topics such as leaving a beloved home, starting a new life, and keeping a culture alive. Contestants in a competition sponsored by the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission, the students wrote in response to an exhibit at the Richmond Art Center titled Blossoms and Thorns: The Legacy of Richmond’s Japanese American Nurseries. A series of 81 poignant photographs (available in book form at blurb.com), the exhibit depicted the weathered, bittersweet beauty of nursery sites that were abandoned in the 1940s when their Japanese-American owners were interned in war relocation camps. Below, a handful of student haikus that capture the many moods of the photos (some included here) from an urban perspective.
—The editors

“Faithful Spring” by Ellen Gailing.

Fragile Remnants
Roses still unveil
Work of gardeners who left
Shattered hearts and glass.
—Roger Li, Salesian High School

When You Were Born
What do you think about
when the wind blows across
your face in the night air.
—Janette Brown, LEAP (Literacy for Every Adult Project)

“Climbing Rose” by Matt Matsuoka.

Roses once grew in
The land of the rising sun
Petals fall like tears
—Denica Garcia, Salesian High School

Shooting, killing, down
Sad, crying, funerals, death
ashes, home, empty
—Maya Simpson, Washington Elementary School

Sun Shine Every Morning
Sun shine every morning
like my passion shines every day
to reach my every dream
—Sherly Oglivie, LEAP

Maybe It Was Dead
Maybe it was dead
so I poked it with a stick
it twitched and I ran
—Broushon Broussard, LEAP

“Gone to Seed” by Fletcher Oakes.

Origami Rose
Origami Rose,
Can cut by Paper or Thorn,
A fragile Beauty.
—Abigail Deleon, Salesian High School

Gone Away
The rustle of a tree
the whisper of the wind
This is not home
—Che Cevallos, Mira Vista Elementary

Roses of the Bay
Alone, what survives?
Only sadness, pain, and hurt?
No, joy will come soon.
—Rebecca Lambert, Salesian High School

Faces of the East Bay