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Orange in his Hand

I see two men sweat
at the exit
of the freeway.

One is brown and burnt
from the sun rays
the other is white
with an American Flag
stitched across his trucker hat.

They both wear dirty clothes.
They both burn
to hold
a little green.

One sells oranges, walking up
and down the street.
One holds a sign that reads,
“I’m hungry, help me eat.”
I feel for both of them,
but I only admire one.

The one who hands
oranges in bags to tired faces,
who chases cars
for his change,
who counts pennies
as profit
to keep his apartment.

The one whose wife wakes
before sunrise to walk
through Los Angeles streets
yelling “tamales, tamales”
with a 4 year old daughter
at her side.

The mother who crossed over
4 years earlier so her daughter
wouldn’t have to sell tamales
with a baby at her side.

The father tells his son
never to beg,
but to work hard for the bread.
So the son sells Cheetos
at his high school
and gets called beaner
for not owning
named brand clothes.
A son who must bring dollars
before good grades
because rent is two weeks late.
A son who will one day hold
a gun to the head
of a liquor store clerk,
only to remember
his father’s words.

Mijo, work hard for the bread.

Rent is two weeks late
so the family
breaks tax laws to make jobs
and they lifts roses to the sky
hoping someone passing by
is falling in love again,
so the family
takes elotes
to the neighborhood projects
hoping the ninos are hungry.

The news says this family is here
to take my job,
my seat in school,
my country,
but the only thing they’re taking
is the risk
of being handcuffed,
broken and deported
in the name of family
in the name of love
in the name of trying
everything to stay above
the current
and that is why
I can’t help

But to admire the man
with an orange in his hand,
a fireball of hunger in his palm.

eternal-sighs asked:

....I am just so petrified of the future, the unknown, death, the afterlife, the big picture. I'm scared of being a failure and I'm scared of making it big. I don't know why I feel this way and when I ask for advice people give me generic answers like, "You just need to exercise more." I lay awake at night for hours on end, my mind racing, my chest feeling like a black hole. This keeps me from achieving so much. Have you ever felt this way? How do I stop myself from being fearful of life itself?


Write a story wherein everything you fear comes to pass.  Then make it worse.  Then, keep making it worse.  Exhaust all your worst fears on the page.  That works for me.  Then… if you can actually sell it you’ll really conquer your demons.   Eventually, as you write, you’ll even begin to laugh at those terrors.  Trust me.  It works.

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